Oracle releases Java EE 7 with eye on HTML5 development

Delays and dropped features notwithstanding, the release is "expansive," according to one analyst

Oracle has announced the availability of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 7, a release that brings new capabilities for HTML5-based application development to the framework.

HTML5 applications are easier to build with Java EE 7 through features such as "low-latency, bi-directional communication with WebSockets," data exchange via JSON and the ability to support more concurrent users, Oracle said on Wednesday.

Other aspects of Java EE 7 are aimed at performance and scalability. For example, batch jobs can be divided into "manageable chunks," giving OLTP (online transaction processing) applications uninterrupted performance, Oracle said.

Oracle gained control of Java through the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. That move had some community members initially concerned about Oracle's stewardship of Java, although those fears subsequently seemed to die down.

Java EE 7 is supported for use in the NetBeans IDE (integrated development environment) version 7.3.1 as well as "early builds" of Eclipse Kepler, Oracle said. Oracle is also offering training for developers on Java EE 7.

Wednesday's announcement didn't mention some of the bumps in the road Java EE 7 faced during the development process. One long-desired caching feature ended up slipping until Java EE 8.

Oracle had also planned to build a number of features for cloud computing and PaaS (platform as a service) into Java EE 7, but subsequently decided to push them off to Java EE 8, saying that including them would delay the release of EE 7 until 2014.

Nonetheless, Java EE 7 is "one of the most expansive" releases of the framework in its history, despite the fact that Oracle "went through a bit of a learning curve," IDC analyst Al Hilwa said via email.

"Java EE7 brings this widely used enterprise framework to the modern age of HTML5 and also brings significant improvement in developer productivity that will have windfalls in code quality," Hilwa said. "In this age of the polyglot programmer, Java EE will allow Java to remain one of the most widely deployed technologies for server applications on the planet."

Executives from Oracle and other companies are expected to discuss the launch further during a webcast event later Wednesday.

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