With Sun and Microsoft's partnership almost a year and a half old, the suppliers have finally made good on their promise to make Sun's Java more interoperable with Microsoft's .net framework through the use of open source tools and code.
This is an important move and one that could reduce the complexity and cost involved with making the two systems work well together, said analysts.
To date, the two companies delivered very little to end-users beyond web single sign-on and systems management initiatives, although both companies have insisted that much work is going on behind the scenes.
Now, however, Sun has announced it is making open source implementations of 13 key web services specifications that are needed to interoperate with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Microsoft's web services messaging platform, which was formerly called Indigo.
With Sun's implementations, application developers will be able to use Java 2 Enterprise Edition and WCF to create web services software that runs across different operating environments, such as Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows and enterprise Linux.
"With heterogeneous computing environments being a fact of life in the enterprise, our customers and partners have been looking for greater interoperability between Java and .net," said Mark Bauhaus, senior vice-president, business integration, application platform and identity at Sun.
Sun will also provide the Java community with tools and sample applications, via its software platform, the Java Enterprise System (Java ES), and through its Java Web Services Developer Pack, which will be available in the first half of 2006.
Bola Rotibi, senior analyst for software development strategy at Ovum, said Sun's initiative could cut complexity and costs, particularly the cost of buying-in the development expertise.
"This is good news and not before time, but I will believe it when I see it," Rotibi said. "A lot of people have been calling out for tighter integration between the environments."