JavaBeans is an API that allows software vendors to build reusable Java components that end users can then assemble into cross-platform applications. The specification is posted to the JavaSoft Web site. JavaSoft will release a preliminary development kit in December for building JavaBeans components.
JavaSoft executives said JavaBeans is superior to ActiveX for building component applications because it includes bridges to competing object models, while ActiveX is currently limited to Microsoft's own technology.
"Developers will have to make a strategic decision on what technology to use. Developers need the biggest bang for their buck, and they can't develop on one platform with one API," said Gina Centoni, JavaBeans product line manager at JavaSoft. "People want to take advantage of multiple platforms."
The technology will work with Java, ActiveX, OpenDoc, and Netscape Communications' LiveConnect component architectures, Centoni said. That means that components written to the JavaBeans API will work with Netscape Navigator, Microsoft's desktop applications, and Apple Computer's CyberDog technology.
Microsoft has promised bridges to competing schemes, but political wrangling has so far stymied progress in delivering the technology. JavaSoft plans to hold a developer meeting in Long Beach, California, on November 6 to evangelize the technology and to disseminate technical information.