Sun: Mobile development tool heals fragmentation

Company releases source code for Java ME-based Lightweight UI Toolkit

Sun Microsystems on Thursday is releasing source code for the Java ME-based (Micro Edition) Lightweight UI Toolkit (LWUIT), a move intended to address fragmentation in the mobile development space.

Offered under the GPLv2 (GNU General Public License) with Classpath Exception license, LWUIT provides a UI library for developing mobile applications to run across Java ME devices, according to Sun. Featured are graphical components and support for themes, fonts, animation, and transition effects.

With LWUIT, developers can provide rich, portable interfaces for applications, a capability that has been requested for a long time, said Craig Gering, Sun senior director of embedded Java software, in a statement released on a Sun Web page.

"This software also will help address the mobile industry's fragmentation issue by enabling developers to create a single interface that will work anywhere Java is found," Gering said.

Sun had discussed LWUIT at the JavaOne conference in San Francisco in May. LWUIT enables Java ME to be taken to the "next level," said Terrence Barr, Sun senior technologist, in his blog.

"Its real strength is in providing a rich framework that developers can easily build upon, optimize, collaborate around, and then deploy on billions of devices," Barr said. "In this way LWUIT is becoming a unifying UI layer that allows developers to focus on creating compelling user interfaces and ultimately delivering new and engaging applications across a wide range of platforms."

LWUIT features Swing-like Model View Controller capabilities, 3D integration, widgets, visual components, and other functionalities.

The license selected for the project offers benefits of open source innovation and collaborative development while enabling risk-free adoption by commercial projects, Barr said. The Classpath option enables linking of an application available under any license to a library that is part of GPLv2-licensed software, without the need to then offer that application to the public under the GPL. Sun also open-sourced Java under GPL with the Classpath exception.

A source code repository also is available for LWUIT.

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