May 30, 1996 1:35 p.m. ET
JavaSoft proposes API for reusable components
By _Talila Baron_
SAN FRANCISCO--JavaSoft officials Wednesday announced an initiative to create
a set of APIs to allow Java developers to create applets and applications
from reusable components.
Code-named Java Beans, the API will be written entirely in the Java language
and will allow users a standard method for reusing Java components, JavaSoft
officials said at the JavaOne conference here.
"This initiative is a very natural next step for Java technology, given that
Java is already an object-oriented language that aids developers in
component-based programming," said Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft, an
operating company of Sun Microsystems Inc., in Mountain View, Calif.
"This is not a new product; instead, we're formalizing the external interface
around Java components so that they can be reused," he said.
JavaSoft also will provide the bridge technology to allow the Java Beans API
to interface with the APIs for OpenDoc, LiveConnect and ActiveX.
"So if you write a Java component and it conforms to the Java Beans API, you
can also use it as a LiveConnect object or ActiveX object, for example,"
Developers would also be able to embed Java Beans components into
"containers" such as Netscape Communications Corp. Navigator, Microsoft Corp.
Internet Explorer, Word, Excel and Visual Basic.
Users say the new Java Beans API would advance Java programming by giving
programmers a way to wire together code more easily.
"The more places you can reuse code, the more time you'll save in
development. This API would make it easier to distribute Java components ...
and to share code across the enterprise," said William Dunn, president of Dunn
Systems, a system integrator in Chicago.
"Up to this point, people have been working on their own island. People have
been developing their own class libraries, and the ability to share code has
been limited," Dunn said. An industrywide standard must emerge, or people
won't have a guarantee that what they write will work with other people's
code, he added.
While Sun has already written the initial specification, the Java Beans API
will be delivered only as part of a new release of the Sun Java Development
Kit Version 1.1, due for release in early 1997, according to JavaSoft
Companies including Borland International Inc., Lotus Development Corp.,
Netscape, Oracle Corp. and Symantec Corp. also announced support Wednesday for
the new API .
Borland will offer to the project its Baja technology, an early version of a
proposed object standard and the underlying architecture for its Latte visual
programming environment for Java that Borland plans to release by year's end.