JCA Framework Likely As Integration StandardJCA Framework Likely As Integration Standard
As you size up your integration needs, keep standards in mind.
March 27, 2002
As you size up your integration needs, keep standards in mind. We expect to see more vendors and businesses embrace the Java 2 Enterprise Edition specification's J2EE Connector Architecture.
JCA specifies a standard framework for building connectors that use standard Java interfaces to integrate with disparate systems. It provides a component library that developers can use to integrate their systems via Java programming. JCA is clearly the approach most application servers will adopt. If you're using an application server to run J2EE applications, JCA gives you the framework to tie the applications together in a standardized way. But the specification was finalized only recently, and no Java Message Service-based packaged adapters are available. The specification also has limitations in key functional areas, such as communication. JCA supports only one-way communication from the application server to an enterprise application. Also, it doesn't specify the inclusion of a mechanism for working with application metadata, and it lacks a mechanism to support XML records. Most leading EAI servers use their own architectures and approaches for integration and communication. Still, with J2EE's growing popularity, most integration-server vendors have voiced their support for the JCA approach. In addition, enterprise-application vendors such as J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, SAP, and Siebel Systems have committed to building JCA adapters for their applications within the next year. In general, though, support for JCA will take some time to arrive, as many vendors wait for the specification to mature. We expect to see by year's end a number of niche vendors, as well as packaged-application vendors, focus on building best-of-breed JCA connectors. In the next year or two, as JCA support becomes widespread, such connectors may become a commodity. Eric Sanchez and Jim Bragg are analysts and Linda Andrews is a senior technical editor at Doculabs Inc. (www.doculabs.com), an industry analyst and consulting firm. You can contact them at [email protected].
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