Java environment focuses on up-front modeling

When the Java language was introduced in the mid-1990s, many programmers welcomed it as an opportunity to use a platform-independent language. Application development managers welcomed it as well.

The software promised to increase productivity by easing the implementation of object systems. Java perhaps did betoken a stronger use of more manageable components than was often the case in C++. But, as the J2EE component platform has grown from the basic Java language, it has come to be viewed by some application development managers as a productivity drain.

This is the setting for the latest release of Compuware’s OptimalJ application development environment, recently updated to Version 2.2. Compuware OptimalJ employs the so-called Model Driven Architecture (MDA) to generate working J2EE code from various descriptions. MDA seeks to improve portability, and cut down development time, by employing design models. Designers and developers can create a Web service using OptimalJ by elevating a generated Session Bean to a Web service.

As a result, OptimalJ will automatically generate a Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) file that other applications can use to invoke the new Web service. For existing Web services, OptimalJ automatically generates the Session Bean code needed to invoke the foreign Web service based on the imported WSDL file.

Franco Flore, senior product manager of the Farmington Hills, Mich.-based firm’s application development and integration products, said Version 2.2 extends the integration capabilities of the product. “And we’ve used MDA as a way of integrating apps,” he noted.

Developers may like to wrestle with problems, but the goal of this software is to render wrestling unnecessary. While the company does aim to impress development managers with this trait, there is still room for developer creativity, Flore indicated.

“We generate an application for you. We try to shield the developer from the complexity of the J2EE program. But rules need to be added and integration points need to be extended,” said Flore. “You may need, for example, to add business logic around [an EJB] message bean.”

Parts of the code form a guarded block, “but there are free spaces where developers can extend applications if needed,” he added.

See the related stories “J2EE and .NET servers weigh in” and “Windows Server 2003 ships”, or click here to read an ADT Briefing Book on the latest releases from Microsoft.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.