IBM scales up Java plans

Company to add Enterprise Java application server functionality to a range of its middleware products

San Mateo (02/20/98) -- IBM Corp. will bring its San Francisco project into line with Sun Microsystems's Enterprise JavaBeans object specification and announce intentions to add Enterprise Java application server functionality to a range of its middleware products, all at the Java strategy day at JavaOne this March in San Francisco.

The San Francisco project is a set of server-side Java templates and middleware for building object-oriented business applications, targeted at ISVs. IBM will join Sun, WebLogic, Gemstone Systems, BEA Systems, Oracle, and Sybase in demonstrating Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) prototypes at the JavaOne developers' conference.

EJB enables the encapsulation of server-side business logic as transactional components. EJB is currently in Version 0.9 but is expected to graduate to Version 1.0 at JavaOne. EJB is widely seen as the competing architecture to the Microsoft Transaction Server.

At its strategy day in March, IBM will detail how its plans to standardize on the EJB specification will enable a consistent programming model across its many different middleware and transaction platforms, such as CICS, Encina, and object request broker middleware such as CB Connector.

The company also will detail how it plans to gradually swap the San Francisco project infrastructure for EJB, and position it as an ideal environment for building Enterprise JavaBeans.

"The bottom line is that EJB will provide IBM with a consistent programming model," said Alistair Rennie, a marketing executive at IBM's Component Broker Division. "To make use of that powerful capability we need to make EJB available across a range of our servers."

IBM may achieve this by building a separate application server, forming a partnership with EJB server vendors such as Gemstone or WebLogic, or developing an application container that will run inside or on top of current server offerings such as CICS, according to sources.

Meanwhile, IBM's San Francisco project provides greater functionality than EJB, said Kathy Bohrer, an architect with the San Francisco project.

The merging of the San Francisco project with EJB will be a slow process, taking at least 12 months.

"You have to understand that we are not married to the underlying object infrastructure," Bohrer said. "We only developed it so that we could deploy the business objects."

Some analysts agree.

"San Francisco provides more services than EJB," said Anne Thomas, a senior analyst at Patricia Seybold Group, a consultancy in Boston.

IBM will launch Version 1.2 of the San Francisco project at JavaOne. The new release will add Order Processing and Warehouse Management to its General Ledger core business module and will run approximately three times faster, according to Bohrer.

Meanwhile, Sun is expected to roll out Version 1.0 of the EJB specification at JavaOne. The first version of EJB will require support for Session Beans. Version 2.0, slated for release in 1999, will require support for Entity Beans.

Entity Beans are different from Session Beans because they support persistence, meaning that an object can retain its original behavior or state. But for now, persistence can be handled by either the early introduction of an Entity Bean or by the Bean container, which usually is a Web-application server or container.

Version 2.0 is expected to support a wider variety of services such as the Java Messaging Server, Entity, or Persistence and Notification. :END_BODY

Copyright © 1998 IDG Communications, Inc.

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