Sun Ships Java EE 6 and Updated NetBeans IDE

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

Sun released version 6 of the Java Enterprise Edition, as well as new versions of its GlassFish web application server and NetBeans development tool

Sun may be in the process of being acquired by Oracle, but it is business as usual for its developers as the company announced the release of the Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6 (Java EE 6), as well as a new version of the NetBeans IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

Java EE is a leading platform for web and enterprise application development and deployment. The Java EE SDK has been downloaded more than 18 million times and the specification is supported by 28 licensees that market Java EE compatible-products. Developers can download and begin deploying Java EE applications today using the Java EE SDK available here.

The Java Community Process (JCP) approved Java EE 6 under Java Specification Request (JSR) 316 at the end of November. The JCP is a collaborative community effort, which includes a large group of industry leading companies and organizations – including Apache, Caucho, Eclipse, Fujitsu, Google, HP, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat and SAP AG – along with independent community members.

Among the new features introduced in Java EE 6 is Profiles, which target the platform at specific application scenarios. Profiles provides more flexibility for customers, ISVs and platform vendors and allows them to better address new and existing markets.

For instance, the lightweight Web Profile is designed to specifically address web application deployment scenarios that may not require the full enterprise functionality of the broader Java EE platform, Sun said. Coupled with significant improvements to the existing specifications, and the introduction of Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) 3.1 Lite technology, the Web Profile enables web developers to quickly and easily build applications without the need to build and manage a “custom stack.” In addition, developers requiring the power of the full platform can easily move from the Web Profile to the complete Java EE 6 platform, Sun officials said. Additional profiles are expected to be defined in the future through the Java Community Process to address different application scenarios.

“Over the years the Java EE platform has grown and matured to cover a wide range of enterprise and Web application needs,” said Karen Tegan Padir, vice president of MySQL and Software Infrastructure at Sun, in a statement. “Java EE 6 is designed to be more lightweight and modular to help simplify development, serve more applications and address various deployment scenarios.

The innovative features and productivity improvements now available in Java EE 6 are the result of an extensive, collaborative development effort between Sun, the JCP and open source community members. The introduction of Java EE 6 Profiles brings new flexibility to the platform and helps to address the needs of the various communities by adding new functionality and ease of use capabilities. We expect Profiles to usher in a new era of innovation and the possibility of many exciting new products for the Java EE platform.”

Java EE 6 also defines extensibility features as a means to embrace and support external communities and innovations and allow them to cleanly “plug in” to the platform, Sun said. In addition, Java EE 6 specifies a process and a set of technologies that may be “pruned” from future releases of the platform, allowing vendors and application providers to plan their migration to newer technologies that will be offered in upcoming versions of the platform.

Kevin Schmidt, director of product management and marketing for Sun’s Application Platform organization, said the new version of Java EE provides a more extensible, more flexible platform through profiles and pruning. He said the release of Java EE 6 comes nearly 10 years to the day since the release of Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) 1.2, which shipped on 12 December 1999.

A complete list of all the features of Java EE 6 is available here.

In addition to Java EE 6, Sun also announced the release of the GlassFish v3 application server and the next version of NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE), version 6.8.