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Sun Unveils Dev Tools For Web Services, SOA

Sun launches new products for building Web services and infrastructure software for migrating toward a services-oriented architecture.

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Monday launched new products for building web services and infrastructure software for migrating toward a service-oriented architecture.

The announcements, made at the Santa Clara, Calif., company's 10th annual JavaOne Developer Conference in San Francisco, included an upgrade to Sun's Web Services Developer Pack, a preview of the Sun Java Studio Creator 2 visual development tool, the Sun Service Registry and the Sun Java Identity Management Suite. Sun billed the announcements as delivering on its strategy for helping companies build SOAs.

In adopting a SOA, an evolution in distributed computing for standards-based automation of business processes, the registry and identity suite solve some "real-world" problems, Jason Bloomberg, analyst for market researcher ZapThink LLC, said.

"The Web Service Developer Pack is great stuff, and it's going to help Java developers build web services, but that's not the SOA story from Sun," Bloomberg said. "The real SOA story is the Service Registry."

Web services, which involve the building of XML-based interfaces for applications in order to link them together over an IP (Internet protocol) network, is often used in SOAs, Bloomberg said. However, companies are also likely to adopt a SOA using existing messaging infrastructure or XML technology that doesn't leverage web services standards.

"One of the traps that Sun is falling into here is rolling out web-services tools, and calling them SOA tools," Bloomberg said. "Companies are separating web services from SOAs. The latter is more strategic and an Internet architecture."

Within an SOA, the Sun registry is useful as a place to store metadata that defines security policies and procedures, Bloomberg said. Developers connecting applications to handle a business process electronically needs a central place to get information on potential users, such as authentication, identification and network access.

Some vendors have connected such metadata to their development tools for easy access to the information during the application-building process.

Sun's Service Registry and Identity Management Suite are the "crown jewels" of its SOA-infrastructure technology, but there are other vendors that have been shipping similar technologies longer, such as Systinet Corp. and LogicLibrary, Bloomberg said.

"There's no clear differentiator that sets Sun apart from the other vendors," Bloomberg said.

The Sun Web Services Developer Pack 1.6 provides Java developers with early access to application programming interfaces and other new technology that the company plans to incorporate in other products, the company said.

The Studio Creator 2 Early Access enables Java developers to consume data from web services and to visually develop web and portlet applications often used in building corporate portals. Sun said the upcoming version of Sun Java Studio Enterprise would include features to speed up the development process of SOA-based applications with integrated support for service orchestration, visual service creation and data transformation.

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