Following up on promises made at last year’s JavaOne, Sun Microsystems Inc is releasing the first developer preview of Java EE 5, the rebranded name for the next version of J2EE. The package includes a version of the Sun open source Java appserver platform, under the name Project Glassfish.
The goal of the latest Java Enterprise Edition is to address complaints that the whole framework needs to be made simpler.
It includes the first implementation of Enterprise Java Beans 3.0, based largely on work contributed by Oracle. Some EJB 3.0 bells and whistles include Java Server Faces (JSFs), annotations, and Java Data Objects (JDOs).
JSFs simplify the generating of Java Server Pages (JSPs), which are the components used for spawning web pages form Java code. In turn, annotations, a feature already present in rival frameworks like Microsoft .NET, lets developers declare how a Java object is to be deployed or what kind of object it is. Examples include declaring whether the object is to run against a database or spawn a web service or XML message.
JDOs provide the official version of a simpler object/relational persistence model. This is an area where there is a growing array of open source alternatives like Hibernate and Spring.
The Glassfish feature is in essence, the reference implementation of a Java appserver. It’s officially branded Sun Java Applications Server 9.0.
Not yet a commercial product, Sun eventually plans to use the Glassfish technology as the basis for future releases of its commercially available Java Enterprise System (JES) middleware stack. But that won’t likely happen until the next JES revision is scheduled, which at this point is anticipated towards the end of calendar 2006.
In conjunction with the Java EE 5 preview, Sun is also releasing the latest version of NetBeans tooling, which is packaged as Java Enterprise Studio. The Studio bundle includes a copy of the Glassfish appserver, plus for the first time, a built-in UML modeler (it was previously available separately).
Java EE 5, released as preview, is subject to formal JCP (Java Community Process) ratification sometime in Q2, after which the plan is to release the final GA version.