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Sun gives a hill of JavaBeans for e-commerce

The company is designing a blueprint for software developers who want to use Enterprise JavaBeans to build applications for e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, and other needs.

Sun Microsystems is designing a blueprint for software developers who want to use Enterprise JavaBeans to build applications for e-commerce, enterprise resource planning, and other needs.

Sun plans to bundle several products together--including its EJB component model--in a package called Java 2 Enterprise Edition, to give Java developers a unified and easier way to build software, the company claims.

"We are defining the physics for the Java enterprise computing space," said Bill Roth, Sun's product manager for Java 2 Enterprise Edition. "We're binding a platform together with a list of technologies and policies. We're doing our best advance, a uniform way of doing things."

In the past, different Java application server makers have supported EJBs in different ways. The goal is to ensure software developed on a Gemstone application server can run just as well on Sun's NetDymanics application server, Roth said. An application server is the middle connection between a browser and a database and runs the business logic of a software program.

"Right now, everyone's products are built on slightly different platforms: the NetDymanics, WebSphere's, the Persistence's. We want to unify the industry. We want to give people the freedom to choose application servers," he said.

Sun will announce Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition, by the end of June, possibly in time for its JavaOne developer conference in San Francisco, he said.

The core product in the Enterprise Edition is EJBs. Roth said it will likely include a new version of EJBs--version 1.1--that will offer XML support and possibly other new features. Sun is working with other Java vendors, including IBM, on the specification.

Also included in Enterprise Edition will be JavaServer Pages, which allow developers to add dynamic content to Web pages, such as graphics; and Java Servlets, small Java programs that run on the server-side, like the Java applets that run on browsers.

"EJBs allow you to perform the debiting and crediting of the account and Servlets will show you the resulting balance," Roth explained.

Sun is continuing work to integrate EJBs with another popular component model called CORBA, which will allow EJBs to communicate with any other objects written in other languages, such as SmallTalk, he said.

The enterprise edition runs on top of the Java 2 Standard Edition, which includes a Java Virtual Machine, Roth said. Sun might have a reference implementation--a technology preview--available when the company announces the Enterprise Edition, he said. The final version will be ready by the end of the year, depending on public feedback and whether improvements need to be made, he added.