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3.4 J2EE Versions and Evolution

Java's momentum has moved it from a niche programming language into a mainstream language that is robust enough for a spectrum of applications from scientific to business. Java's object-based environment allows the fundamental language to remain relatively stable with extensions coming in platform technologies, such as those defined in J2EE. Developers and vendors fulfilling these technology specifications with best-of-breed implementations have arguably formed a so-called critical mass. There is no reason why this momentum should not continue; new versions of current technologies along with new technologies will continue to augment the J2EE technology platform. Already, a single J2EE version increment from 1.3 to 1.4 has introduced Web services technology and XML support.

What does this mean to the Java developer? One point of view is that change in designs and APIs leads to a maintenance nightmare. Another, more optimistic view, is that smaller development cycles will result in more stable and robust software. Developers can protect themselves from API creep through consistency, generalization, and the application of design patterns. This book will not only describe how these technologies are used, specifically with IBM WebSphere, but will provide patterns that can be used to implement these technologies in a malleable way.

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