WebSphere, DB2 Certified for J2EE 1.3

IBM Corp.’s WebSphere and DB2 offerings haveachieved compliance with the 1.3 release of Java 2 Enterprise Edition. They arethe first major application server and database solutions certified on the J2EE1.3 platform, which was released in September with added support for Webservices.

The 1.3 iteration is the first release of J2EE with inherent support forWeb services. And IBM’s rush to bring its application server and databasetechnologies in line with 1.3 is being touted by the company as another sign ofits commitment to the Web services concept.

IBM, along with Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc., has beenamong the most ardent supporters of the Web services movement. It hascontributed intellectual property to a number of leading Web services standardsand protocols, including the Simple Object Access Protocol and the UniversalDescription, Discovery and Integration standard.

By passing through the Java Community Process’ certification criteriafor J2EE 1.3, WebSphere and DB2 now support new technologies for building Webservices, including the Java Messaging Service application programminginterface. JMS is a new API that provides applications more flexibility tocreate, send, receive and read messages. Also, WebSphere and DB2 benefit fromthe increased XML integration offered under J2EE 1.3, as well as the platform'sstandardized methods for integrating CORBA and Java applications.

“The key difference between [J2EE] 1.2 and [J2EE] 1.3 relative to Webservices is really in two areas,” says Stefan Van Overtveldt, program directorfor WebSphere technical marketing at IBM. He says, J2EE now has the ability toenable asynchronous communication between the application server and EnterpriseJavaBean components; and provides increased support for connectors intonon-Java environments, such as SAP and other leading third-party systems.

With J2EE 1.2, Van Overtveldt says coupling asynchronous Web serviceswith synchronous applications was a very difficult task. Now, with JMS, he saysJ2EE 1.3 allows SOAP requests to be placed on a message queue, and activateEJBs asynchronously.

Van Overtveldt says IBM intends to build WebSphere into an integrationserver rather than an application server, as more functionality for Webservices integration becomes available through J2EE. He says, right nowWebSphere can be viewed as a complete workflow engine running within the J2EEenvironment, and will only grow more in this direction as J2EE provides morenative support for Web services standards and protocols.

According to Ralph Gallantine, product line manager for J2EE at Sun, the1.4 implementation of J2EE, which is currently making its way through the JCP,will package a number of new Web services features, including JAXP, the JavaAPI for XML processing, and JAXM, the Java API for XML messaging. Currently,both JAXP and JAXM can be downloaded and run on top of J2EE 1.3, but they arenot yet native to the platform. Gallantine says users of the J2EE platform canlook for more Web services-specific features to be added to the J2EE platformas demand within the industry dictates.

WebSphere's J2EE 1.3 technology is available as a free download todevelopers at www7b.boulder.ibm.com/wsdd/downloads/wstechnology_tech_preview.htmland will be included in future releases of WebSphere e-business infrastructuresoftware. – Matt Migliore