Sun has continued its torrent of October Java announcements by releasing its Java Beans specification ahead of time.
In addition to the release of the Java Beans API specification, which describes a component architecture for programs written in Sun's Java programming language, Sun's JavaSoft division and its development partners IBM, Netscape and Apple have outlined plans to provide two-way communication between Java Beans and other object frameworks, including Microsoft's ActiveX, by the second quarter of 1997. They also plan to provide it to OpenDoc in early 1997.
In the meantime, IBM is working on technology to let Java applets run in OpenDoc and ActiveX containers, officials say. This technology is currently in beta testing and will be generally available within a month.
Netscape, for its part, will release a bridge between Java Beans and its LiveConnect technology during the first half of 1997. Sun is trying to establish Java Beans as a platform for linking multiple compound object environments. As such, it is going up against ActiveX directly, but Microsoft's own strategy of "embrace and extend" is bearing fruit.
Microsoft this past week released its Java Software Development Kit (SDK), which will let developers use Java to create ActiveX-compliant components. The kit has a Win32 virtual machine for Java and a compiler.
The SDK will let developers create applications with the Java programming language for Windows 95 and Windows NT OSes. "The Java SDK and the Win32 virtual machine allow Java developers to write directly to the desktop without a browser being required," says Ramesh Parameswaran, product manager for ActiveX at Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft.