The next version of Java for PCs is expected today, as Sun Microsystems Inc continues its march to take back the desktop with Java 2 Standard Edition.
Codenamed Tiger, Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0 features a string of architectural changes, which among other things, improve development, performance and scalability – key touch points for Sun.
J2SE 5.0 uses generics, enumerated types and autoboxing for primitive types to help simplify and speed-up coding of desktop Java applications. This release also features a reduced memory footprint, faster start-up and autotuning of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to improve performance – historically a weak area for J2SE.
For more than a year, Sun has been working to raise the status and credibility of J2SE. The platform has been overshadowed by its cousins Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) for servers and mobile devices, respectively.
Sun began pushing desktop Java last summer, when it announced agreements with Dell Corp and Hewlett Packard Co to ship the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on machines. The company now claims nine of the 10 leading PC manufacturers are shipping the JRE, representing 60% of the market.
Sun’s renewed commitment to Java on PCs is being driven by two factors. One is the company’s desire to re-establish its tools among developers building applications using Intel Corp PCs. The company is also eager to increase the presence of Java in the booming PC games market, with developers writing larger numbers of games in J2SE. Java, for Sun, has become a volume play.
Additional improvements to J2SE 5.0 include an updated user interface and internationalization. Monitoring and management are also updated, with the ability for J2SE 5.0 applications to be deployed into existing SNMP enterprise management systems.