By building on existing specifications and fortifying server and client-side frameworks, JSR 109 will improve transport binding options, add XML encryption, and provide for implementing end-to-end security. Better integration with existing Internet security models, such as digital signatures, will help to bolster efforts for authentication and non-repudiation in Web services transactions.
The final draft of JSR 109 was originally slated for completion in February 2002, but the JCP would not speculate on its ability to deliver within that time frame. Furthermore, it's still a long walk from proposing the specification to actually seeing it included in J2EE, along with useable development tools and compliancy tests for vendors. But, if the JCP applies a little steam, its specification could find its way into J2EE 1.4, due out by the end of this year. And that type of guidance is exactly what CTOs need to feel confident basing EAI on J2EE Web services.
For IT leaders looking to bridge the EAI gap with Web services -- and 56 percent of survey participants have already identified EAI as readily addressable by Web services -- J2EE will offer a solid choice as soon as a platform guideline assures uniformity among developers. What will make J2EE such a good fit for Web services is its capability of exposing interfaces in existing Java components without requiring your IT staff to rearchitect your systems or spend huge sums on code modifications.
Furthermore, Web services inherit the benefits of J2EE's flexibility and wide assortment of vendor choices. Because availability and scalability is crucial to Web services' success, maintaining costs by taking advantage of competitive pricing will be important; after all, 51 percent of survey respondents expect Web services to make EAI less expensive, and 58 percent think it will make EAI easier.
J2EE may have the early advantage over .Net in Web services, but this ship has barely left the port. Before the J2EE platform will be able to successfully prove its EAI value in Web services, a cohesive architectural framework must be put in place. If one fails to come to market by year's end, customers sitting on the fence over platform choices will probably be swayed to non-J2EE solutions or rely on third-party vendors for more comprehensive and costly platform support. The challenge is under way.
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