Changes in Java approval process planned

Several major backers of Java have proposed changes to the Java Community Process (JCP), the Java standards body, that will speed...

Several major backers of Java have proposed changes to the Java Community Process (JCP), the Java standards body, which will speed up the development of Java standards.

It is hoped the proposal would open up future Java standards to public scrutiny earlier in the development process, and push back the vote on proposed standards until after a second review period, said Onno Kluyt, director of the JCP Program Management Office at Sun Microsystems.

A Java specification request (JSR) goes through several review phases and has to be approved by the JCP executive committee at various stages in the process.

Under the proposed system the first review will be open to the public, and the vote will be pushed back until after a second review period, which is also open to the public. This second review period already exists in the current Java approval process.

Those proposing new standards, typically software companies with an interest in Java, can put something up for review without running the risk of getting it voted down by the executive committee straight after the initial review, Kluyt said.

Under the existing system it takes about a year and a half on average for a proposal to go through the standards setting process, Kluyt said. The changes to the JCP should reduce this time.

The final draft of the proposal should be ready in November, which means the changes could take effect late this year or early next year, Kluyt said.

The proposal is backed by JCP members including Oracle, IBM, BEA Systems, Iona Technologies, Symbian, Nokia, Borland Software and Sun.

The standards process is used to evolve existing Java specifications and to create new ones, to improve its security, for example, or to add support for XML standards.

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