BEA Systems and IBM are teaming up to deliver three specifications to boost consistency and portability on the Java development platform.
The Service Data Objects (SDO) specification will provide a simple, unified programming model for data access from heterogeneous systems, including relational databases, XML-based data sources, web services and enterprise applications.
Nick Gall, an analyst at Meta Group, said his clients have been grappling with the problem of uniform access to structured and unstructured data, such as e-mail, XML information and relational data.
"This has been a never-ending challenge for all application architectures," Gall said, noting that it has been an issue in both the Microsoft and Java development environments.
In addition to the SDO specification, BEA and IBM published "work manager" and "timer" specifications for application servers.
The work manager application programming interface (API) aims to enable applications based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), including servlets and Enterprise JavaBeans, to schedule work to execute concurrently. The timer API enables J2EE-based applications to schedule and receive timer notifications.
BEA and IBM, which have collaborated on standards work in the past, published their latest specifications last week under royalty-free terms and submitted them to the Java Community Process (JCP) which Sun Microsystems established to evolve the Java technology that it created.
A vote on whether the specifications will be accepted into the JCP is scheduled for this week, according to Ed Cobb, vice-president of architecture and standards at BEA.
Scott Dietzen, chief technology officer at BEA, said it can take one or two years for a Java specification to become a standard. But by publishing the specifications and implementing the technology in BEA's WebLogic and IBM's WebSphere, the community can get more immediate feedback from the market.
"We clearly tried to streamline this process and help it along from an adoption standpoint," said Rod Smith, vice-president of internet emerging technologies at IBM.
The specifications will be supported in WebSphere next year, according to an IBM spokeswoman.
Carol Sliwa writes for Computerworld