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Smaller outfits look to Java

Java developers gain tools for building rich-client applications and open-source content management.

Smaller companies looking to crack into the Java marketplace detailed their plans at the JavaOne conference this week.

Nexaweb released version 4 of its namesake software for building so-called rich Internet applications, or Web applications with sophisticated graphics. The enhancements to the company's Java-based tool are aimed at making rich client applications more reliable for medium to large corporations, according to the company.

Nexaweb 4.0 adds a plug-in system for third-party add-ons as well as messaging software, which runs on PC clients and servers, to ensure delivery of data using Web services protocols.

"Computation happens on the client side, but all the security and administration are centrally managed from the server side," said Coach Wei, chief technology officer of Nexaweb, which competes with other rich-client software companies, such as Laszlo Systems and Macromedia.

The Eclipse open-source foundation released an update to its own rich-client software on Monday, called version 3.1 of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. Over the next month, Eclipse intends to release version 3.1 updates to its tools for building Java server programs and Web applications.

Established Java software providers Sun Microsystems, Oracle and BEA announced open-source initiatives this week to appeal to developers. Smaller developer-focused companies are also using open-source tools and development processes.

London-based Alfresco released an early version of its open-source content management server on Monday.

The company has built the content repository using open-source Java components, notably the JBoss application server and Spring development framework. Building on top of freely available software will let Alfresco offer a standards-based Web content management system at a lower cost than existing products, according to the company.

Similarly, Exadel announced availability of Exadel Studio 3.0, a development tool designed specifically for writing Java programs using common open-source development frameworks, including Spring and Hibernate.