JAVAONE: JavaOne spotlights security

Sun to also celebrate Java's tenth birthday

June 27, 2005—Sun will use its JavaOne conference this week to talk about advancements to Java that make the programming language a more secure and manageable foundation for Web services.

Attendees can expect to see updates to the Java platform—including Mustang, the next planned version of the Java 2 Platform Standard Edition—as well as discussion related to standards and moving Java into a more open environment, analysts say.

"You're going to see new versions of the platform, you'll see updates to Web service capabilities, you'll see the standardization that's going on in that world all be announced," says Joe Keller, vice president of marketing for Java Web services and tools at Sun.

It also will be a birthday bash, with Sun holding several events to celebrate Java's 10th anniversary. Sun won't say how many developers it expects to attend the show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco but says there are 4.5 million Java developers worldwide.

"I expect to see progress on two fronts: on Java standards, both on adding more and in improving the standards-development process; and on open source, with several new open source announcements that will further extend the industry and customer impact of open source across the Java—and Web services—communities," says Mike Gilpin, a vice president and research director at Forrester Research.

From an IT manager's perspective, the most interesting activities at the show likely will be news related to management and security. These issues become increasingly important as Java-based applications such as RFID systems, supply-chain networks, and business-to-business manufacturing and distribution channels move more data in and out of disparate systems.

BEA Systems, for example, plans to showcase the latest updates to its Java application server, WebLogic Server 9.0. "Customers will be able to deploy their blended applications to the new WebLogic Server 9.0 with advanced features for management and operation," says Franz Aman, vice president of developer marketing at BEA.

Java is everywhere

In the 10 years since it was introduced, Java has found its way onto everything from smart cards and handheld devices to servers and mainframes. The use of Java is growing. A recent study by IDC of more than 450 IT executives found that 70 percent of respondents planned to increase or maintain their use of Java.

The interest is spurred in large part by the fact that Java, along with Microsoft's .Net, has become the foundation for Web services deployments. It also is becoming increasingly important in the wireless world, acting as the platform that enables organizations to push enterprise applications out to mobile workforces.

When it comes to the desktop, however, Java has been widely viewed as something of a failure.

"That's less of an issue than it has been," Keller says. "It was true, but last year we reversed that when we were able to resolve our issues with Microsoft."

He says Sun estimates that more than 700 million PCs are Java enabled and that the company has directly delivered 100 million Java runtimes to the desktop community.

Managing and securing the growing number of Java-based applications can be tricky, especially in a mixed environment where developers are writing application components that run on Java and .Net. Sun and Microsoft ended their long-standing feud last year and have been working on creating interoperability between the two platforms since then. Evidence of their joint effort: Microsoft has a booth at the Sun show for the first time in years.

"In about 80 percent of the cases, Web services will provide interoperability between these two environments," says Brian Keller, a Microsoft product manager for Visual Studio. "In the other 20 percent of the cases, we're working with third-party solutions to interconnect the two types of applications."

At the show, Microsoft will release the beta version of the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) Driver for SQL Server 2005 and 2000, which is Microsoft's relational database product.

Developers can use the driver to let Java applications access SQL Server data via the standard JDBC interface. The new driver will be available as a free, redistributable download, for deployment by all SQL Server 2000 and 2005 customers.

J.J. Everett, system architect and CEO at Everett Consulting, helps companies deploy Java applications. Improving management tools for Java-based applications is key for successful deployments, Everett says.

"You find Java in enterprise organizations because it is so portable," he says. "You can push it from server to server so you don't have to be in bed with IBM or Dell or HP. You can have flexibility. But you also have to realize that Java depends on the network and the network is the key."

China Martens, a correspondent with the IDG News Service, contributed to this story.

John Cox is senior editor at Network World. Jennifer Mears is senior editor at Network World.

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This story, "JAVAONE: JavaOne spotlights security" was originally published by Network World.