Applications & OS News

Developers Anticipate Simplification Of Java

Stacy Cowley
platform Java

"It's taken Java to where it should have been all along," said Pierre Fricke, director of product management for JBoss, an Atlanta-based division of Red Hat. Calvin Austin, an engineer at open-source software developer SpikeSource, concurred. "I think Java EE 5 is one of the best things that Sun has ever done with the Java technology. It was overdue," he said.

Austin spent a decade at Sun helping shepherd Java's direction before joining SpikeSource, Redwood City, Calif., and hopping over to the user side of the Java fence. He's looking forward to Java EE 5 gaining traction, a change that he anticipates will trim the time and resources SpikeSource needs to devote to customizing its software to run on clients' application-server infrastructures. Austin estimates that it takes several dozen patches, on average, to tailor a Java application for use on a particular vendor's application server. Java EE 5 clears the field and vastly improves portability, he said.

IS Squared President Steve Knox expects Java EE 5—particularly the Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 3.0 spec—to lower the cost of the Java projects that his Lynnwood, Wash., software development firm works on. "The code is much simpler," Knox said. "That means we'll have shorter code development times with faster debugging, better quality and lower costs."

Knox and other Java developers said they expect a lag of at least six months to a year before work takes off with Java EE 5, which shipped last month at Sun's JavaOne show. The Sun-led GlassFish project concurrently released an open-source Java EE 5 application server implementing the Java EE 5 specification, but analysts say GlassFish is too new to attract significant enterprise interest. Java EE 5 critical mass awaits updated application-server releases from the market's top-tier vendors, including BEA Systems, IBM, JBoss and Oracle.

ISVs say that's when they'll really begin paying attention to the Java EE overhaul.

"I'm not currently seeing much uptake on [Java EE] 5, but I expect to see increased use as the next generation of application servers makes extensive use of the version 5 APIs," said Laurence Moroney, director of product evangelism for Mainsoft, San Jose, Calif.

Larry Liang, chief architect for business intelligence software maker InetSoft Technology, Piscataway, N.J., said, "Normally it takes at least a year or two for widespread use. We really haven't gotten our hands dirty doing actual work with Java EE 5 yet, but obviously we've taken a look."

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