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Sun to bang Java drum but J2EE 1.4 slips

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Sun Microsystems Inc will attempt to galvanize developers at its set-piece JavaOne conference next week - and deflate Microsoft Corp's .NET hype - with tools and partnerships that prove Java's increased adoption in web services construction,

Gavin Clarke writes

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Away from the hype, Java programmers risk slipping behind rivals in the Microsoft camp who are already building web services. Native support for Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) planned for Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.4 will not now appear until 2003.

Palo Alto, California-based Sun told Computerwire that J2EE 1.4's completion has slipped from the second half of 2002 to the first quarter of 2003. Sun blamed on-going changes to SOAP by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which had to be incorporated into J2EE 1.4.

Ralph Galantine, J2EE product line manager, said: "The web services specifications are evolving in the W3C and other bodies. We have to adapt to that. It's hard to pin-down an absolute date." The Java Community Process (JCP), began work on J2EE 1.4 last year.

Slippage is dangerous for Sun and the Java community who are battling Microsoft for mind share among developers. Sun and Java vendors trail Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft which offered its developer community native support for SOAP and other XML-based web specifications in Visual Studio.NET, launched in February.

Partners will likely achieve J2EE 1.4 certification in the months after completion - meaning that industry wide, standards-based Java web services will not become a reality until early-to-mid 2003 - putting Java up to a year behind Microsoft and .NET.

Even though J2EE 1.4 is a distant prospect, Sun will use JavaOne keynotes and technical sessions to outline its roadmap. Executives will talk about SOAP support in serverlets and the next release of Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) - part of the umbrella J2EE.

Sun executives will also use JavaOne to reinforce their belief that Java is already being widely adopted to develop web services. The company was criticized in 2001 for failing to articulate a response to .NET - unveiled in June 2000 - and executives will next week announce products, partnerships and research they believe prove Java is unleashing a "tidal wave of innovation".

Simon Phipps, Sun chief technology evangelist, said: "There has been a perception we were slow to embrace web services. The standards adoption has gone through its deliberation process on the JCP, and we will see a tidal wave of innovation unleashed."

Sun will announce tools to develop mobile applications, tools and systems integrators will announce their J2EE 1.3 certification, and partners announce connectors for Java to legacy applications based on J2EE 1.3. Sun refused to name the vendors. The company will also release a beta release of its promised Web Services Developer Pack, containing XML APIs to build web services.

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