Java's B-Day: Look Who's 'Opening' Gifts

At JavaOne in San Francisco this week, Sun will announce plans to release a major upgrade of Java Enterprise System—the commercial implementation of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 and Project Glassfish—this fall, said Joe Keller, vice president of Java Web services and tools at Sun, Santa Clara, Calif.

Sun also will make available two core aspects of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 as open source. While Sun won't open-source all of the Java Enterprise System stack at this time, it will announce on Monday availability of the developer's edition of Project Glassfish, also known as the platform edition or SDK of the application server, version 9.0, under its Community Development and Distribution License, Keller added. CDDL is Sun's OSI-approved open-source license. The company also plans to include the version 9.0 application server with an upcoming release of Solaris 10.

Sun will open-source the Enterprise Service Bus, available under CDDL, as part of its celebration of Java's 10th birthday and the coming-out party for Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5.

Java Enterprise Edition, formerly known as J2EE, is expected to be finalized next month. The Java Business Integration specification for the Enterprise Service Bus was completed last week. Sun decided to rename the first specification Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 to reflect its maturity in the marketplace.

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Alex Burdenko, a senior architect at Back Bay Technologies, Needham, Mass., said he wasn't surprised Sun opted to not open-source all of Java Enterprise System, at least at this juncture, since it released OpenSolaris under the CDDL June 14 and must retain some of its intellectual property to sell.

"They have the base OS for free and the big value-add is the [Java Enterprise System] stack; those APIs have the most value," Burdenko said.

The Enterprise Service Bus, which will ease Web services development and the creation of services-oriented architectures, and Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 are key additions to Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5.

Sun expects the completion of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5 with Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 and the Enterprise Service Bus, combined with its open-source efforts, will make application and Web services development on the Java platform far easier and more intuitive for developers.

Sun's move to open-source its SDK and Web services bus follows JBoss' major launch of its open-source JBoss Application Server 4.0 on June 20 and IBM's recent acquisition of open-source app server GlueCode. But Keller said Sun's primary targets are commercial products built by BEA Systems and Microsoft. "We are now challenging BEA for the crown," said Keller.

The open-source and commercial implementations of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5—including Java Enterprise System and the next versions of Java Studio and Java Standard Edition 6.0 in 2006—also will make Java a more capable rival to Microsoft's Visual Studio platform, he said.

For example, Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5's Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 includes attributes and other prebuild code that dramatically simplifies Java development, partners and analysts said. While Visual Studio is often touted for its ease-of-development capabilities, Java has had the reputation of being more complex.

JBoss' JBoss Application Server 4.0 supports Enterprise Java Beans 3.0. Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management at JBoss, Atlanta, said two key aspects of the new Java specification, Enterprise Java Beans 3.0 and Java Server Faces, will give developers many new tags and code out of the box for creating "all widgets" in a Web application. The release of Java Business Integration implementations by vendors next year, he said, will reduce the costs and complexity of business integration on the Java platform.

"You see companies like Tibco and WebMethods that have really high-end expensive intergalactic integration platforms that solve super-complex problems," Connolly said. "[Java Business Integration] is going to simplify and bring integration on Java to the mass market."

Also at JavaOne, Sun will introduce two Ultra workstation lines. The Sun Ultra 20 workstation comes with an Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processor and up to a half-Tbyte of internal RAID storage and supports Nvidia Quadro PCI-Express workstation graphics boards and Nvidia enforce PCI-Express media and communications processors. It is expected to be available next month with an entry-level price of $895. The Sun Ultra 3 mobile workstation comes with an UltraSPARC processor and is preloaded with the Solaris 10 OS. It is expected to ship next month with a starting price of about $3,400.

JOSEPH F. KOVAR contributed to this story.