The state of Enterprise Java

The champions of Java have long bragged, and rightly so, that the technology became almost ubiquitous during the first few years of its life. The technology has faced some bumps along the road—lack of true standardization, incompatible versions and lack of server support—but has nonetheless gained solid support from some corporate IT operations, as well as top software suppliers like IBM, Computer Associates and Oracle Corp.

But many experts still question whether the technology is equipped to run a large organization. Some say Java is just the latest development in the continuing corporate quest for the Holy Grail of portability. It shows real promise, these experts say, but a lot more work must be done. The Java standard has begun to stabilize, though it is still controlled largely by its developer, Sun Microsystems. The Java infrastructure continues to be somewhat im-mature, though Sun appears determined to synchronize the development and release of the J2EE definitions.

Meanwhile, Enterprise Java- Beans (EJB), described as "the brass rings of Enterprise Java" in this month's Cover Story, "Is Enterprise Java enterprise-ready?" [p. 23], have yet to be adopted in critical mass due to the varying degrees of readiness of its pieces.

Author Tony Baer, a consultant and longtime Java watcher, examines the uncertainties that are still blunting Java's march to widespread corporate IT adoption. Baer takes a close look at the enterprise capabilities of the J2EE framework, a collection of technologies and specifications in various stages of development, and at the EJB model, also a collection of different technologies at differing levels of maturity and usefulness.

Baer's conclusion: That the Java standard will be widely adopted but will ultimately resemble today's Unix and SQL standards—technologies that are somewhat open, but still require some changes for use with different tools, databases or application servers. And managers can expect that widespread adoption will come sooner rather than later.

This month's issue also features our Fall Data Warehousing Special Report, featuring consultant David Marco's answers to some essential questions IT development managers must ponder before embarking on a data warehouse project. Marco notes that all eyes are on developers during the project, which is very often advanced by a company's top executives.

The Special Report also features a look at the spread of affordable data mining technologies that promise to spread its use in corporate IT shops. Data mining technologies, long seen as a potential silver bullet application, have been around for years but at a cost far beyond what most companies could afford. Writer John K. Waters finds some changes afoot that could bring significant business dividends to firms of all sizes.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.