[QQ]With a raft of Java-based products scheduled for release in the nextrosystem's Java comes to the boil. few months and continuing efforts to achieve an international standard for the language, not to mention Sun's commercial face-off with Microsoft, there is no let-up in the intense activity that surrounds Java.[QQ] Oracle plans to ship its Java-enabled Oracle Applications 11.0 early in 1998. The company's 35 or more existing application modules are already Java-based after a joint development effort between Oracle and Sun's Javasoft division.[QQ] IBM's Network Station Series 1000, the company's first Java-enabled network computer, will be bundled with Lotus's eSuite office application package, also written in Java, when eSuite comes out in the next three months.[QQ] Toshiba Information Systems will also unveil its new Java-based operating system, JexeOS, in the first quarter.[QQ] Meanwhile Sun is struggling to get its Javastation network computer onto the market two years after it was first announced. Delays with the Javastation raise doubts about Java's role at the client end.[QQ] Sun must also convince users that Java is as speedy as other environments.[QQ] Last year Pendragon Software claimed Sun optimised its Just In Time Java compiler to beat the Caffeinemark benchmark. Sun posted the results of Caffeinemark's Logic Test on its Web site, claiming that the Solaris 2.6 operating system ran Java applications 50 per cent faster than Windows NT.[QQ] Developers may be taking the Java market seriously, but enterprise users, with some notable exceptions, have yet to deploy Java in a serious manner.[QQ] However, the ability to create Java middleware that incorporates industrial-strength applications, such as stock control and payroll, into intranet applications is an important step forward, allowing users to knit together legacy systems with the aid of the Java Virtual Machine. There are important productivity gains too. Development time has been cut in half, claim some Java developers.[QQ] Although the consensus seems to be that Java is a Web development tool rather than an alternative to platforms such as Windows, Sun has been given approval to submit Java platform specifications for standardisation.[QQ] These include the Java language, application programming interfaces and Java Virtual Machine. The company also retains the right to the Java trademark.[QQ] This is a crucial plank in Sun's strategy and a decent counter-punch to Microsoft's efforts to apply its own spin to the Java model. Sun's lawsuit against Microsoft came after the launch of Internet Explorer 4.0, Microsoft's all-important Web browser software.[QQ] The new version of Explorer sports a Java Virtual Machine that allows Java applets to execute in the browser. Sun maintains that Explorer 4.0 and the Microsoft Software Development Kit for Java fail to comply with its specifications and application programming interfaces for the programming language. Microsoft is now backing dynamic HTML.[QQ] A battle royal is brewing over Java. The coming year is make or break for Sun and its bid to best Microsoft in the Internet market.[QQ] John Lamb is contributing editor of Business Computer World.
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