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First things first: I'd like to take a moment to reflect upon SYS-CON's JDJEdge Conference in light of the tragedy that shocked America on September 11. The best way to deal with a terrorist act is to not give in and allow it to disrupt everyday activities. To that effect, JDJEdge took place as planned, September 23-26. Under the circumstances, it was quite successful.

On the J2EE front, most vendors attended and imparted useful information in the form of presentations, exhibits, demos, tutorials, and one-on-one discussions. Kudos to the SYS-CON crew, who worked under adverse circumstances to make this happen, as well as to the attend- ees, vendors, presenters, faculty, and industry luminaries who traveled from across the globe to help shape the event.

Sun announced the final release of J2EE 1.3 on September 24, the second day of the conference. Java versions can get confusing. This was the version 1.3 release of the API suite for the enterprise edition. The 1.3 release is promoted by Sun as the release that "simplifies business integration and delivers increased functionality for developing and deploying enterprise-level Web services." If you look for the message in this statement, it covers two main concepts: "business integration" and "Web services." Basically, these two paradigms are Java's windows into enterprise applications.

Web services are abstractions of functional modules built in a programming environment and applied to Web-based enterprise applications. The main effect of creating Web services is to have the functionality available in a form that can be queried, brokered, searched, and executed across the Web. On the other end of the spectrum, however, is the actual integration of the Web service to the back end. In a world replete with Web services, this will be achieved through the Web layer. For instance, business partners can connect via XML-based protocols talking Web service to Web service. The connectivity layer, however, isn't that simple yet, and chances are it will never get to that level. Integration to the current EIS systems can be done via JDBC (for database sources), JMS, CORBA, JNI (if absolutely required), or the J2EE Connector Architecture (J2EE CA). It's Sun's hope that the integration market will move toward the J2EE CA as the preferred way of integrating to legacy systems. J2EE CA provides the connectivity layer to complete the final piece of the enterprise application story.

The J2EE 1.3 version continues enhancing the Java platform to support enterprise application development. The main features of this release are:

  • The release of J2EE connectors
  • JMS message-driven beans
  • Enterprise JavaBeans 2.0 release
  • JAXP for XML integration and XML manipulation using JSPs
  • Java servlet filters
As in the other releases, 1.3 comes with a reference implementation that developers can use to become familiar with the environment. As you can see from the preceding list, most items deal with enterprise connectivity and Web services.

As vendors that support the Java platform continue to enhance the application development and deployment environments, more sophisticated tools for building enterprise applications are emerging. We are, however, just on the brink of the e-business revolution.

In this issue we have an article from Neal Ford on Jakarta's Struts framework that applies the MVC design pattern to Java presentation design using servlets. Abraham Kang and Donald Levy introduce you to the joys of implementing single sign-on in the Java arena. A couple of product reviews and our regular columns complete the picture to give you another substantial bite of J2EE in true JDJ style.

Author Bio
Ajit Sagar is the J2EE editor of JDJ and the founding editor and editor-in-chief of XML-Journal. A senior solutions architect with VerticalNet Solutions, based in San Francisco, he's well versed in Java, Web, and XML technologies. ajit@sys-con.com

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