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Sun posts beta of next-generation Java

In development for the past year, the Java 2 Enterprise Edition is suited for building business software and competes with Microsoft's Windows Distributed Internet Applications.

Sun Microsystems today released a beta version of its next-generation Java standard for building business software.

Sun today posted on its Web site a beta version of Java 2 Enterprise Edition and a guidebook that serves as a blueprint for developers to build e-commerce software using the Java programming language.

In development for the past year, the Java 2 Enterprise Edition competes with Microsoft's programming model called Windows Distributed Internet Applications. The two companies are at odds because Sun wants programmers to use Java so the software they build can be used in all computers. Microsoft primarily wants developers to create software that operates with its Windows operating system.

The beta of Java 2 Enterprise Edition gives developers their first look at the technology, said Rick Saletta, Sun's senior product marketing manager for Java 2 EE. The beta includes the specification and a working model of that specification to show the technology does run as promised.

"This allows developers to look at a prototype model to build their own applications," Saletta said. "They can use this as a guide for their next-generation products and helps them shorten their development cycle."

Java 2 EE bundles a mix of Java technologies that gives developers a uniform way to build business software. The core piece is Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), a programming model that lets developers write applications using reusable pieces of code. EJBs run on application servers, which store applications until they are requested by users.

The new standard also features Java servlets, small Java programs that run on the server; and Java Server Pages, which let developers easily add Java code to their Web pages.

Saletta said Sun will ship the final version of Java 2 EE in December. Application server makers, such as IBM and Oracle, and development tool makers, such as Symantec and Inprise, will later add support for Java 2 EE, he said.

"You've got all these Web developers doing Web page stuff and browser work and a few developers doing heavy-duty e-commerce stuff," he said. "We're simplifying e-commerce and making it accessible, so all enterprises can connect their systems to the Web."