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What's new with the J2EE

Rick Saletta, Sun's group marketing manager for enterprise Java technologies, Glen Martin, Sun's senior product manager for J2EE specifications, and Keith Wescourt, Sun's J2EE Web market manager for Java software talked about what developers can expect to get out of the new set of application program interfaces. They spoke with searchSolaris at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco.

What is the current status of the Java 2 Standard Edition? How many licensees are out there and which versions of the protocol are shipping now?
We've got 33 licensees, we've got 21 compatible products which is a doubling of the J2EE compatible market over the last two months. And we've just passed 1 million downloads of the J2EE which is actually huge news for the enterprise because when this market was sized two years ago they expected it to be about 500,000 by now. Presently, we're on J2EE 1.2.1. That is the standard on which all the 21 compatible products are built. J2EE 1.3 is in beta and the first customer ship will be in the fall. And sometime in 2002, according to the desires of the Java Community Process folks, we'll release J2EE 1.4 Anything to interest Solaris users?
This is something that is really big for Solaris folks: we've included support for connector technology. Connectors are a standard way of connecting existing, major enterprise systems, and the first connectors we hope you'll see are from SAP and PeopleSoft. They'll allow enterprises to plug in these existing systems to J2EE compatible architectures, so that you can deliver the data from these systems across a J2EE compatible system to whatever kind of client you'd like. What we expect to see in the connector market is similar to what you've seen in the database driver market. We'll have hundreds of drivers from a variety of companies, all compatible, but each with different product features that appeal to certain customers. We're looking to have connectors released this fall. That is a really big deal because it allows customers to leverage their existing systems and extend them to the J2EE compatible environment. What's new in the upcoming version 1.3 of the Java 2 Enterprise Edition?
J2EE 1.3 is really our integration release and we've really focused on two key things. First, we'll be integrating a lot of XML technology, including something we've just announced at the show called our JAX Pack. In short, that is the Java API for XML, and also we'll be shipping JAXB, JAXP, JACM and JAXRPC. B is the binding, P is the parcer, M is the messaging and RPC is remote procedure call. And we've just announced all this at the show. So, we've increased XML integration in version 1.3. Can you explain a little more about that process?
The Java community is made up of some four hundred companies that participate in the development of the various Java specifications. So JAXM and JAXRPC are currently within their expert groups. And when they come out we'll be incorporating them into the Web Services Pack. They'll be stand-alone. The Web Services Pack will include TomCat, the JAX APIs, the JSP standard tank library and Java Server Faces. Together they all make up the Web Services Pack. Can you explain a little more about that process?
The Web Services Pack should be really interesting to the Solaris community. For example, TomCat is the JSP Server engine that we worked on in partnership with the Apache foundation. We're taking that, it's being enhanced, and Sun is going to providing support for it. So, for the major enterprises who would like to have enterprise level support from Sun, that will be available. They can take TomCat and they can plug it into their Web server. Keith, would you like to talk a little bit more about TomCat? Can you tell me more about JAX Pack?
JAX Pack is made up of four Java APIs for XML. They include JAXB, for data binding. This binds XML documents to Java objects so that Java developers can manipulate the data in the XML documents. JAXP is the standard parcer, which has recently been enhanced. JAXM, for asynchronous messaging, is one of the APIs that will be used for asynchronous Web services interfaces. And JAXRPC is for synchronous Web services. JAXP and JAXB are already released and JAXP and JAXRPC are still in going through Java Community Process Can you explain a little more about that process?
TomCat is an implementation of Java Server Pages and servlets that was originally donated by Sun to Apache in 1999, and Sun continues to develop it. It is the implementation of those technologies that tracks the evolving specifications of the Java Community Process as quickly as they can come out. So it's very popular among developers because it gives them early access to the newest features as they?re implemented. And then, Sun takes back the TomCat code base and implements it as part of the J2EE specification. TomCat is available to anyone for free from the Apache Software Foundation, under the terms of the Apache license, the same license that the Apache Web server is available under. And TomCat can operate stand alone as a Web server, which is very useful if it's going to be integrated or used with developer tools. It can also be plugged into the Apache Web Server as a module providing, in deployment situations, Java based dynamic content in conjunction with other sorts of content that might be there. Solaris ships with Apache and we're making plans right now to provide pointers for Solaris developers to the Apache site to get TomCat. In the future, TomCat might be part of the Solaris package. But the idea is we do want Solaris developers to have an easy process to for getting TomCat installed on their Solaris systems, either for stand alone use for development use or for deployment situations.

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