Sun releases developer tools for Web services

Sun Microsystems Inc. late Wednesday offered members of its early developer program its newest version of programming tools for building Web services on the Sun ONE (Open Network Environment) software platform, a counterpart to Microsoft Corp.’s .Net initiative

Version 7 of Sun’s Forte Developer toolkit became available as part of Sun’s early access program. The free download, available on the company’s developer Web site for members of the program, adds new functions for building and deploying XML-based Web services. The suite of tools runs on the Solaris operating system.

Broadly speaking, the tools will make it easier for developers to incorporate existing applications written in Java, C, C++ and Fortran into the Sun ONE architecture and make them available as Web services. Web services are commonly defined as applications that can be accessed over the Internet as service and are no longer locked within the boundaries of a proprietary system. These applications can share information via standard protocols and languages.

The early release of the tools came just hours after Microsoft made available an early developer version of its tools for building XML-based Web services, called Visual Studio .Net. Microsoft’s developer environment is the latest incarnation of the company’s suite of tools, but designed based on the company’s .Net initiative for delivering software and applications as services over the Internet. One new feature in Visual Studio .Net is a tool for creating Web services using more than 20 programming languages including Fortran and COBOL.

Similar to Visual Studio .Net, Forte Developer 7 has increased support for multiple programming languages. The company designed the developer tools based on NetBeans, a Java-based open-source development environment used in Sun’s other toolkit, Forte for Java. NetBeans supports various programming languages.

The tools also allow developers to debug applications in multiple languages, the company said.

The early access release of Forte Developer 7 is available immediately to Sun partner developers at

Sun Microsystems of Canada is at