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Java passing endurance tests

For whatever reasons, the image of Java has suffered somewhat over the past year or so. Why? It could be that the never-ending Microsoft .NET campaign compelled development managers to evaluate that alternative to Java. It could be that Java technology isn't progressing as fast as some had hoped. It could be simply that Java is no longer new or ''cool'' to developers -- its early hype was too much for any technology to live up to. Whatever it is, some Java champions feared for a bit that the technology was losing steam.

The subdued hype surrounding Java prompted us to take a close look this month at a couple of key Java-based technologies -- Java Message Service (JMS) and J2EE application servers -- for our Special Report, ''Java gets better.'' Our authors found that Java is alive and well, and remains the most -- and perhaps the only -- viable alternative to Microsoft technologies.

The evolution of JMS since its unveiling with great fanfare during the 1998 JavaOne conference is traced by correspondent John Waters from those early days in his share of the Special Report, JMS taking a place in the enterprise .

Early on, analysts told Waters, the Java messaging technology was seen by many observers to be inferior even to Microsoft's immature messaging systems. Over the ensuing years, however, JMS has quietly overcome early technical problems to become a key technology in products from firms ranging from giants like IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle to smaller suppliers like SpiritSoft and Fiorano Software. And, analysts say, JMS is positioned to become a key element in enabling Web services within corporate IT groups.

In the Special Report's second story, Improvements mark evolving Java app servers , Editor-at-Large Jack Vaughan takes a new look at a J2EE application server business that has seen considerable consolidation over the past couple of years. Vaughan, in his inimitable way, takes a look at the state of several application server players today and where one can reasonably expect the technology to extend in the coming months and years.

At the same time, our .NET & Beyond columnist , consultant David Chappell, takes a critical look at what he calls the ''simple-minded view'' that universally accepted technology standards are the best solution for all technologies. Not so, says Chappell.

While vertical standards like TCP are essential for communication, competition among vertical standards like J2EE and .NET generally leads to more and quicker technological innovation than would a world of vertical standards monopolies. The conclusion: Don't overlook the benefits of competition in the standards world.

Best regards,
Michael W. Bucken

About the Author

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

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