The overall goal is to prevent the Java application market from fracturing. Through the certification programme, Sun aims to minimise the risk of incompatibility between application server software products that comply with the Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) standard.
The suite of tests and reference material allows independent software vendors (ISVs) and corporate software developers to test whether applications they design work with any J2EE application server from any vendor.
A number of application server makers, including IBM, BEA Systems, Oracle and Sun, have built application server software products that are based on the standard J2EE specification.
However, some of these products include extensions to the basic J2EE specification. As a result, an application designed specifically for BEA's application server will not necessarily be able to run on IBM's WebSphere Application Server.
Sun said only applications that use the generic J2EE specifications will pass the Java Verification Programme.
David Harrah, a Java marketing manager at Sun said: "You want to ensure that [J2EE] applications are portable across all these different application servers."
Harrah said the Java Verification Programme would include a test kit called the Java Application Verification Kit for the Enterprise. This is intended to prevent any confusion in the marketplace. Applications that adhere to the program can carry a "Java Verified" brand and logo. Enterprise developers who build applications that pass the verification tests will be able to participate in Sun-sponsored co-marketing opportunities, the company said.
Sun is also expected to release a similar test suite for applications designed to run on J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) platforms, a Java implementation designed for small computing devices such as mobile phones. It has yet to set a date for that release.