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Extending Java developers' reach

Sun Microsystems releases a set of development tools intended to make Java application building easier.

Sun Microsystems has released a set of development tools intended to make Java application building easier.

Sun said three technologies for building Java applications are now shipping. The Java Cryptography Extension 1.2 lets developers add encryption to applications; Java Blend 1.0 simplifies the process of linking Java applications to corporate databases; and the MacOS Look & Feel For Java Foundation Classes gives Java applications a Macintosh interface.

The Cryptography Extension works with the company's forthcoming Java Development Kit 1.2, and allows developers to include encryption, key generation, key agreement, and message authentication code within Java applications. Sun said the Cryptography Extension is designed to allow other encryption libraries to be plugged in.

A beta version of the software can be downloaded from Sun's Web site.

Java Blend maps Java client applications to relational database servers. The tool allows developers to write Java applications that access corporate data, entirely in Java. That's something developers have not been able to do in the past.

Programmers building Java applications that cull data from a database server need to write database access code in SQL (Structured Query Language), or in some other nonobject oriented language that databases understand.

Using Java Blend, developers can code completely in Java. The tool handles the conversion from Java to database-specific code, using an existing application programming interface called JDBC (Java database connectivity), according to Sun.

Java Blend costs $2,995 per user.

Also, Sun has posted an early access version of the MacOS Look & Feel For Java Foundation Classes, a set of extensions for giving Java applications the native look and feel of the Macintosh operating system.

The code can be downloaded from Sun's Web site

The company last week shipped a fourth beta test version of its Java Development Kit 1.2, and said the kit is on track for a late summer shipment.

The JDK beta version was originally expected to ship in June. Sun delayed the shipment for some last minute fine-tuning, according to a company spokesman.

Sun describes JDK 1.2 as a major update of the software. It includes a long list of improvements intended to speed up performance of Java applications and increase security.

The complete JDK 1.2 feature list is posted to Sun's Web site.