Sun Adds Enterprise Features To Open-Source App Server

GlassFish, released simultaneously with Java Enterprise Edition 5 last May, is a deployable application server and the reference implementation for other vendors to use when updating their own application servers for Java EE 5. In version 2, Sun is adding all of the features from its Java System Application Server Enterprise Edition, including clustering and load balancing.

"We've effectively taken all of the features from Sun's proprietary application server and donated it to the open-source project," said Ken Drachnik, the community development and marketing manager of Sun's open-source group.

Also on Monday, Sun released the Sun Web Developer Pack, which brings together a number of tools for Web 2.0-style development. The pack includes AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and Extensible Markup Language), REST (representational state transfer) and scripting technologies, among others. Its highlights include jMaki, a lightweight framework for creating rich Web applications.

The pack is Sun's first attempt to roll up its Web development tools and package them, said Greg Murray, a Sun AJAX architect.

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"These are tools you've seen in a lot of different [Sun] projects," Murray said. "We've been actively trying to make sure that these work together for the last eight months."

Sun is heading into the home stretch before JavaOne, its annual developer conference in May. This year's event promises to be a packed with news, capping off a year in which Sun open-sourced Java under the GNU General Public License and built momentum for a major Java update, Java EE 5.

Sun hoped that releasing a compatible application server concurrently with Java EE 5 would spur faster adoption. So far, the Santa Clara, Calif., company is pleased with the pace, Drachnik said.

In addition to GlassFish, Java EE 5 application servers are available from SAP, which has certified NetWeaver, and TmaxSoft, a Korean developer. BEA Systems supports Java EE 5 in a preview version of its next WebLogic update and expects to ship a final version in the next few months.

"Typically, it took two to three years for licensees to come out with their Java EE implementations. We've seen that shrink to nine months to two years, at the outside," Drachnik said. "We think open-sourcing the application server has been the right thing to do."