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JavaSoft bolsters Java database access

Sun Microsystems' new JavaSoft division yesterday tried to eliminate one of its much-touted but still young language's weaknesses by unveiling a new database-access standard for Java applications.

Sun Microsystems' new JavaSoft division yesterday tried to eliminate one of its much-touted but still young language's weaknesses by unveiling a new database-access standard for Java applications.

The division announced JDBC, an application-programming interface designed to simplify the process of connecting Java applets with back-end databases.

JavaSoft is promulgating the interface as an open standard to database vendors and has already gotten endorsements from several, including Gupta, Informix, IBM, Object Design, Oracle, and Sybase. Several tools vendors have also signed on to develop JDBC-compliant development tools, including Borland, Intersolv, Open Horizon, OpenLink, Persistence Software, RogueWave Software, SAS Institute, Visigenic Software, and WebLogic.

While Java has caused a stir as a platform-independent client programming language, Java programmers have had to rely on third-party services to provide easy connectivity with the relational databases that house most existing corporate data. By providing a common standard that all tools and database vendors can write to, JDBC may bolster Java's standing as an alternative to client/server programming languages like C++ that are now popular in corporations.

JavaSoft will post the specification for the API to its Web site on March 8.

The company is also looking ahead to providing compatibility with existing software.

JDBC-compliant applications will also be able to access any database that complies with Microsoft's widely used ODBC database driver interface.

In June, JavaSoft will deliver suites of testing software to make sure that JDBC-based applications are fully Java-compatible and can be deployed on multiple platforms. JDBC will ensure that Java applets can connect to multiple databases by automatically loading the correct driver for a selected database.

The JDBC Driver Manager will also be included in future releases of Java products from Sun.