Mobile Vendors Aim for Common Java Framework

A new push is on by some of the biggest names in mobile to make it easier for Java/J2ME architects and devs to design, deploy, develop and manage mobile apps. See how the two latest JSRs (248 and 249), along with nearly a dozen wireless device and infrastructure providers, including Sun, are looking to chip away at Java mobile complexities.

Tags: Mobile, Java, JSRs, Specifications, Mobile Apps, Java/J2ME Mobile, Support,

IDN Executive Overview
Among topics covered in this article are:

  • A look at how mobile handset and software providers are working together to devise a more flexible Java framework to better support write once/run anywhere for mobile apps;
  • Details on proposed changes to Java (via JSRs 248 and 249) will also enable "live" software management, downloads and upgrades;
  • Review of vendor growing vendor support, and prospects for changes in 2005.

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    by Integration Developer News staff
    A new push is on for a smarter, less finicky Java mobile architecture -- with the goal of making it easier for Java/J2ME architects and devs to design, deploy, develop and manage mobile apps.

    With an eye toward a 2005 launch of a simpler, more flexible mobile framework for Java/J2ME apps, Nokia and Vodafone have submitted two (2) two JSRs (Java Specification Requests) to the Java Community Process. The two JSRs (248 and 249) aim to attack some of the most vexing parts of building J2ME/.Java mobile apps, including:

    • Reducing the device-specific nature of J2ME/Java apps, making it easier for devs to write-once/run on multiple devices; and
    • Improving remote capabilities, with an eye toward providing the ability to support over-the-air "live" management and software upgrades;

      The work has attracted a group of leading Java/J2ME mobile infrastructure and device makers, including Orange, Siemens, Sony Ericsson and Sun, many of whom may formally join the effort this fall. "The application platforms built on these specifications will enable new business opportunities for operators, enterprises, service providers, and device manufacturers," the group said, especially noting the steps toward lowering barriers to 3G development.

      Inside the Proposed Mobile JSRs
      In an encouraging sign of imminent change, the new JSRs don't look like they will require any heavy lifting (or heavy modifications) of current Java mobile specs or APIs.

      "JSRs 248 and 249 will not introduce any new API specifications, but will include a number of new component JSRs and clarifications to existing specifications to define a consistent Java API services architecture," the group said in a statement. "This will enable application compatibility across multi-vendor mobile devices." Nokia and Vodafone will define the licensing framework of the initiative. Sun will also create and license the Technology Compatibility Kits (TCKs) and a reference implementation for JSR 248 and 249, according to Sun VP Alan Brenner.

      Nokia CTO Pertti Korhonen explained the effort this way: "[This] provides enterprises and service providers with unparalleled end-to-end management capabilities. In addition, it offers application developers the best and fastest opportunity to leverage their Java-based solutions in volumes and also lets them fully exploit the great performance of Java-enabled smart phones."

      The objectives and responsibilities of the initiative will be aligned and coordinated with existing mobile groups, such as the OSGi Alliance, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), the Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) -- and even the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). The new Java specs will also be backward compatible with MIDP.

      At least one analyst is optimistic that the spec changes afoot will finally jumpstart Java/J2ME mobile development. The Yankee Group's senior wireless/mobile analyst John Jackson, said the following:

      "This initiative extends the foundation of JTWI [Java Technology for the Wireless Industry], taking important steps to align the CLDC [Connected Limited Device Configuration] and CDC [Connected Device Configuration] platform specifications and their future evolution under a simplified licensing structure."

      Jackson further stated, "With the support of leading industry players in the mobile Java value-chain, this initiative should offer greater consistency and continuity to developers and end users. It's a significant step toward accelerating the development and distribution of more robust mobile applications."