Java's transformation into a development language for large server-based applications has been boosted by initiatives from two major vendors.
Sterling Software this week began beta testing its new Java development tool Cool:Joe. Meanwhile, Sun Microsystems confirmed that it quietly killed off two of its low end Java tools, Java Workshop and Java Studio, earlier this year. (see Newswire 27 September)
Last month Sun acquired high end tools vendor Forté, a rival to Sterling. (see Newswire 24 August) Forté is due to ship a Java application server, SynerJ, this year.
Christine Axton, lead Web development tools analyst at researcher Ovum, said: "Java is definitely going high end. If the likes of Sterling are entering the market, then the chance of customers using Java for real enterprise scale projects will become more likely."
Rumours persist that Sun will replace Java Workshop and Java Studio by buying a low end tools company, possibly Netbeans.
But Carl Zetie, senior analyst at researcher Giga, belittled such speculation.
"So what if Sun kills off some low end products and buys some more?" he said. "Sun wants to get into high end Java. That's what the Forté acquisition was about."
Sterling's Cool:Joe will allow development teams to create server side Java components called Enterprise Javabeans (EJBs). These will then be deployed on EJB application servers such as Weblogic from BEA or IBM's Websphere.
Research by analyst Gartner Group has identified the financial industry as the leading Java user.
Mark Butterworth, head of middle office technology at investment bank Nomura, said: "Java is our primary new development platform. Our only area of concern is when we use it for complex analytics, where performance is critical."
For more stories see this week's issue of Computing
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