App Server Vendors Race To Embed Java EE 5 Support - InformationWeek

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App Server Vendors Race To Embed Java EE 5 Support

Java EE 5 aims to simplify development, but most shops aren't using it yet because of lack of software support. Help is on the way: Many of the top application vendors expect to have compatible updates shipping by early next year.

"Our plan is to have a full Java EE 5 implementation in a WebLogic release targeted for the end of this calendar year," Connell said. "It's subject to change, but that's what on the schedule."

JBoss: JBoss, Atlanta, has been closely tracking Java EE 5 development and had a preview EJB 3.0 support pack available for its current application server release, JBoss AS 4, more than a year ago. Full Java EE 5 compliance will be part of JBoss AS 5, slated for general availability in the first quarter of 2007.

"We've had most of the key components available in the community for the past year," said Ram Venkataraman, director of product management.

IBM: IBM is on a slower development pace. It just released a major WebSphere Application Server update, version 6.1, in May, and doesn't plan another full overhaul until 2008.

Meanwhile, it will appease developers looking for Java EE 5 functionality with "feature packs," which Mark Heid, IBM's director of application infrastructure product management, cast as fully supported, production-ready add-ons for WebSphere 6.1.

"We see two types of customers right now, and the majority type is telling us, 'You're shipping things to us so quickly and comprehensively that we're having a hard time consuming it," said Heid. That feedback prompted IBM, Armonk, N.Y., to focus its priority WebSphere development on ease-of-use enhancements, rather than compliance with the newest specs.

For early adopters, IBM is readying three feature packs addressing pieces of the Java EE 5 spec. The first two, for Web services and SOA, are in alpha testing and scheduled for general availability in the first half of 2007. An EJB 3.0 feature pack will go into testing in the first half, though Heid wouldn't commit to finishing and shipping it in 2007. In 2008, IBM plans to have its next major WebSphere release, with full Java EE 5 support.

Oracle: Oracle declined to comment on its road map. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company contributed a key technology to GlassFish, TopLink Essentials, the reference implementation of EJB 3.0's JPA.

Oracle's latest release, Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3, includes an EJB 3.0 implementation, but the company has not publicly mapped out a time line for full Java EE 5 support.

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