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Sun updates J2EE for Web services

The computing giant releases an early version of source code for version 1.4 of the Java flavor, with support for a new WS-I Web services standard.

Sun Microsystems has released a preliminary version of an update to its Java 2 Enterprise Edition software, with support for a major new Web services standard.

Sun announced late Thursday that a qualification release of the source code for version 1.4 of Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) is available to licensees. The release is intended to give developers an early look at additions to the J2EE code, so they can start building applications around the new features.

J2EE has become one of the most significant variations on Sun's Java programming language, serving as the basis for a myriad of Web applications.

The most significant addition to version 1.4 is support for Basic Profile, the comprehensive Web services standard released last month by the Web services Interoperability organization (WS-I). The WS-I is a consortium whose 150 members include representatives from major software makers and corporate customers.

The WS-I profile is designed to allow disparate computing systems to exchange data, thus encouraging adoption of Web services. It includes specifications for some of the current building blocks of Web services, such as Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1, Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1, Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI) 2.0 and Extensible Markup Language (XML) formats.

Ralph Galantine, Sun's group marketing manager for Java Web services technology, said the Santa Clara, Calif., company moved quickly on WS-I support. It did this based on feedback from J2EE licensees participating in the Java Community Process, which it uses to guide development of the various Java flavors, Galantine said. Those software partners determined the free exchange of data promised by WS-I would be an important extension of Java's promised feature set, designed to let developers write applications that can run on multiple systems.

"We think it's important we support the WS-I Basic Profile, so developers don't have to choose between J2EE compatibility and WS-I interoperability," he said.