BEA bumps up Java and availability in latest upgrade

BEA accentuates the Java for enhanced development in the new version of WebLogic Server

Enhanced software development capabilities and system availability are key focuses in an improved version of BEA Systems’ WebLogic Server application server.

With the release of BEA WebLogic Server 10, BEA plans to accentuate the product’s Java-based features that simplify development of applications and services. To this end, WebLogic Server 10 supports Java EE 5 (Java Platform Enterprise Edition 5) and EJB 3.0 (Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0). Accommodations for open-source developer frameworks like Spring help simplify development as well, BEA says.

“The big news is this is Java EE 5,” says Blake Connell, director of product marketing for WebLogic at BEA. The company is the first major commercial vendor to offer a Java EE 5-compliant application server, he says.

Java EE 5 supports EJB 3.0, which allows developers to annotate code. Annotating enables a reduction in the number of external XML files that may have been required with an application. This reduces coding needs, Connell says.

A new persistence API in the application server takes information from a Java application and persists it in a database. This makes it easier to store data like customer information. The API leverages OpenJPA (Java Persistence API) and the Kodo persistence technology.

Also featured in version 10 is an update to core web services technologies as well as improvements in security and interoperability with proprietary and open-source platforms, the company says. Coding required to implement web services has been reduced in version 10 of the application server. Eclipse-based tooling is offered in the accompanying BEA Workshop for WebLogic Platform 10 product for software development.

WebLogic Server builds on Spring internally, says Rod Johnson, founder of Spring and CEO of Interface21.

“The architecture that they’ve adopted, building on Spring, enables them to move to a situation where Spring components can be deployed natively to WebLogic,” Johnson says.

Users can seamlessly mix and match Java EE 5 and Spring component models, he says.

“For a start, many users have already standardised on the Spring component model, so now they will very easily be able to deploy those apps to WebLogic,” Johnson says.

Availability improvements are also noted in version 10. Clustering, service migration and enhancements in performance and up-time help increase application availability and achieve “next-to-zero” downtime, BEA says.

“If a service happens to be on a machine that goes down it will automatically fail-over to another machine,” Connell says. This is critical especially in such industries as telecommunications and financial services, he says.

In addition, JavaServer Faces capabilities in WebLogic Server 10 boost web development. “The big benefit is you can create much richer interfaces for your web application,” says Connell.

Standards like EJB 3.0 have been implemented “very elegantly” in version 10, says Mike Malloy, vice president and chief marketing officer at the Wily division of CA, which is a BEA business partner.

“We think this provides an implementation of some of the new standards that have arisen out of the Java community,” such as EJB 3, Malloy says.

WebLogic Server 10 is positioned as a foundation layer for BEA’s SOA 360 strategy. While BEA sells licences to its application server, unlike open-source ventures like JBoss, BEA believes it offers an advantage in areas such as fail-over, server migration, administration and diagnostics.

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