IBM announced at the JavaOne conference this week that it will standardise its programming model for its middleware and mainframe software on Sun's Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) standard.
The company will morph its San Francisco project into EJB and will use the standard to unite its disparate software architectures and products, including the San Francisco project's business application frameworks, Visual Age for Java development environment, Component Broker and Transarc TXSeries middleware, and Servlet Express.
The company also introduced JCentral, a new Web search engine for Java known internally as a "kind of Alta Vista for Java." The product will catalogue and search information such as code, applets, JavaBeans, news groups, articles, and tutorials for Java, and is designed to be a central resource for Java developers.
Meanwhile, EJB will not only provide an unprecedented amount of integration across its various software architectures but will also open up the company's third-party software development.
"We are reformed monopolists," said Pat Sueltz, IBM's general manager of Java software. "And like reformed anythings, our relationships are kind of dysfunctional but working."
Although IBM is fully supportive of Sun in its effort to build the Java specification and the alliance is working, Sueltz noted, "We have never seen an alliance yet that has worked," referring to the Unix disaster.
Observers noted that Sueltz may have overlooked the Object Management Group's CORBA.
Furthermore, EJB is the only software architecture since the days of the 360 mainframe that will offer IBM a consistent programming model, according to Sueltz.
Sueltz stressed that IBM is in Java for the money.
"We will cooperate on the specification but compete on the implementation," Sueltz said.
The company also has been responsible for a lot of the specifications in Sun's EJB specification, Sueltz said.
Java Transaction Server is an implementation of the CORBA-based Object Transaction Service. The Java Messaging Service is based on the IBM MQ Series Messaging API. EJB's Session and Entity Beans are based on Session and Entity services in IBM's San Francisco Framework, and the company worked closely with Novell on the Java Naming and Directory Interface.
Meanwhile, Java is not yet a write-once-run-everywhere proposition, according to Sueltz.
"Is more like a write once run many places, but it's getting there," she said.
IBM also said it has developed a Java virtual machine for the OS 390.
IBM Corp., in Armonk, N.Y., is at http://www.ibm.com/.