IBM offers sneak peek at J2EE 1.4 app server

IBM Corp. on Thursday made a technology preview of its upcoming version of its WebSphere Application Server 6.0 due later this year.

The new preview version, available now as a free download at IBM’s developerWorks site, affords developers a chance to work with the J2EE standard using the WebSphere Application Server code base. Company officials said Version 6.0 of the WebSphere Application Server will also serve as the foundation for several other IBM software packages designed for business integration, portal, and collaboration.

“We see the major focus of J2EE 1.4 as providing the most complete programming platform for Web services. It incorporates all of the work we have been doing around Web services in the Java world for things such as JAX RPC 1.1 and JSR 109, which is essentially enterprise-level Web services,” said Bob Sutor, IBM’s director of WebSphere software.

IBM sees the upcoming Version 6 as instrumental in helping corporate users take their first stab at creating service-oriented architectures (SOAs), given its improved support for Web services and the latest J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA) 1.5 adapter, along with a handful of other capabilities expected to be in the finished version, according to Sutor.

“Making this (technology preview) available now looks like a good move given that J2EE 1.4 is an important release, especially from a Web services standard perspective. It is also good for IBM in that WebSphere has been criticized in the past for lagging behind in supporting cutting-edge standards. This shows IBM may be changing that way,” said Steven O’Grady, senior analyst with market researchers RedMonk.

IBM officials claim it’s the first company to release a Web application servers supporting J2EE Version 1.4, not counting Sun Microsystems Inc.

Besides the support for JAX-RPC 1.1 and JSR 109 the technology preview ascribes to the WS-1 Basic Profile 1.0, which aids Web services in communicating across multiple platforms. The product’s support of JCA 1.5 provides both synchronous and asynchronous communications among J2EE and popular packaged applications including those by SAP and Siebel. This helps corporate users implement more reliable transactions without requiring proprietary interfaces, a company spokesperson said.

The product also has JMS “pluggability,” which allows users to interoperate with IBM’s DB2 database, thereby eliminating the need for using proprietary software in order to store and access information about transactions in the event of hardware or software failure.

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