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JavaOne Day 1 highlights: Java EE roadmap, JBI, Dolphin preview, EJB 3

Frank Cohen provides a rundown of key announcements and sessions from the first day of JavaOne.

SAN FRANCISCO -- During the Day 1 keynote, John Loiacono, executive vice president of the software group at Sun Microsystems, announced that the Java Business Integration specification (JSR 208) is now published and approved by the Java Community Process(JCP).

There is a lot of interest in JBI from the developer audience. Web services and XML are well adopted by this audience and many of them are viewing systems based on XML as an implementation of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). After the session Loiacono told me, "Our implementation of the JSR 207 for JBI is our ESB."

Later in the day there was a session on the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) where Sun talked about the components needed for an integration platform, including BPEL and the Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) specification. BPMN looks somewhat like UML and defines the basic elements for flow objects, connection objects, pools and artifacts. Sun demonstrated BPMN using a visual BPMN editor in Studio Enterprise Edition. They showed a travel itinerary whose XML schema produced a 232-page XML document. That kind of XML complexity is on the way.

The technical morning session described the roadmap for the Java platform by stating a theme: Compatibility, community, creativity and productivity, and performance.

Java Naming Conventions Lose A "2"

Sun is dropping the "2" from the Java platform naming. For instance, J2SE becomes JSE. They explain that "2" sounded good back in 1998 when JVM 1.2 shipped but now it seems out of date given how far the platform has come.

Sun said they would not be doing a Java 5.1 release. Java 5.0 has been shipping since September 2004 and they are happy with its stability and completeness. The Java team is working on 6.0 next. In general, the Java team is working towards an 18-month cycle for new feature releases. That puts Java 6.0 (codenamed Mustang) in summer 2006 and Java 7.0 (codenamed Dolphin) for 2008.

The main themes for Mustang are to maintain compatibility, stability and quality. Mustang will incorporate the Rhino JavaScript engine into Java and JSR 223, the JNI-based framework for calling scripts from within Java apps. Mustang will deliver an implementation of JDBC 4.0, including EoD features (JSR 221.) Mustang will deliver an update to Javadoc (JSR 260) that will make it easier to group together and structure class hierarchies. Mustang will also fully support Microsoft's Longhorn edition. For instance, Mustang will deliver the Avalon look-and-feel and Windows system tray support.

Java 7.0 (Dolphin) Feature Thoughts

Sun discussed its thoughts on features for Java 7.0 (Dolphin) release. For instance, changes to the Java language included direct XML support in the language, cross-package references and method references. These were listed as "maybe." At the JVM level, Sun said they are working on special bytecodes that would facilitate dynamic script language support, specifically in method dispatching. Tim Bray's Dynamic Scripting Language Summit in 2004 may have influenced this decision to be more supportive of dynamic scripting on the JVM. Sun is even looking at including BeanShell as a scripting language (JSR 274).

Additional enhancements to Dolphin include new I/O APIs (JSR 203), virtual file systems so one can implement the various operating system specific features in a generalized way, new packaging/deployment architecture to separate distribution from caching from loading parameters. Imagine JAR files that include versioning and dependency information in the package.

Java EE Roadmap

Bill Shannon, manager of the Java EE projects at Sun, gave a rundown of the next release of JEE (formerly known as J2EE). The enhancements come in three forms: POJO (Plain Old Java Objects) programming using annotations, resource injection from the supporting application server and new APIs and frameworks.

Two years ago a JavaOne Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) had a panel discussion of deployment descriptors. It seemed apparent to me that enhancing deployment descriptors was a difficult and complex problem. Resource injection seems to solve the problem by getting rid of deployment descriptors! Instead, the POJO tells the container what resources it needs. Sun called this an "inversion of control."

JEE 5.0 will feature implementations of a number of initiatives. For instance, JEE 5.0 will deliver JSP Standard Tag Library (JSR 52), the Streaming XML Parser (StAX, JSR 173), Web Services Metadata (JSR 181), a new persistence API (JSR 220), JAXB 2.0 (JSR 222), Common Annotations (JSR 250) and a new version of JavaServer Faces (JSR 252).

EJB 3.0

Sun described enhancements planned for EJB 3.0, including a new persistence API for EJB 3.0, they claim to have resolved the EJB/JDO conflict (although to learn the details I need to attend the TS-7949 session tomorrow), and EJB support annotations. For example, the following delivers a Web service implemented on a stateless session bean:

public class Hello
{ … }

All of the specifications for JEE 5.0 are available for review now. Shannon expects final drafts by Q3 of 2005 and expects "beta" releases in Q4 2005. He expects final release by Q1 2006.

Frank Cohen is director of solutions engineering at RainingData and founder of PushToTest.

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