Sun upgrades J2SE platform

Borland bolsters CORBA, Compuware lays map for supporting Visual Studio 2005

Application developers got several new options last week as Sun Microsystems updated J2SE, Borland upped its CORBA ante, and Compuware announced products that will work with Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005 toolbox.

Sun’s new Version 5.0 of J2SE focuses on ease of development, manageability, and support for multiple desktop clients. Manifestations of J2SE 5.0 should arrive in products, such as new Java virtual machines, expected from various vendors in about six months, according to Sun. The company is planning Version 5.0 of J2EE to take advantage of J2SE 5.0’s features.

To enable faster and more secure coding, J2SE 5.0 supports generics, enumerated types, metadata, and autoboxing of primitive types. With autoboxing, for instance, primitive types such as integers can be converted into objects. Version 5.0 also offers an extended “for loop” function to make it easier to work with collections of items or arrays of objects.

In the area of management, J2SE 5.0 supports management of Java applications and Java virtual machines through management consoles using SNMP and JMX (Java Management Extensions).

“For the first time ever, you could monitor if you’re running out of memory,” said Calvin Austin, J2SE 5.0 specification lead at Sun. “You couldn’t do that before.”

A new feature in J2SE 5.0, called Ocean, provides a cross-platform look and feel Java applications, boosting the visual experience and using modern UI trends, Austin said. “Any Java app can use this look and feel,” he said. Also featured is a native look-and-feel function, so that if an application is being run on Windows XP or Mac OS, for example, the program will resemble Windows or Macintosh programs.

Sun also worked to reduce the startup time in J2SE 5.0. In addition, a performance ergonomics function provides automatic internal settings for larger systems, adjusting parameters such as garbage collection. “We will automatically determine what machine you’re on,” Austin said.

Performance has long been a critical issue with Java, an analyst said. “[Performance] has been the crux of the problems that have developed [with] the Java platform, particularly in the startup time. As the JVM gets instantiated, it takes a while for the applications to start up,” said Steve O’Grady, senior analyst at RedMonk.

For its part, Borland last week announced Borland Enterprise Server 6.5 VisiBroker Edition, which is the company’s infrastructure software for CORBA. The new version features performance improvements of between 40 percent and 70 percent.

Although CORBA has taken a backseat to Web services as an integration technology in recent years, at least publicity-wise, Borland is still seeing CORBA growth, said Vince Taisipic, director of product management at Borland.

Compuware, meanwhile, has plans to boost usability of its products for Microsoft developers. With its debut next year concurrent with Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005, the next major release of DevPartner Studio will provide actionable advice on changing code to raise application performance.

A planned security analysis product, as yet unnamed, will provide static source-code analysis for security holes. A third product, also unnamed, will simulate common error conditions such as lack of memory, and network disconnections.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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