J2EE servers reach Planet Apple
- By Jack Vaughan
[ADT's PROGRAMMERS REPORT, January 14, 2003] -- Java was initially touted as a cross-platform computing solution. In fact,
the Java Virtual Machine has appeared on a large number of enterprise platforms.
But, perhaps due to general server-side issues with the Apple OS, a commercial
J2EE application server has been slow to appear on the vaunted Apple
That changed this week as Macromedia Inc. announced the immediate
availability of Macromedia JRun 4 for Mac OS X. JRun 4, which became part of the
Macromedia arsenal with its 2001 purchase of Allaire Corp., is a J2EE-compatible
application server. The announcement occurred as part of the MacWorld Expo in
This is of course good news for developers committed to the Apple platform.
They have been, for the most part, on the bench as server-centric middleware
methods have flowered. Moreover, some players say, JRun 4 for Mac OS X could
provide a low-cost alternative to some pricey Java servers now running on Unix
or Windows. The product should come in at well under $1,000. Still, it is early
in Apple's server-side marketing and partnering effort.
For its part, Apple has offered its WebObjects Java app server, gained
through the purchase of NeXT Computer, for a number of years. That has proved to
be something of a specialist's game, and its future is threatened by moves like
''We're seeing requests come in from various types of organizations,'' noted
Dan Murphy senior product marketing manager for Macromedia's JRun. He pointed to
developers in education and government as potential early adopters.
Much of this is made possible by Apple's long-brewing operating system
update. ''It opens up a new opportunity for us to move into a space primed for
growth. OS X is based on BSD Unix. It has stability and ease of use,'' said
''Clearly, JRun will help Apple with its push into the server market,'' said
Simson Garfinkel, a software industry expert and founder of Sandstorm
Enterprises. ''Unfortunately,'' he added, ''Apple's rack-mount systems are still
too expensive to be seriously considered by most customers. Customers need both
industry-standard applications and hardware that's price-competitive.''
The Macromedia move is endorsed by user Geof Corb, VP of systems development
at New York City-based Web application house Synergenic. ''I think it is an idea
whose time has come,'' said Corb, who added that he sees Apple's 1U rack-mount
server offering, which may be the first home for many JRun 4 for Mac
deployments, as ''impressive.''
''We are a Java shop,'' said Corb, ''So we need an app server to deliver our
wares.'' He said the JRun 4 for Mac option will be apprised when clients have not
already ''dictated their architecture.''
Synergenic's decision to provide JRun involves issues of support, Corb said.
The solution may not be as inexpensive as a combination of Linux and
Java-oriented open-source solutions, he noted, but having a commercial product
supported by ''someone you can call'' is important.
At the same time as the JRun 4 for Mac OS X announcement, Macromedia
announced that the developer edition of Macromedia ColdFusion MX for J2EE
Application Servers now supports Mac OS X. ColdFusion MX for J2EE Application
Servers supports Macromedia's (formerly Allaire's) ColdFusion scripting for J2EE
application servers, including JRun 4 for Mac OS X.
For other Programmer Report articles, please go to http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6265
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.