JavaSoft delivers Servlet Developer Kit

Here's the scoop on a new consistent API for server-side Java

JavaSoft is taking steps to make development of Java servlets easier for corporate intranet developers and developers of dynamic Web sites. On March 4, JavaSoft made available for immediate download the Java Servlet Developers Kit, or JSDK, and the beta Java Web Server, formerly called Jeeves.

The availability of the JSDK and the Java Web Server is welcome news to developers trying to leverage the efficiencies of server-side Java. As part of a strategy for keeping client requirements minimal, servlets can securely manage sessions and database connectivity, for example, for requests that come to a Web server.

The JSDK allows developers to build servlets, or applets that run on servers, to a Servlet API that is consistent across Web servers. The current kit includes the Java Servlet API, a servlet runner for testing servlets, a white paper, and an add-on module that lets servlets run in Netscape Web servers. This module -- part of the servlet embedding engine, which is still in beta -- is available with source code.

In the coming months, JavaSoft promises to deliver additional server modules to support Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and Web servers from the Apache HTTP Server Project.

The Java Web Server from JavaSoft supports the Servlet API natively, as do a number of other Web servers written in Java. These include: Jigsaw from the World Wide Web Consortium, Cascade, Acme, and ExpressO. WebLogic, a database middleware developer, supports the Servlet API in a server called T3.

Java Web Server is built on the Servlet Development Framework, which allows servlets and the Servlet API to be HTTP-independent. An administration tool allows changes on the fly, and servlets can be loaded dynamically. In some ways more secure than applets, servlets also take advantage of the Java "sandbox" security model based on an access control list and code signing.

An e-mail listserv is available to developers seeking help with Java Web Server and server-side Java issues (see Resources). The list is frequented by JavaSoft engineers, who exhibit an earnest interest in developer feedback.

Phil Chang is a technology consultant and CEO of Proclivity Inc., an independent software vendor developing dynamic Web sites and software tools.

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