Sun serving stronger brand of Java

Analysts, vendors and developers alike are welcoming the release of the Java 2 platform, formerly known as JDK 1.2, saying that it sets the stage for the widespread adoption of Java in the enterprise.

“This release is truly aimed at trying to get things together,” said Tracy Corbo, senior analyst with Cahners In-Stat Group in Newton, Mass. “We’re not just talking about building cute little GUI objects, now we’re talking about building real applications.”

Klaus Krull, senior product manager with Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Inprise Corp., makers of the JBuilder Java development tool, said Java 2 delivers improvements on two levels.

“The immediate impact that users would see is more the GUI things, such as the JFC/Swing components. But…there’s (also) been a lot of work done under the hood to improve stability and performance,” he said.

Sun Microsystems Inc. made the long-awaited announcement at the Java Business Expo in New York last month. As expected, Java 2 is fully interoperable with CORBA, which allows developers to integrate Java with objects on the network created in other languages. It also features a just-in-time compiler for Windows and Solaris, and a virtual machine architecture that will support competing Java virtual machines, as well as Sun’s own Java HotSpot VM accelerator, scheduled for release later this year .

“And they’ve added a lot of APIs,” said Jaison Dolvane, president of Espial Group Inc., an Ottawa-based Java development firm that specializes in embedded Java devices. “JFC is now part of it, and as a whole they’ve done a lot of API changes to the old ones, to get it solid and really tight.”

Java 2 also boasts a new, flexible security model, which will let developers secure access to specific files or directories, and support for the Swing set of GUI interfaces.

Speaking at a press conference, Alan Baratz, Sun’s president of Java software, called the release a “significant” upgrade, adding that Java 2 is completely backward compatible, and “was designed from the ground up with a focus on stability and reliability,” he said.

Inprise has already announced that JBuilder 2 will immediately support Java 2, as will Visual Caf