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Sun speaking in tongues for Java 6

Java scripts Web 2.0 response

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Sun Microsystems released an updated version of Java today, featuring integrated support for scripting languages and providing a migration path to enterprise Java.

Java Standard Edition (SE) 6.0 introduces a standard interface to plug-in scripting languages and engines, including JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby, with the languages able to work inside the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Access to the JVM provides cross-platform portability and fast performance.

Sun hopes that embracing these increasingly popular languages will ensure Java gets used in more testing, development, and proof-of-concept scenarios - a preserve of scripting.

The company also believes the bridge into Java will help showcase Java's performance and scalability to the growing generation of Web 2.0 developers, so they migrate to "full" Java once they move beyond web-based "mashups" and into enterprise-class applications.

Other changes are designed to tweak developers' interest by making it easier to program using Java. Simplified Java programming is a vision the computing industry has been trying to realise for at least five years, in an attempt to win over developers used to either a less code centric or a more visual, drag-and-drop approach.

The risk of failure is, of course, developers use other languages. Whereas once the danger was Microsoft, now the threat is from scripting, a threat that's made more real as various new language communities work on frameworks - akin to the Java platform - for a consistent programming model.

This time around, the 160 companies that provided input on Java SE have put a web services stack inside Java to simplify programming of, and connection to, web services. The stack features JAX-WS 2.0 for messaging, JAXB 2.0 for XML binding, and STAX and JAXP for XML parsing.

Management has also been updated. Tools used to diagnose and monitor the performance of the JVM, introduced with the previous "Tiger" edition of Java SE, have been updated to run without the need to re-start the JVM. There's also support for the NetBeans Profiler 5.5 and Solaris DTrace for dynamic tracing on Solaris 10.

Looking ahead, Sun plans Java SE 7.0 for "sometime" in 2008. ®

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