J2SE 1.5 Preview Goes Into Beta

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Sun Microsystems Inc. this month has released the beta of J2SE 1.5 for public review, moving the latest version of desktop Java from a theoretical list of requirements and definitions to code that developers can download and test.

The beta is the reference implementation for Java Specification Request (JSR) 176 and includes the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), the Software Developer Kit (SDK), and Documentation. J2SE licensees also have access to a beta version of the Testing Compatibility Kit (TCK).

The software is available for Linux, Solaris and Windows at java.sun.com. Both binary and source code are available.

Sun announced the features of J2SE last June at JavaOne in San Francisco. At that time, the company said the features of the desktop Java platform would fall along the themes of ease of development; monitoring and management; reliability, availability and serviceability; and performance and scalability.

The specification and virtual machine for Java 2 Standard Edition is distributed free from Sun, and form the basis for both the J2EE server platform and the J2ME mobile platform.

Among the new features is support for generics. "It makes it easier and type-safe for people to use Java," said Calvin Austin, JSR 176 specification lead.

Other ease-of-development features include support for metadata, enumerated types and enhanced for loops. These changes to the Java language itself come from individual Java expert groups, and combined, the APIs make up the most comprehensive update to the Java language since 1996, Austin said.

"Some of the look and feel of Java was from the last century. We have a whole new look and feel called Ocean," said Austin. The platform has a skinnable API so developers can customize applications' appearance. It also can use the native features of the operating system on which it is running.

-Yvonne L. Lee [SD Times]