Sun Illuminates Java at Developer Conference

Sun Microsystems touted Java for just about everything--the desktop, the enterprise, and embedded and mobile systems--at its annual JavaOne developers' conference, held in San Francisco from June 6 to 9.

Sun chairman and CEO Scott McNealy kicked off JavaOne by telling developers they can create Java applications for any device to run across any network on any server. Then he broke the news that Apple would bundle Sun's Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) platform with every copy of OS 10, the next operating system for the Macintosh. Apple's Steve Jobs, on hand for the announcement promised to "bring Java back to the desktop in a big way."

While Jobs talked about the desktop, Sun exuded confidence that Java has fully penetrated the enterprise. Asked about robustness of applications, Sun spokespeople sent a unified message. No problem, they indicated. Java is the enterprise--and is there to stay.

In embedded and mobile systems—markets offering perhaps the biggest potential for Java—Sun had reason to crow. Following Sun's news that the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) is now generally available, Motorola announced it will support Java in almost all of its wireless products by 2002 and will use J2ME in phones, pagers and other products now in development. And partners in the Symbian alliance--Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Matsushita, Son and Philips—all pledged to offer Java on wireless devices.

PointBase also made news. The company, which is working with Motorola to make its technology available on a range of Motorola devices, demonstrated what it calls "the first 100 percent Pure Java SQL database running on the Palm V PDA." In an eye-catching demo, PointBase also showed off J-Slate, a new pen computer built by partner Tadpole RDI, the hardware business unit of mobile computing company Tadpole Technology plc. The Java-enabled J-Slate can visualize and manipulate files with rich graphical content, synchronizing data transfers to and from J-Slate across networks and systems.

A number of vendors announced plans to introduce Java-enabled cell phones—Korea's LG Telecom will release such a phone in July. Research in Motion showcased Java-enabled high-tech papers.

Sun also unveiled some new technologies for Java developers. The company said a Java API for XML Messaging is now under development. The new API will allow developers to build Java applications that generate and exchange XML messages with other applications. They also introduced software that allows users to run applications on browsers that support different versions of Sun's Virtual Machine. The software, Java Web Start (JWS), finds the version of Java needed to execute an application and automatically provides support. The beta of JWS is available for download from Sun's Web site.