BEA Service Aims to Ease XML-Java Fusion

BEA Systems Monday took the wraps off of a free service to make the inclusion of XML into Java easier.

With XMLBeans, San Jose, Calif.’s BEA said it is working to create a common framework for business process modeling, application development and J2EE development.

Not only will this make it easier for Java developers to create XML-based applications that employ XML, but the developers will be able to to focus their time on other pressing development projects. XMLBeans turns XML code into Java to pave the way for developers to create Java-based applications with XML.

BEA said it created the service to help assuage the tricky practice of getting XML to function with Java, which is important as more and more Web services applications are relying on XML because it works across operating platforms and programming languages. Many organizations are making hefty investments in XML data and information exchange because of XML’s interoperability.

“Customary approaches to incorporating XML data with Java, such as using traditional DOM or SAX, are difficult and time-consuming,” the company said in a statement. “Other approaches to connecting Java data models and XML often result in a loss of data due to the fundamental differences between the two languages. This requires developers to re-code information and create custom linkages.”

XMLBeans, according to BEA, treats developers to a Java object-based view of XML data. XMLBeans lets programmers preserve the fidelity of raw XML data, while benefiting from the flexibility Java provides.

Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst for XML and Web services research firm ZapThink described the significance of BEA’s announcement as a acknowledgement that XML and Java integration are tough tasks worthy of addressing.

“It is clear that BEA realizes that working with XML in Java is not particularly optimal today. This is also the case in trying to shoe-horn XML in other object-oriented or procedural languages,” Schmelzer said. “What is interesting is that XML is viewed differently from different developer perspectives: programmers think of XML documents as objects and database designers think of XML as data sets. Each of these views is incorrect, which results in lots of shoe-horning in trying to get their respective developer environments to work with XML.”

Schmelzer discussed some forward-looking possibilities: “While this step by BEA is no doubt needed to help smooth the integration of XML with Java (wasn’t the JAX Pack supposed to do this?), it is quite possible a new language might be needed to deal with the document-oriented nature of XML. That’s why there are all these rumors about X#. However, BEA has a lot to gain if Java remains the primary development platform of choice for XML and Web Services, so they would rather smooth out the problems than necessitate a move to a new development environment.”