Sun shines light on Java 2, Enterprise Edition

Sun Microsystems’ launch of its Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) was a surprisingly low-key event, considering the interest it generated in a number of developers at JavaOne in San Francisco.

J2EE is a full featured edition of the Java 2 Platform that extends mission-critical enterprise applications to any Web browser. It includes a package of APIs and services required for building enterprise-scale distributed Java applications. Two other versions of the Java 2 Platform announced include the Standard Edition, which provides functionality for desktop/workstation devices, and the Micro Edition, which is intentionally small to fit reduced-memory consumer devices.

That was enough to intrigue developers, despite a lack of fanfare on display from Sun officials.

According to Simon Arnison, president of Inc. in Scarborough, Ont., the Java 2 Platform announcement is of great importance to them because the company is using RMI for its communications mechanism between its clients and servers.

“And of course Java 2 inherently supports RMI and is being implemented and adopted by the browsers now – Netscape 4.5 and above and Internet Explorer 5,” he said. “The ruling against Microsoft in favour of converting their JVM to support RMI also is very important to us, but the general kind of aspects of the communications support within Java 2 and the added advantage of Swing components has meant that we’ve been able to focus on building a better breed of products and better, more presentable looking products in graphical terms as we would have been up till now.” focuses on the development of Java e-commerce applications for the business-to-business market and develops Internet Java applications for e-commerce. The company has developed a new business objects server technology which will allow secure commerce to be conducted over the Internet in a Virtual Private Trading Network. began supporting the Java 2 Platform from the beginning. “We made a very conscious decision that we were only going to support the Java 2 platform for all of our products,” Arnison said. “Nothing we build will run on anything earlier than RMI supported JDK.”

The KL Group in Toronto also sees significance in J2EE.

“I think it’s really giving [developers] access to a lot of new features and from a component stand point it’s a lot more efficient,” said Lee Garrison, director, business development at KL Group. “We’re building for the Standard Edition right now but we’re looking to the Enterprise Edition.

“We’re not really a player there quite yet but we’re looking at it. Most of our customers have been focused on client side or data balance interfaces and then more recently we’ve started to deal a lot more in the server side arena with our profiling tool JProbe and the memory debugger, which are valuable in both client-side development and server-side development.

InterNetivity Inc. in Ottawa, a developer of Java-based software for business intelligence applications, is currently in the process of migrating its applications from 1.1.8 to 1.2 but is looking forward to the enhancements of Java 2.

“A lot of the classes that were new to the Java 2 Platform have been around since release 1.1.5 or 1.1.6,” he said. “We use them in our applications but we are looking forward to the new benefits of Java 2 being a small memory footprint and increase of speed,” said Antony Lovric, software developer at Internetivity.

According to George Paolini, vice-president of marketing at the JavaSoft division of Sun, the company is “simplifying the model” with J2EE.

“I look back over the last four years at some of the announcements we’ve made…and starting with year one the big announcement was JavaBeans. And that really just kicked things into high gear,” he said. “I would put this (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) in a category with JavaBeans. It’s a very significant announcement.”

According to Sun, the J2EE simplifies the building of portable enterprise applications by wrapping existing legacy systems, eliminating the need for complex programming. It combines a number of key Java technologies including:

Enterprise JavaBeans: a scalable, distributed and cross-platform component model that lets developers write reusable business logic for the J2EE that leverages existing enterprise-class services and is widely deployable in mixed-system IT environments.

JavaServer Pages and Java Servlets: JavaServer Pages allows developers to create dynamic Web pages that are hardware independent and operate cross-platform and cross-server. JavaServer Pages technology may also be used to generate XML or other format data that is consumed by other applications. Java servlets are platform-independent, Web server extensions used to generate customized HTML pages.

Additional functionality included in the J2EE: JDBC 2.0 for database connectivity, JavaMail API and JavaMail service, and Java Message Service are also offered.

In addition to the platform, Sun will deliver the J2EE Application Programming Model. This document will be a best practice guide for application developers who are building networked business applications on the Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition. The Application Programming Model will contain design patterns and practices as well as example applications that illustrate the most efficient way to build applications to the J2EE.

Enterprise Edition will be available through Sun’s Community Source Licensing program at For a comprehensive list of features and more information regarding J2EE technologies, visit