Sun's Java SE 6 Retooled for Web Services

Sun Developer Network pulls together a host of new features for Web services, dynamic language support, diagnostics and desktop applications.

Sun Microsystems Inc. unveiled the next generation of the core implementation of its Java platform last month. The Java Platform Standard Edition 6, available now on the Sun Developer Network, pulls together a host of new features for Web services, dynamic language support, diagnostics and desktop applications.

Java SE is the version of Sun's Java Platform intended for developing and deploying applications for desktops and servers. It comprises the Java Development Kit toolset, and a collection of Java APIs, the Java Hotspot Virtual Machine and other components that make up the Java Runtime Environment. Java SE is the foundation for the Java Platform Enterprise Edition.

Sun is spotlighting the Web 2.0 capabilities of this release, which was engineered to allow the mixing of Java technology with dynamic scripting languages, such as PHP, Python, Ruby and JavaScript. Java SE 6 includes a scripting framework that supports third-party script engines implementing the JSR 223 Scripting APIs. It also includes a script engine based on Rhino, an open source implementation of JavaScript written entirely in Java. Sun has created a set of scripting engines, available at

Java SE 6 also comes with a full Web services client stack, and it supports such Web services specifications as JAX-WS 2.0, JAXB 2.0, STAX and JAXP. The Web services support underscores one of the most positive consequences of Sun's collaboration with Microsoft, says Jean Elliott, Sun's senior director of Java platform marketing.

Project Tango, part of the Glassfish Community, which builds free, open source enterprise software, brought together Sun's Java Web services engineers and Microsoft's Windows Communication Foundation engineers to ensure interoperability of enterprise features, such as security, reliable messaging, and atomic transactions.

"One of the things that both Sun and Microsoft have agreed on is that we need to serve our mutual developers and customers very well," Elliott says. "And many of them operate in a heterogeneous environment. We did a lot of work on Project Tango to make sure that the Java stack and the .NET stack interoperate. It's been a constructive collaboration that will ultimately benefit developers and our deploying customers."

The Java SE 6 release comes with an expanded toolset for diagnosing, managing and monitoring applications. It includes new, easy-to-use interfaces for the Java Virtual Machine and Java Platform Debugger Architecture. And it supports the new NetBeans Profiler 5.5 and the Solaris DTrace dynamic tracing framework for the Solaris 10 OS.

Sun is also touting improvements on the desktop and rich client fronts, which give developers the ability to deliver a better end-user experience. Java SE 6 includes a new layout-manager component based on the NetBeans GUI Builder (formerly code-named "Matisse"), for rapid visual development of interactive apps.

There's also enhanced support for the upcoming version of Windows Vista. "There was a lot of work involved in getting all the networking, the security, the graphics and all those gnarly things working right," says Elliott. "That, again, is where the collaboration between our engineers and the folks up in Redmond becomes really important."

This release is being bundled with the Java DB, a 100 percent Java database, rooted in the Apache Derby Project. It's being included as a matter of convenience for developers, Elliott says.

As part of a special promotion, Sun is offering 60 days of free, unlimited support for Java SE 6 through Sun Developer Expert Assistance.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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