Sun delays developer site amid Web services debut

The company will announce its Web services initiative, but it won't be unveiling a related community initiative previously planned to differentiate its offering.

Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Mary Jo Foley
2 min read
Sun Microsystems will announce its Web services initiative on Monday, as anticipated. But the company won't be unveiling a related community initiative Sun was counting on to help differentiate its offering from Microsoft.Net, according to sources.

Telecommunications companies and other partners who were slated to be part of BrandX.org, Sun's Web services developer organization, said they did not have adequate time to prepare before the intended launch at Monday's San Francisco event. As a result, BrandX.org won't be launched for another few weeks, the sources said.

Sun was expected to bill BrandX.org as a collaborative community for developers interested in building "smart" Web services, sources said.

Both Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have attempted to build momentum around similar Web-services community initiatives but have met with limited success. HP has attempted to do so around its E-speak developers program; Microsoft has touted BizTalk.org.

Sun representatives declined to comment on Monday's announcements.

ONE Web services world
Sun, which has been rapped by analysts for not having a comprehensive Web services strategy, is expected to detail its "Sun Open Net Environment," or Sun ONE, on Monday, sources close to the company said.

Like Sun archrival Microsoft has done with its Microsoft.Net software-as-a-service strategy, Sun is expected to position all of its existing developer, middleware and operating system products as the underlying plumbing necessary to build, run and manage Web services.

Sun's Forte and Java tools, the iPlanet servers developed by the Sun-America Online iPlanet alliance and Sun's Solaris operating system all are part of Sun's infrastructure for delivering computing services over the Web.

Sun has been debating whether to call its Web services "smart services" or "intelligent services," in an attempt to differentiate its offering from Microsoft.Net, sources said.

But equally key to Sun's differentiation strategy is Sun's claim that its products and the services that are dependent on the company are more open than those linked to the Microsoft.Net infrastructure.

In a move some are interpreting as retaliation for Microsoft's recent announcement that it plans to develop a tool to convert Microsoft J++ Java code to Microsoft C#, Sun is expected to unveil a tool developed by Sun's ChiliSoft subsidiary that will do the opposite: convert code developed using Microsoft programming tools to Java.

ChiliSoft representatives did not immediately return a request for comment.

Sun executives are expected to tout Sun's Web services infrastructure as able to connect anything "with an IP address or that is IP-addressable," whether it's from Sun or not, sources said. Sun also is expected to emphasize its role in connecting not only services but different kinds of networks (such as global positioning systems, cell phone networks, and the like) via the Sun ONE architecture.