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Java devotee BEA eyes scripting languages

Scripting initiative would capitalize on languages widely used in Web applications and considered easier to use than Java.

BEA Systems--a company long committed to the Java programming language--plans to support alternative scripting languages in upcoming products.

As part of its long-term plans, BEA is considering ways to let developers familiar with scripting languages build applications that run on BEA's server software, said Bill Roth, vice president of product marketing.

The scripting initiative, which is still in its early phases, is meant to capitalize on the popularity of scripting languages, which are widely used in Web applications and are generally considered easier to use than Java.

"The goal is to meet the developers where they are living, and clearly there has been an explosion of new ways of building applications," said Roth. "Java and J2EE (programming models) are still important but innovations in programming can't be denied."

Roth said that BEA has already incorporated support for the Jython language in its WebLogic application server in a limited way. The Cold Fusion Markup Language is also under review, he said.

BEA's WebLogic and AquaLogic product lines are built around Java and Web services standards as is its Workshop development tool.

The company, however, has said it intends to support different programming models, or frameworks, other than Java Platform Enterprise Edition, which is used for building server programs. In June, it said it will support two open-source Java development frameworks, called Spring and Struts, in their application server and development tool.

BEA is not the only business software maker warming up to scripting languages.

Microsoft has hired the author of the Jython language and is building a version, called IronPython, for writing .Net applications.

IBM in June released ZendCore for IBM, a tool that allows PHP developers to more easily build database and Web services applications. Oracle has a similar partnership with Zend.

Meanwhile, the so-called LAMP stack is gaining interest as an alternative to Java and .Net. For example, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, which is a customer of , is using the company's tool and application server to replace some WebLogic applications.

LAMP is a popular combination of open-source development components including Linux, Apache, MySQL and scripting languages PHP, Python and Perl.