Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE; known in previous versions as J2EE) is the engine behind at least half of all the Web services/SOA implementations out there, so it's big news when a new version of the platform is released. And, the new server infrastructure supports many emerging initiatives reshaping the SOA world, including AJAX and REST.
Sun Microsystems, Inc., the caretaker of Java, announced that the Java EE 5 specification has been approved by the Java Community Process (JCP) Java EE/SE Executive Committee in a unanimous vote. According to Sun, "Java EE 5 is the most significant update of the programming model to the Enterprise Java development platform since the launch of J2EE 1.2 in December 1999."
ZDNet's Martin LaMonica reports that Sun plans to release a software development kit for Java EE 5 at the JavaOne conference scheduled to begin May 16 in San Francisco.
New features developers will find in Java EE 5 include support for Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) 3.0 , a Java Persistence API jointly developed by Sun and Oracle, and updated Web Services, including JAX-WS 2.0 and JAXB 2.0, which support the latest W3C and WS-I standards (e.g. SOAP 1.2, WSDL 1.1), protocol and transport independence, and the REST style of Web services.
Java EE uses an open-source license, and was developed in open-source fashion, according to Sun. A related Sun code-sharing project is GlassFish, which was announced at JavaOne last year and is based on Java EE 5. BEA, JBoss, IBM, Oracle, and SAP have also endorsed Java EE 5.
Neil Ward-Dutton, an analyst at MW Advisors, is quoted in TechNewsWorld as confirming that this announcement is important because most future development will be around Web services and SOA. "SOA is about much more than development of software -- it's a broad approach to thinking about how IT capabilities can be published, combined and used in a really flexible way," he said. He adds that the announcement points to growing convergence between SOA and open-source approaches.