IBM Moves Fast on J2EE 1.4 Spec with WebSphere 6 Preview
January 12, 2004 Alex Woodie
IBM recently issued a preview of its next WebSphere middleware release, which will support the latest Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Version 1.4 specs. The preview, called WebSphere Application Server Technology for Developers Version 6, was made available for download from IBM’s developerWorks Web site on December 19, and it’s the only J2EE Version 1.4-compliant Java application server besides the developer release Sun Microsystems made available in December.
WebSphere Application Server Technology for Developers Version 6 is a free download for Windows servers, which IBM made available on its Web site so developers can familiarize themselves with the product before it’s released as a production product for other operating system platforms later this year.
There are many enhancements with WebSphere 6.0, but the most important is support for the J2EE 1.4 standard, which brings numerous improvements related to Web services. These improvements include the JAX-RPC 1.1 API, which provides service endpoints with Java servlets and Enterprise JavaBeans on Web services standards, and JSR 109, a related technology that defines deployment requirements for Web services using the JAX model. J2EE 1.4 also provides support for the Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) Basic Profile 1.0.
WebSphere 6.0 will also support Java Connector Architecture (JCA) Version 1.5, the latest release of the Java data integration software, which many software vendors are moving to adopt. With JCA 1.5, compliant “resource adapters,” such as those built for SAP‘s ERP software, can communicate bidirectionally with other J2EE-compliant applications.
If production schedules hold, IBM is expected to ship WebSphere Application Server Version 6 during the second half of 2004. Typically, IBM will make Windows, Unix, and Linux versions of WebSphere middleware available months before shipping OS/400 and mainframe versions, although IBM could release the different versions in lock step, if it so chooses or if it can. IBM declined to comment on the availability of an OS/400 version of WebSphere 6.0. The current WebSphere 6.0 preview is only available for Windows.
WebSphere Application Server Technology for Developers Version 6 will allow developers to write new applications, but the new development tools are not yet supported products. Last month, Sun Microsystems, the company that created Java and still holds tight reins over the Java standard, shipped the first J2EE 1.4-compliant Web application server, the developer release of Sun’s Java System Application Server 8 Platform Edition. The J2EE 1.4 spec only became available in mid-November, and IBM has beaten many vendors to the punch with its developer release of WebSphere 6.
While IBM has been very active in participating in the Java Community Process, it has frequently butted heads with Sun. The most recent example is last week’s launch of the new Java Tools Community, which was formed by leading Java development tool vendors, like Sun and BEA, to make their tools more compatible. IBM declined to join the group.
You can read more about WebSphere Version 6, as well as download an early release, on IBM’s Web site.