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IBM Releases Preview Of Next Update Of Java Software

IBM Thursday rolled out a technical preview of the next version of WebSphere Application Server, giving developers early access to the J2EE 1.4-compliant software.

The WebSphere Application Server V6 preview software is available for free download on IBM's developerWorks site, said Bob Sutor, director of WebSphere software for IBM. The full product is expected to ship in the second half of 2004, with corresponding WebSphere Java tools available at the same time.

WebSphere V6 will be the basis of IBM's strategy to build out a platform for developing and deploying service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and will form the foundation for other WebSphere software "where it makes sense" in the future, such as for WebSphere Portal software, Sutor said.

Available in the technical preview of WebSphere V6 is full support for J2EE 1.4, the latest version of the standard for building and deploying enterprise-scale Java applications.

Sun Microsystems already released a J2EE 1.4-compliant application server as the reference implementation for the standard when the Java Community Process (JCP) standardized it late last year. Sutor said IBM is the first vendor aside from Sun to support J2EE 1.4 fully in its application server.

J2EE 1.4 is the first version of the standard requiring J2EE-compliant software to include Web services support in the form of Java APIs for XML. Sutor said IBM already had some of those APIs in place in WebSphere V5, the current version available to solution providers and customers. IBM now has extended that support to full J2EE 1.4 compliance, integrating required APIs and standards such as Java Connector Architecture (JCA) 1.5 into WebSphere v6. JCA is a Java-based standard for connecting legacy applications to Java application servers.

Full JCA 1.5 support present in the technical preview allows for bi-directional synchronous and asynchronous communication between legacy applications and the WebSphere application server, Sutor said.

IBM also provides a host of other ways to connect its WebSphere integration software products--which include WebSphere MQ Series and WebSphere Business Integration--to legacy applications. Other supported connection methods are integration adapters that support JCA 1.0 and Java Messaging Service (JMS) in MQ software, Sutor said. Ultimately, though, JCA 1.5 will become the industry standard for connecting Java-based software to legacy systems as it evolves over time, Sutor said. "JCA 1.5 will take over the rest of the different [ways]," he said. "Over time, we will all move to this common model."

Other new features in the technical preview of WebSphere v6 include improvements to Java Servlet and Java Server Pages standards to facilitate the creation of Web applications.

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