Bluestone moves to marry Java and XML

While Sun dallies in delivering an XML strategy, other vendors step up to the plate to bring Java and XML together

February 1, 1999 -- Bluestone Software has just launched a new freeware project that makes the Java Swing application programming interfaces and foundation classes available to the Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The XwingML (pronounced "zwingML") project, which can be accessed at the Bluestone Web site, enables developers to represent an entire Java graphical user interface as an XML document, which has an upside and a downside to developers, according to one analyst.

"The upside is that you're not hardcoding these user interface declarations in code," said JP Morgenthal, analyst with NC.Focus in Hewlett, NY. "This means you don't have to go into code that is debugged and tested -- you just have to change the template to the layouts. The less you have to test production code the better."

Morgenthal said the downside is that everybody is doing this in a proprietary way, even though companies are making these projects available on their Web sites.

"Everybody thinks that because they put something out in the public domain it automatically matters, it doesn't," Morgenthal said.

IBM has also delivered proof-of-concept technologies that marry Java and XML. In much the same way that XML is separating form and content on Web sites, it is being used in development environments to separate the graphical user interfaces from the programming logic. While Sun Microsystems has been absent in delivering an XML strategy, other vendors are stepping up to the plate to bring Java and XML together.

"XML completes the picture of ubiquitous programming," said Pat O'Connor, an XML Strategist at IBM, in Cupertino, CA. "I don't think XML affects Java as a platform because XML is representing data and Java is the programming language."

On Monday, Bluestone will ship XML-Server, a dynamic XML application server, which can also be integrated with CodeWarrior to build applications for PalmPilot users.

Looking ahead, Bluestone will deliver Visual-XML, a toolset built with XwingML that will enable users to visually design Web applications that link to legacy data or are built to accommodate an existing document type definition. Bluestone's XML-Server costs ,995 and is shipping now. Bluestone Visual-XML costs 9 and will go beta in March and ship in April. Bluestone's application server, Sapphire/Web, will go into beta with its 6.0 version in April and ship in May.

Copyright © 1999 IDG Communications, Inc.

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