J2EE Version 1.4 is itself somewhat behind schedule. It was originally due in the second half of 2002, according to information on the Web site of the Java Community Process, which steers development of new Java standards. The work needed to incorporate the Basic Profile is partly the reason that the specification won't be ready until mid-year, Galantine said.
Progress wasn't helped by a spat last year between Sun and the WS-I. When the organization was formed in February 2002 Sun wasn't among its members. It agreed to join as a contributing member only in October last year, after the WS-I said it would eventually expand its board by two seats.
In the meantime, Sun's plans for incorporating Web services in J2EE diverged somewhat from the work being done at the WS-I. If the two sides hadn't reached accord there was no guarantee that the next release of J2EE would have been compatible with products for creating Web services being developed by the WS-I's member companies, Sun's Galantine said.
"We had gone through and interpreted things in a particular way for 1.4, and it turned out that the WS-I had interpreted things in a different way, so there wasn't a guarantee of interoperability until we decided to support the WS-I Basic Profile," he said.
"If we hadn't joined (the WS-I) I don't think this would have been possible," he added.
Forrester's Schadler said Sun is to be commended for adopting the Basic Profile in spite of its past differences with the WS-I.
"A lot of it was a lack of comfort that [Sun] wasn't a player at the table. They kind of let this whole Web services thing get away from them. IBM and Microsoft were kind of way out ahead of them in Web services leadership, and the WS-I was a chance for Sun to sign up or not. And it signed up. It took it on the chin and said, 'this is way too important for our customers that we aren't involved.'"
The next step will likely be to issue a new draft of the J2EE 1.4 specification that includes the WS-I basic Profile, Sun's Galantine said.
"I don't have a date for that yet, but because we're doing [J2EE 1.4] in the summer it would need to be in the next few months," he said.