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Sun hopes test kit will spread J2EE gospel

In an effort to help application developers to "help themselves," Sun has released a free test kit designed to verify whether an application is J2EE-compatible. The J2EE Application Verification Kit (AVK) tests for the correct use of J2EE APIs across J2EE-compatible application servers, confirming that an application is portable across the multivendor J2EE-based app server environment, Sun officials said.

Speaking to reporters at last week's J2EE 1.4 Kickoff Event in San Francisco, Sun's VP of Java Web Services, Mark Bauhaus, said that the AVK was part of his company's ongoing effort to spread the use of J2EE.

"It's designed to help developers make sure that they do, indeed, have portability," Bauhaus explained, "and [tell them] where they have strayed from the specification so that they do so consciously, knowing the impacts of that decision. This is about choice; we're giving developers the tools they need to exercise that choice."

The J2EE specification describes the standard elements of a J2EE-compatible application server, providing the basis for portability. However, many application servers include proprietary extensions intended to provide added value to customers with special requirements, but which are not standard features. The problem, said Sun's Jeff Jackson, VP of Java software engineering, is that the use of a single application server can lead to a dependence on proprietary APIs and/or non-standard J2EE APIs, which could result in reduced application portability.

"With the AVK all users of Java can now check applications for portability," he said, "both in static and dynamic ways."

The J2EE 1.4 AVK includes a Web services testing feature for things like static checking for Web services endpoints, dynamic checking for both EJBs and servlet-based Web services, as well as source-code scanning functions for incompatible proprietary APIs that would cause interoperability challenges. It includes a feature for testing mapping assertions to the specification, enabling easy lookup. And it comes with ANT (an open-source build tool from the Apache Software Foundation), as well as some component libraries.

"One way in which developers seek to optimize resources is effective utilization of their existing infrastructure investment," said Joe Keller, VP of marketing for Java Web services and tools at Sun. "The J2EE 1.4 AVK enables developers to do just that, providing for easier application migration from one application server to another, increasing code reusability, eliminating the need to install and test across multiple application servers, and making multiple vendor environments not just feasible but efficient. Sun is proud to be the only company to deliver a product that offers these very practical, very effective results."

The AVK is available at http://java.sun.com/j2ee/avk

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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