Java getting Linux boost

Java development was expected to get a boost on Linux at the JavaOne conference held this month, with partnerships anticipated for including the Java Runtime Environment with Linux distributions, Sun officials said on May 4.

Although the officials would not reveal who the Linux distributors would be, they said the intention is to distribute runtimes for Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE), with Linux so that developers do not have to obtain them on their own. Developers could then use the enterprise version of Java (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition, or Java EE) on top of the standard edition in building applications.

“SE is the core platform. EE is the layer above for application development,” said Laurie Tolson, vice-president of the Java Platform Group at Sun.

Sun officials conducted a teleconference at Sun offices to unveil Java EE 5, which was approved by the Java Community Process this month. The unveiling of Java EE 5 served as a curtain-raiser for the JavaOne conference, which was held in San Francisco.

“This is a very significant upgrade to the enterprise Java platform,” said Joe Keller, vice-president of marketing for SOA and Integration Platforms at Sun. Java EE features simplified programming, especially for Web services, the Web tier, and transactional components, Keller said.

Key improvements include adherence to the Enterprise JavaBeans 3 specification, for programming of “plain old Java objects,” and also backing for JavaServer Faces (JSF) 1.2, for simplified Web development. JSF support gives Java EE 5 a Web 2.0 bent, enabling development of applications via AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), according to Sun.

The event brought together representatives of companies often at odds with one another — Sun, Oracle, SAP, JBoss, and BEA Systems — in support of Java EE 5. “BEA’s really thrilled about the Java EE spec,” said Patrick Linskey, EJB technical lead at BEA. The company was planning an EJB 3 technology preview at JavaOne.

Announcement of general availability of version 4.0 of the Kodo persistence engine is also expected by BEA during JavaOne.

“BEA is really going to become the place where developers are going to do all their Java EE development,” said Linskey.

An SAP representative stressed the usefulness of Java in deploying SOA. “The very fact that you have on this call people from SAP, Oracle, JBoss and BEA all standing behind this announcement should go to show this is very critical for the role of enterprise SOA,” said Aiaz Kazi, vice-president of Solution Marketing for SAP NetWeaver. SAP has provided Java capabilities through its stack, he said.

“Interoperability and being able to use standards is key to being able to build and run smoothly your business applications across your heterogeneous systems within an enterprise SOA,” Kazi said.

Despite hoopla about Web scripting languages such as AJAX and PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) taking the spotlight from Java recently, Sun maintains that Java still is critical.

“Software just continues to evolve, so the Web tier is always going to be sort of at the front,” said Jeff Jackson, senior vice-president of Java Development and Platform Engineering at Sun. Java, he said, is not getting old; the planned Mustang release of Java features plug-ins for all scripting languages.

JavaScript is an old technology that has been revitalized to solve business problems, Jackson said. “The nice part is, it coexists with Java,” said Jackson.

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