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Oracle on J2EE: Consider it a Guarantee

We've all heard the complaints about the Java 2 Enterprise Edition platform: It's difficult to use, too heavy-weight for most developers, and too abstract by half. But those complaints are probably more about Enterprise JavaBeans than J2EE, says Ted Farrell, chief architect for application development tools at Oracle. And developers who don't like EJBs shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"There's a lot more to J2EE than EJBs," Farrell says. "People think that if they have a JSP or Servlet application that talks JDBC to a database that it's not J2EE, but it is. Those are all technologies incorporated under J2EE, and nothing says you have to use an all-or-nothing approach."

The key value of J2EE for developers, Farrell says, comes down to a guarantee. "You know that you are getting a set of services that work well together and are supported by vendor-specific implementations," he says. "You are guaranteed that certain technologies are there and present. And you know that the vendors are doing all the robust things that you want them doing for you, handling things like transaction management and high availability."

Farrell spoke with ProgrammingTrends earlier this month, just before his keynote presentation at TheServerSide Symposium in Las Vegas.

Among other things, the event was something of a coming-out party for the EJB 3.0 specification. EJBs constitute component architecture for the development and deployment of component-based business applications. The EJB 3.0 spec is one of the key technologies in the upcoming J2EE 5.0. It is intended to make life simpler for developers by implementing a simplified set of APIs, eliminating deployment descriptors from developers' views, and facilitating a test-driven environment.

"EJB 3.0 conveys a powerful and yet simpler view of enterprise beans and Java development," Linda DeMichiel, EJB 3.0 spec lead and architect in Sun Microsystem's J2EE platform group, said in a statement.

Oracle's own commitment to J2EE doesn't appear to be lessening. Oracle is a member of the EJB 3.0 Expert Group. As such, the company has been in the thick of the spec and the ongoing effort to simplify it and expand the population of users in the Java developer community.

The Redwood Shores, CA-based company used TheServerSide event to announce the availability of a preview version of its new Application Server Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) 3.0. The preview is a set of software tools designed to let Java application developers dig into the new EJB spec.

"Oracle is a vital contributor in the development of EJB 3.0," DeMichiel said. "By delivering a preview of the EJB 3.0 specification, Oracle is helping developers rapidly obtain a better understanding of how EJB 3.0 simplifies and streamlines application development."

"I believe that a lot of people have been avoiding J2EE because EJBs have been pretty hard to use," Farrell says. "EJB 3.0 is focused on making it much easier for developers to actually use and build applications and not be weighed down with all the technology overhead."

Oracle's Application Server EJB 3.0 Preview is available now at www.oracle.com/technology.

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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