Java Web services not open, say analysts

Companies that choose Java-based Web services in the belief that these offer more open technology than Microsoft's .net offering...

Companies that choose Java-based Web services in the belief that these offer more open technology than Microsoft's .net offering could be making a costly mistake, analysts have warned.

In a report on Web services, analyst firm Ovum claims that Java-based systems are just as proprietary as Microsoft's .net rather than being truly open as is popularly believed.

Gary Barnett, principal analyst at Ovum said many of the programs written in Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) will run only on a specific supplier's application server because of value-added extensions in products such as IBM's Websphere and BEA Systems' Weblogic.

"Once users elect to use Websphere's value-added extensions, their application is no longer portable between two application servers," he said. "The price users pay for taking advantage of Websphere's rich vein of additional services is a commitment to that platform."

Consequently, Barnett advised caution when comparing the Web services available for .net with the greater volume developed for J2EE platforms. He also claimed that Microsoft is at least six months ahead of its Java-based rivals.

"Phone up Microsoft and it will ship .net to you. If you splash out on Microsoft Developer Network you will get the operating system, tools, database, the process engine and a host of other goodies in one box. You will also get a handful of DVDs within 72 hours.

"Now phone a competitor. You will find that only one vendor, IBM, is even close," Barnett said.

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