March 27, 1997 7:15 PM ET

JavaOne's cup overflows
By Michael Moeller

  JavaSoft and third-party developers will map out product plans next week that fit the company's enterprise vision for Java.

Topping the list of announcements at the second JavaOne Developer Conference in San Francisco will be an overhaul of the Java Virtual Machine, improved security, and new APIs that will help turn Java into a platform for enterprise application development. JavaSoft will also unveil lightweight versions of Java for PDAs, smart phones and other non-computer devices.

To tackle the most significant shortcoming of Java-speed-officials are working on a next generation VM and runtime environment.

The new VM will include the HotSpot technology acquired along with LongView Technologies LLC. last month. HotSpot will enable the VM to dynamically compile byte code into machine code for faster performance and enable Java applications to execute at speeds equal to platform-specific programs written in C or C++, according to officials.

In addition, the Cupertino, Calif., division of Sun Microsystems Inc. will introduce the JDK 1.1 Win32 dynamic link library, a new option for the JDK that will speed implementations of Java on Windows.

The Win32 DLL for JDK would cut JavaSoft's reliance on Microsoft Corp. as the sole provider of Java on Windows. JavaSoft, which developed the Win32 DLL, is working with other platform licensees, including IBM and Apple, to create similar bundles.

Other JavaSoft announcements include the Enterprise Platform for Java, a new server environment that will embrace partners to create Transaction API, Messaging APIs, Java Beans and Servelets for building mid-tiered applications in Java.

Backing the effort will be close to ten major vendors that will work to incorporate the Transaction API into their applications. The partners include Bea Systems, The Baan Co., IBM, Informix Corp., Lotus Development Corp., Oracle Corp., Sybase Inc. and Tandem Computers Inc.

The goal of the transaction API and Enterprise Platform will be to enable corporate developers to create a mid-tier Java environment that connects Java clients to legacy systems.

JavaSoft will release a Crypto Toolkit that will help create secure applications in Java by writing to a single API. Those applications can access cryptographic engines without knowledge of its functions. JavaSoft is also planning to expand the security functions of the Java virtual machine as well as more clearly describe its plans for Flexible Code Signing.

In an effort to expand Java to non-PC platforms, JavaSoft will also announce that it is breaking Java into four categories: General Purpose, Personal, Embedded, and [smart] Card, according to sources.

Personal Java will include thin versions of the Java run-time, Java APIs and the Java Abstract Windowing Toolkit. Embedded Java is a subset of Personal Java designed for office equipment such as printers, copiers, traditional telephones, and other devices.

General Purpose Java will be the form that resides in client and server applications.

Major vendors making announcements next week include the following:

  • Lotus Development Corp. will demonstrate betas of its first Kona Java applets and Kona Desktop GUI on JavaStations.

  • IBM will roll out the beta of Visual Age for Java as well as the final version of its AppletAuthor.

  • IBM, Tandem Computers Inc. and Oracle Corp. will collectively demonstrate J/SQL and release a cross-platform, database-neutral specification of J/SQL, a higher-level interface for JDBC for building Java-enabled database applications.

  • Corel Corp. will announce that a beta version of its Corel Office for Java will be available on the Corel Web site this week.

    At the adjoining Software Development show, Microsoft will release new Java technologies as part of its Application Foundation Classes, and also will announce a new Java ISV program.

    Additional reporting by Jim Kerstetter, Norvin Leach and Paula Rooney.

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