Interoperability between Java development tools and rival’s platforms appears to be the reason for SAP AG’s decision to board the community’s latest consortium train.
SAP is one of 10 founding members of Sun Microsystems Inc’s Java Tools Community (JTC), announced last month.
The JTC, though, is just the latest industry body tackling Java that SAP has signed up to. The enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant is also a card-carrying member of the Java Community Process (JCP), home to the JTC, and the Eclipse open source tools consortium.
Many see the JTC as a potential rival to Eclipse, which until this week was essentially an IBM Corp-operated organization.
As the JTC prepared to announce its newly incorporated, independent structure Sun last week issued a politically charged open letter urging the new Eclipse to not hinder efforts to make the Java platform a better and broader base for tools.
Sun’s letter served as a warning to Eclipse, not to fragment Java. Sun, for its part, has decided so-far not to join Eclipse, citing insufficient guarantees for the future of its NetBeans framework.
Eclipse replied to Sun’s letter, welcoming the dialogue but reiterating that Sun’s invitation to join remains open, without the need for Sun to abandon NetBeans.
Mike Taylor chair of the Eclipse marketing committee wrote in an online response this week: The invitation remains open for Sun to join Eclipse at the Board of Directors level.
This invitation… does not require Sun to abandon or in any way deprecate the Netbeans platform. It does ask Sun to actively participate in the new Eclipse Foundation and to take development leadership of one or more Eclipse Projects.
With a growing intractability, SAP’s participation in both Eclipse and the JTC seems to translate as a grass-roots community-based desire to ensure interoperability between different platforms and tools, rather than wait for a seismic policy shift, such as a decision by Sun to abandon NetBeans for Eclipse, for example.
Interoperability is important for SAP. Through NetWeaver, announced last year, tools, frameworks, patterns, rules and methodologies are provided for SAP and partners to develop cross-functional business processes. NetWeaver uses standards like SOAP and WSDL to write to Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and .NET.
SAP’s vice president of NetWeaver standards Michael Bechauf said toolability, or the degree to which tools operate well with different platforms, is important. Achieving toolability, though, has historically been challenging, because APIs for Java tools are not created inside a single, focused entity inside the JCP.
The toolabiltiy of Java helps us to make sure we are able to influence the standards… that’s why the JTC is interesting to us, Bechauf said.
Interoperability between the JTC and Eclipse is also important to Bechauf, and representatives from SAP, SAS Institute and IBM will look at ways to bring the work of the JTC and Eclipse together, the executive said.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire