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Sun has agenda with Java server

Sun ships a Java-based Web server in an attempt to make Java development more palatable to corporate users.

Sun Microsystems (SUNW) has shipped a Java-based Web server in an attempt to make Java development more palatable to corporate users.

Java Web Server 1.0, in beta testing since March, is now available as a 120-day evaluation version from Sun's Web site.

The Web server is intended to be a showcase for server-based Java technology, which has been slow to catch on in corporate IS departments, mostly because of a lack of support in current products. But that's expected to change later this year as database makers and other software vendors add Java to their list of languages for customizing server function.

Sun is pitching the server as a more easily customizable alternative to Web servers from Netscape Communications and Microsoft.

The company has developed special server-based components, called Java Servlets, that can be plugged into the server to add new features. The Java Web Server ships with a load-balancing servlet, and Sun has posted a Java Servlet development kit to its Web site to allow developers to create their own server components.

Sun claims servlets have significant advantages over CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts for linking applications to servers, since servlets are object-oriented and easier to maintain. The Java Web Server will also work with old CGI scripts through a CGI compatibility module, included with the server.

Java Web Server is priced at $295 for a version that includes support for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) security technology. A non-SSL version costs $95.