Sun sees mobile Java app future

Sun Microsystems plans to further develop component-based applications for wireless devices.

Sun Microsystems is to develop further component-based applications for wireless devices.

Company executives have unveiled an internal project called JavaFirst, which will examine how to make rich applications interact with services available on J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) back-ends.

Sun's vice president of developer tools Rich Green explained the next generation of enterprise applications for mobile devices will see run-time and application logic split between the client and server.

"The whole point of JavaFirst is really taking all these web services and making them available to mobile devices," Green said.

Developers creating Java-based applications for mobile devices can map the interfaces from services-based application architectures to a set of client stubs which allow the client and server to talk.

Sun is already demonstrating beta applications such as Mobile Jolt, which provides access to a corporate personnel database via wireless connectivity to a mobile phone.

Jeff Anders, Sun group marketing manager, explained other examples that fall under the Java First banner including SunONE Studio Mobile Edition, Sun's Project Relator, which maps a rich client interface to server-side Java code, and an application called Javon that also maps mobile clients to J2EE back ends.

Meanwhile, Juan Dewar, Sun's senior director of marketing for the consumer, mobile systems and solutions software division, said Sun is anticipating the day when mobile devices can access both carrier-based and Wi-Fi networks.

Mobile phone manufacturers have a number of Wi-Fi projects under way, Dewar said.

Sun's primary role with the manufacturers and carriers is to bring wireless applications to the enterprise, with horizontal offerings for industries such as financial services and manufacturing.

"What we're going to do is go after those specific markets with this ecosystem of partners... with specific solutions to help them mobilise on the enterprise in ways that haven't been done yet," he said. "What we're going to provide are some of the tools and programs and a platform so [the applications] can get rapidly deployed."

With this initiative, users will be able to use applications with a $50 (£30) mobile phone instead of a $500 (£300) PDA, said Dewar.

Ultimately the goal is convince developers that building applications for mobile devices is no different to building them for PCs.

Mark Jones and Paul Krill write for InfoWorld

Read more on Business applications