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Sun kicks off JavaOne

The company outlines a series of Java-related announcements at the conference.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) started this week's JavaOne conference off with a bang today.

The company outlined a series of Java-related announcements, including the release of the Enterprise JavaBeans 1.0 specification, a road map for its Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.2, along with new development tools, runtime environments, and specifications for Embedded and Personal Java products.

Sun also announced plans See special coverage: Java chaos to deliver Personal Java for Microsoft's Windows CE handheld PC operating system, and announced a licensing deal with Sweden's Ericsson, a maker of cellular phones. Ericsson will use and distribute Sun's Java technology in third-generation wireless products, the company said.

The Enterprise JavaBeans 1.0 spec defines an architecture for building Java component-based cross-platform server applications. The spec will be supported in software from Oracle, IBM, Sybase, Hewlett-Packard, and other companies.

Sun said the third beta test version of JDK 1.2 is posted to its Web site. As previously reported, JDK 1.2 will include a new more flexible security model, the addition of Java Foundation Classes for making it easier to build graphical user interfaces, the JavaBeans Component Model for standardizing how Java components are built, the addition of Java HotSpot, a performance-boosting technology, and better interoperability with non-Java applications.

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In the meantime, Sun next month will ship JDK 1.1.6 which includes Symantec's just-in-time compiler in the Java Runtime Environment for Microsoft Windows, a move intended to speed up performance of Windows-based Java applications.

In the development tool area, Sun today announced Java JumpStart 1.1, a package of technologies intended to ensure that Java applications run consistently, regardless of the various Web browsers and operating systems that interpret the language. The package, which will ship in May, includes software code-named Java Activator, which functions as a browser plug-in, allowing users to download and use the latest version of the Java Virtual Machine. Activator will also ship as a standalone product next month, Sun said.

Sun also announced an additional tool bundle, called JavaServer Engine, which includes software to allow corporate developers and software vendors to build and deploy Java applications. The bundle includes Java Blend, which lets developers integrate data stored in relational databases with Java applications; Java Modeler, an application modeling tool; and JavaSafe, a source code versioning and control tool. The bundle will be released this summer. No pricing was announced.

As expected, Sun detailed two Java platform initiatives, PersonalJava and EmbeddedJava.

Sun said it has added three new specifications to PersonalJava to support additional consumer devices. The JavaTV API (application programming interface), AutoJava API, and JavaPhone API are blueprints to help Java developers build software for automobiles, televisions, and telephones. The specifications will be available in the third quarter.

Sun said it has posted a draft of the EmbeddedJava spec for public review and comment. The spec is intended to define a framework for building Java applications for embedding in electronic devices, such as pagers, office equipment, telephony gear, and networking hardware.

The embedded systems market has turned into something of a battleground over Java. As previously reported, Hewlett-Packard has decided to create its own version of Embedded Java which will run on small devices such as pagers and printers. HP developers used the written Java blueprint, or specification, but did not use any technology from Sun.

Finally, Sun said it will develop a port of PersonalJava for Windows CE by the third quarter. Sun said nine companies, including Lucent, Geoworks, and Wind River Systems have already licensed PersonalJava for use in embedded systems.