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Java update warms to scripting languages

Sun releases Java Standard Edition 6, a Java desktop update meant to work better with scripting languages.

Sun Microsystems released on Monday a Java development kit that seeks to meld Java and scripting languages.

The company released Java Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6), the needed to create Java programs that run on desktop PCs. Sun executives were scheduled to announce the release at an event in London.

Java SE 6 includes enhancements that let programmers write applications in Java as well as scripting languages, said Sun executives. The Java update complies with Java Specification Request 223, which lets scripting languages, including JavaScript and Python, run on the Java Virtual Machine.

"If you have a team of developers with a mix of skills, it's nice to have the flexibility to bring different languages together elegantly," said Jean Elliott, senior director of Java platform product marketing at Sun. "You could have hacked it in the past, but now it's easier."

Scripting, or dynamic, languages are becoming an increasingly popular way to write Web applications, particularly the front-end user interface. The language PHP, for example, is used in millions of public sites, such as Web portals Lycos and Yahoo.

With the latest version of the Java software, a company could have a group of developers write server Java programs, which do tasks such as complex calculations and database look-ups, while scripting developers create the user interface.

In addition, the update will include software from a project called Project Tango, which is meant to improve the interoperability between Microsoft .Net Web services and Java programs, Sun executives said. For example, Tango makes it easier to bridge the Microsoft security model with that of Java, Elliot said.

Sun on Monday also said its open-source development tool NetBeans 5.5 supports Java SE 6 and the related development toolkit.