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Sun lends qualified support to Eclipse

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Sun Microsystems is endorsing a Java project from the Eclipse Foundation, but don't think the battle for figurehead status in the Java community is over.

The EclipseLink project has been selected by Sun as the reference implementation for the Java Persistence 2.0 API, which is working its way through the Java Community Process - the rival Java forum to Eclipse. EclipseLink will be used with Glassfish, the Sun-led Java Enterprise Edition application server implementation.

Both EclipseLink and Java Persistence 2.0 tackle management of persistence and object/relational mapping in Java. EclipseLink is designed to simplify the process of interacting with relational databases, enterprise information systems and XML and was touted as supporting "leading persistence standards" including the JCP's Java Persistence API.

So, a mutual coming together of duplicate efforts and an end to hostilities? Hardly.

This isn't any ordinary Eclipse project. EclipseLink is an Oracle-led effort based on tried-and-tested object/relational mapping technology from Oracle's TopLink software that the database giant, and Sun partner, donated to Eclipse last May.

Sun would have been stupid to ignore a well-baked technology for the aspiring Glassfish, even if Oracle is pushing the agenda to ensure TopLink becomes the industry's persistence and object/relational mapping software of choice, to facilitate uptake of its JDeveloper integrated development environment.

EclipseLink is a broad work covering the Java API for XML binding, the Java Connector Architecture and Service Data Objects and is intended to work with OSGi specifications for deployment on handsets, desktops and servers.

Sun's big guns were also quiet on the news, which was put out by Eclipse on the opening day of this year's EclipseCon show in Santa Clara, California. In a statement, Sun vice president for infrastructure software Tegan Padir called the move a "direct response to the requests for advanced features we have received from our user community."

And no, there isn't any suggestion Sun is finally joining Eclipse, even though plenty of Eclipse members already participate in the JCP.

Indeed, Sun used the opening of EclipseCon to remind developers about the existence of the open source tools framework and IDE alternative to Eclipse, NetBeans. It was business as usual.

Sun announced beta availability of its NetBeans IDE version 6.1, featuring improved integration with MySQL through the Database Explorer, making it easer to create and launch databases, along with support for ClearCase vision control.

Other NetBeans 6.1 features include fast start up and code completion, support for Spring, and the latest version of Rails and the new Ruby platform manager.®

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