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02 December 2009, 17:30

Java EE 6 meets with muted approval

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Version 6 of the Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) has received the approval of the expert committee for the Java Community Process (JCP). Now, Sun Microsystems, the firm behind Java, is expected to release a reference implementation within the next two weeks in accordance with JSR 316 (Java Specification Request) as defined for Java EE 6.

The vote (12 yays, one nay, one party that did not vote, and two abstentions) seems to be a straightforward affair at first, but not when you take a closer look and read member comments. Because of a long-standing dispute about the license for the Java Compatibility Kit (JCT), the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) is against specifications within the JCP (Java Community Process), in which Sun is the specification lead regardless of the actual technical performance.

A similar complaint comes from IBM, which speaks in favour of the technology for JSR but is not happy about licensing. The firm also has concerns about the implementation of the "dependency injection" program model in Java EE 6. Big Blue wants to continue to support the development of an injection programming model that can be more easily extended. In contrast, SAP continues to complain about Sun's dominance in Java development and therefore abstained. The German firm is especially critical about the way Sun is making the license process transparent and efficient.

Launched in 2007 as Java Specification Request (JSR) 313 and relaunched as JSR 316, the specification was to have been completed in 2008. However, the first crucial public milestone (Public Review Ballot) was only reached this spring. Version 6 consists of some 30 additional specifications and is a logical continuation of the approaches and ideas of Java EE 5. Based on the principle of "less is more", the specification focuses more on a development model driven by metadata with practical default behaviour.

The Java EE Profiles, which combine various technologies in a single configuration starting from a basic profile, are also worthy of mention. The subsets of technologies define the scope of the runtime environment that application developers have to stay within.

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