About three months ago, my two-year old son discovered the word "cup." He
would call everything a cup, though he had no clue what a cup was. Finally
we figured out a way for him to call a cup a cup we pointed to a cup every
time he uttered the word. In my technological world of J2EE, I could map
this activity to certification and verification.
Today the market for J2EE is mature enough that application and
framework alternatives are available from several competing sources. As a
result, there's a need for standard metrics and credentials that can be used
by companies to evaluate short-list vendor solutions for their specific
requirements. From the solution providers' perspective, credentials help
them get their foot into a prospective client's door. From a technical
perspective, these credentials can take the following forms:
Given the existing and growing base of J2EE architects and developers in
the market, the personal profile of each team member plays a large role.
This is where certification comes in. Various levels of Java certification
that address different facets of J2EE are offered by Sun Microsystems, as
well as other major Java proponents like IBM and Oracle. At the same time,
major application server vendors such as BEA and IBM offer their own
certification that verifies the ability of a person to use J2EE in their app
- The technical team's profile
- The maturity and reliability of their product suite in the context of
the client's environment
When building a J2EE-based solution, a major concern of a solution
provider is the viability of the tools and development frameworks used. And
one of the biggest messages of the Java platform is that it's portable. Sun
helped bring the message together with their J2EE Blueprints and Pet Store
The basic premise of J2EE portability is the ability of an application
to function across multiple application servers, which is where verification
comes in. The good news is that the recently released Java Verification
Program from Sun Microsystems addresses this issue. It's designed to
identify enterprise applications developed with J2EE technology and intended
to be portable across different J2EE implementations. The program outlines
the tests needed to receive the Java verification certification. Products
that complete the Java AVK for the Enterprise testing process can apply for
the Java Verification Program and Trademark license. More information on the
Java Verification Program can be found at
Several app-server vendors offer add-ons that may not be portable across
other app servers, but provide a tremendous value-add.
For example, Macromedia has developed their own version of the Pet Store
called the Pet Market touted as a "rich Internet application" built on
Macromedia's MX family of products. According to Macromedia, the Pet Market
serves as a blueprint for best practices for usability, architecture, and
coding. The Pet Market serves as a reference application for portability
across a J2EE application server for server-side components, and portability
across commerce platforms for Web applications. I call this a combination of
good technology, good sense, and good marketing.
As their initiatives mature, there's a growing need for good reference
sources in the market to guide developers through the design process.
. . .
I would like to mention a couple of good books I picked up from a new
publisher Apress. Java Collections is an excellent reference with clear
and concise examples. And Java FrontEnd Technologies had some very useful
guidelines for JSP and servlet design in the context of J2EE.
Ajit Sagar is the J2EE editor of JDJ and the founding editor of XML-Journal. Ajit is the director of engineering with Controlling Factor,
a leading B2B software solutions firm based in Dallas, and is well versed
in Java, Web services, and XML technologies.