BEA Provides Early Access to New Web Services API

JAX-RPC in the (Glass) House

BEA Systems Inc. this week released the 7.0 version of its WebLogic application server with certified support for the new JAX-RPC application programming interface (API). The addition of JAX-RPC to the WebLogic solution set makes BEA the first major application server provider to bring the API to market.

A Java-based specification, JAX-RPC is an effort to standardize the method for making remote procedure calls to Web services systems. With JAX-RPC, Java vendors can now provide rapid interoperability with Web services technologies regardless of the underlying platform, be it Microsoft .NET, J2EE or a solution built on a different platform or programming language.

According to George Kassabgi, vice president of engineering for BEA, JAX-RPC represents a quick path to interoperability for developers. Interoperability, says Kassabgi, has always been, and will continue to be, a key focal point for BEA. “You must have as a priority that intent,” says Kassabgi.

Mike Gilpin, a vice president and research leader for Giga Information Group, says BEA has developed a reputation for pushing new technologies in the application server market. He says, “[The adoption of JAX-RPC] is just another example of that.”

In the past, BEA has been especially aggressive in supporting Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB). And, going forward, Kassabgi says BEA is already implementing mechanisms for other new APIs, including JAX-B and JAX-P.

JAX-B is an API designed to support the creation of bi-directional bindings between Java and XML, while JAX-P focuses on the interoperability of parsers. Neither API has been finalized though, and a certified version of WebLogic with support for these two APIs will not be available until that happens.

BEA’s competitors in the application server market, particularly IBM Corp., figure to quickly follow suit with support for JAX-RPC. “I expect all the major players to adopt JAX-RPC,” says Gilpin. “Especially since it will be a requirement to get J2EE 1.4 certification.”

However, Kassabgi says the advantage of providing early access to JAX-RPC is that it gives developers using WebLogic a chance to hone their skills with the API. And, he says, since BEA played a big role in developing JAX-RPC from the ground up, the API has been tightly integrated with WebLogic.

WebLogic 6.1 was the first version of BEA’s application server environment to offer support for emerging Web services standards and protocols. Released last summer, it provided functionality for SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), WSDL (Web Services Description Language) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration). Providing early support for JAX-RPC as part of WebLogic 7.0 shows a growing commitment by BEA to the Web services concept.

In addition to JAX-RPC, WebLogic 7.0 is certified for J2EE 1.3, which includes EJB 2.0, J2EE Connector Architecture, and Java Messaging Service (JMS).

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.