By the time you get this issue, JavaOne will be around the corner. Or
you picked up this issue at the conference itself. This is JavaOne’s seventh
year – and for J2EE, it seems that the middle-tier component wars are over,
with J2EE clearly emerging as the winning platform for the enterprise.
J2EE has come a long way since the basis of Java’s distributed component
model, Enterprise JavaBeans, was first established in 1997. The emergence
of J2EE as a separate edition of the Java platform has definitely helped
to promote it in enterprise applications. However, standard third-party components
that can be applied across a variety of applications are still not commonly
It’s not that easy for someone to pick up a shopping cart component
that will integrate with a variety of commerce applications. The J2EE component
market is still limited to trees and charts and graphs. Application server
vendors offer commerce components, but these are not usually coupled tightly
with the app server’s environment. For example, leading app server vendors
like BEA, IBM, and Sun offer a catalog component. However, despite appearances,
I have yet to see one vendor’s catalog applied in another vendor’s runtime
environment. In fact, Sun openly admits that its iPlanet SellerXpert catalog
doesn’t run on other application servers.
Other vendors like ATG and Macromedia (Allaire) are no longer vying for a place in the J2EE application
server race. A couple of years ago, these vendors were touting their own
J2EE application servers and offering the complete e-business platform. They
still offer J2EE app servers, but these are typically used as example implementations
and are not meant for prime time. Now these vendors are content with an integration
story that claims compatibility with the leading application servers. In
theory, the commerce products offered by these vendors should be able to
run on applications developed on J2EE app servers.
The J2EE component market is still developing on several fronts. The
good news is that there’s enough traction behind J2EE to warrant this growth.
App servers are moving toward commodity software; in some cases, they’ll
end up as a package deal with hardware platforms. Commerce components are
emerging as out-of-the-box components that can be used across app servers.
We should see more growth in this market; I believe there’s enough opportunity
in this market for new businesses. In the past couple of years J2EE has established
the APIs and components for legacy integration through the Java Connector
Architecture, JMS, and Web services components.
This brings me back to JavaOne. J2EE and Web services are the hot topics
for the conference with the greatest number of sessions (48 and 63, respectively).
The Web EJB 2.0 spec has been out for several months now, and you should
see some feedback, good and bad, from folks who have applied it in real-world
applications. Enterprise integration through JCA has been gaining momentum
over the past year and there are examples of new solution architectures that
cover this technology. There will also be several sessions on J2EE 1.3 and
the application server market. Web services is closely tied to J2EE in the
Java universe. Sessions under this topic will cover Java’s XML Pack and the
Java XML APIs, as well as building Web services.
With the downturn in the economy, I think we can all expect to see serious
real-world application examples, as the industry can no longer afford to
experiment on unproven business models. It’s gratifying to see that the J2EE
platform has withstood the effects of the economy and is forging ahead to
pave the way for next-generation enterprise applications.
Ajit Sagar is the J2EE editor of JDJ and the founding editor and editor-in-chief
of XML-Journal. A lead architect with Metavonni, LC, based in Dallas, he’s well versed in Java, Web, and XML technologies.