Sun Microsystems has announced technology designed to let Java applications work with a gamut of databases - and also revealed its intention to acquire Integrity Arts, a provider of development tools for creating Java applications for smartcards.
The database technology, called Java Blend, was developed by Sun with Baan. to eliminate the need to write applications for specific databases. An application written with Java Blend should be able to access data in a range of existing databases.
Java Blend draws on object-relational mapping technology, so that an application created using Java Blend will, at run time, automatically generate data in Java that corresponds to the underlying database format, according to Sun officials. The product, which comes with a development tool and relevant software libraries, also incorporates the Java Database Connectivity specification for linking applets to databases.
Because using Java Blend means writing in Java, developers can also do away with database code when creating applications, officials say. JavaSoft is working with major relational database vendors to ensure compatibility with ODBC-compliant databases. The technology is slated for release early next year.
Sun did not disclose the amount it is paying to acquire Integrity Arts. French smart-card manufacturer Gemplus has a majority stake in the company. Marc Lassus, chairman and CEO of Gemplus, says it decided to sell its stake because Sun is in the best position to drive smart-card standardisation with the JavaCard platform.
Sun division JavaSoft's interest in Integrity Arts stems from its push to standardise JavaCard, a set of APIs for smartcards.
"Sun is interested in making Java ubiquitous, and our technology helps them do that," says Patrice Peyert, president of Integrity Arts.
Gemplus is not reticent to give up its small advantage over other smart-card vendors, says Stuart Bagshaw, executive vice president of corporate strategy.
"The whole purpose that we funded Integrity Arts was to create standards for smart cards," Bagshaw said. "We felt by passing over the custodianship to JavaSoft, they could put lots of energy behind it, and that helps standards along."
JavaSoft will deliver the JavaCard 2.0 specification early next month.