The J2EE 1.4 Kickoff, Part One

By Janice J. Heiss, May 18, 2004  
Sun Microsystems, Inc., joined with industry-leading Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) vendors, including BEA Software, Borland, IBM, the JBoss Group, Oracle, Pramati, SAP and Trifork, for the J2EE 1.4 Kickoff event at San Francisco's stylish W Hotel on April 26, 2004.

The event showcased broad industry support and adoption for the J2EE 1.4 platform, and the thriving ecosystem that supports server-side Java technology, from platform vendors, to tools providers, to connectors. More than 100 attendees, including numerous industry luminaries, gathered to take note of recent innovations in the J2EE 1.4 specification.

Wide Industry Acceptance
Mark Bauhaus, VP, Java Web Services, Sun Microsystems
J2EE enjoys widespread industry acceptance. BZ Research reports that 55% of enterprises have deployed production systems on J2EE, with another 10% in development and 10% more in pilot. According to Forrester Research, 92% of companies that have chosen J2EE are pleased with their choice.

The J2EE 1.4 specification is the industry-standard platform architecture for developing, deploying, integrating, and managing web services-enabled multi-tier enterprise applications. The J2EE 1.4 platform expands web services interoperability as it introduces new deployment, management, and web services APIs. It also updates specifications for component technologies, JavaServer Pages, Enterprise JavaBeans, and Connectors.
"J2EE is the leading enterprise platform in the world today, with the proven security, reliability and standards-based innovation to deliver web services and service-oriented architecture," observed Mark Bauhaus, vice president of Java Web Services for Sun Microsystems.

Since being finalized in November 2003, the J2EE 1.4 specification has spawned five compatible products in only six months, with 15 more confirmed development schedules. With 35 OEMs and over a million downloads of the J2EE specification and Software Development Kit (SDK), the community is unified and focused on compatibility and standards, with broad adoption that extends to open source solutions providers, including Apache Software Foundation, JBoss, Inc., and the ObjectWeb Consortium.
Companies Announce Timelines for J2EE 1.4 Compatibility Certification
Compatible vendors ( link) include Sun, Oracle, IBM, TMaxsoft and Trifork of Denmark, who announced that their J2EE 1.4 compatible Java application server is expected to ship in July of 2004. In addition, ObjectWeb will release a J2EE 1.4-compatible application server by the end of 2004, while Pramati Technologies of India announced that its J2EE-compatible application server will be certified for J2EE 1.4 in Q3 2004.

Connector vendors, including Attachmate Corporation, iWay Software, Librados, and Seagull Software announced support for J2EE 1.4 and demonstrated complementary technologies that integrate mission-critical enterprise information systems into new J2EE-based solutions.
Optimize Resources with the J2EE 1.4 AVK
"One way in which developers seek to optimize resources is effective utilization of their existing infrastructure investment," said Joe Keller, vice president, marketing for Java Web Services and Tools, at Sun. "The J2EE 1.4 AVK enables developers to do just that, providing for easier application migration from one application server to another, increasing code reusability, eliminating the need to install and test across multiple application servers, and making multiple vendor environments not just feasible, but efficient."
The J2EE specification describes the standard elements of a J2EE-compatible application server, providing the basis for portability. However, application servers frequently include proprietary extensions that add value for customers with special requirements, but are not available across the range of J2EE-compatible products. As such, the use of a single application server can lead to a dependence on proprietary APIs and/or non-standard J2EE APIs, resulting in reduced application portability. The J2EE 1.4 AVK provides a complete testing solution for this problem, offering the following functionality:
Ted Farrell, Chief Architect and Senior Director of Strategy for Application Development Tools, Oracle, and Joe Keller, VP, Java Software Marketing, Sun Microsystems
  • Web services testing such as static checking for web services endpoints and dynamic checking for both Enterprise JavaBeans (EJBs) and Servlet-based web services.
  • Source code scanning for incompatible proprietary APIs that would cause interoperability challenges.
  • Incorporation of ANT (an open source program from the Apache Software Foundation for efficiently assembling all the pieces of a program) tasks in the development cycle.
  • Mapping assertions tested to the specification, enabling easy lookup.
  • Component libraries.

Faster Solution Delivery
The event focused on web services from the J2EE 1.4 specification that provide faster solution delivery, simplified integration, and the elimination of vendor lock-in.

J2EE 1.4 enables faster solution delivery time in four ways:
  • Reusable Components. Reusable components like Enterprise JavaBeans, Java Server Pages and Servlets enable simpler, faster, and more efficient development. Fewer new lines of code means fewer bugs and tighter, more reliable security.
  • Reduced Complexity. J2EE 1.4 delivers less complexity through evolving specs such as JSP 2.0, new and improved blueprints, and better tools for developing portable, reliable and scalable applications.
  • Enterprise JavaBeans. EJBs simplify development by enabling developers to create business logic rather than reconstruct "plumbing."
  • J2EE BluePrints. Designed for developers, J2EE BluePrints are best practice guides, which simplify the development of scalable, available, J2EE-compatible solutions.
Simplified Integration
Simplified Integration is gained by:
  • Web Services: XML enables platform-independent, and more standards-based data interchange to complement platform-independent Java applications.
  • Simplified Connectivity: J2EE Connectors will enable easy connections to legacy systems (such as SAP). RMI/IIOP simplifies interoperability with existing CORBA servers and services.
  • Simplified Database Connectivity: Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) enables simplified connectivity to legacy databases and data systems.
  • Larger Pie: More J2EE-compatible products, combined with transferable developer skill sets, will lower enterprise development costs while raising the J2EE developer's value-add.
Eliminate Vendor Lock-In
Vendor lock-in is eliminated by:
  • A Competitive, Compatible Market for J2EE solutions. This ensures vendors and customers freedom of choice for products and components.
  • Write Once, Run Anywhere: "Write Once, Run Anywhere" on the server is assured by the J2EE Compatibility Test Suite. All J2EE branded solutions must pass all 20,000+ tests in the CTS.
  • Industry Support for J2EE. More than 90% of all Application Servers use J2EE architecture. Compatibility enables customers to assemble standards-based Best of Breed solutions and integrated stacks, from multiple vendors' products.
The Convergence of XML and Java Technology into Web Services
The J2EE 1.4 platform is the first open standard platform to drive the convergence of XML and Java technology into web services, while offering complete support for WS-I Basic Profile conventions for interoperability, all the while implementing both the Java API for XML-based RPC (JAX-RPC) and the Enterprise web services specification (JSR-109) in the Java Community Process (JCP). This evolutionary step from the J2EE 1.3 specification supports existing J2EE-based applications without modification, and allows current J2EE 1.3 deployments to gain the full benefit of web services standards support. J2EE 1.4 also drives faster solution delivery time through reusable components, Enterprise JavaBeans, and J2EE BluePrints that provide best practice guides to simplify the development of scalable, available, J2EE compatible solutions.
Spirited Panel Discussions
The kickoff event presented two panels, an application server panel and an application development panel, comprised of lively and, at times, controversial discussions, revealing what industry leaders are thinking, not only about the J2EE 1.4 specification, but the future of software and information technology.

Stay tuned as we report on the details of the panels in our next story on this event.
See Also
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