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Java SE 6: what’s in a name?

    Kevin Yank

    Sun has finally made a sensible decision when it comes to the naming of Java. To see how unprecedented this is, let’s stop for a quick history lesson.

    In 1996, there was Java 1.0. A year later, we got Java 1.1. Then at the end of 1998 Java 1.2 came along, but Sun’s marketing brains belatedly decided it was worthy of a whole new version number, so it was renamed after release to Java 2 version 1.2.

    By the end of 2000, Java had been split into three segments: Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) version 1.3, for desktop application development; Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), which extended J2SE to building enterprise apps (including Web sites); and Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), a stripped-down version of Java for building applications for mobile and embedded devices.

    J2SE 1.4 came out in 2002, and then in 2004 we got J2SE 1.5. Once again, Sun’s marketing department stepped in at the last moment and gave it a new version number: Java 2 Standard Edition 5.0, version 1.5. It it weren’t true, it would be unbelievable.

    This week at the JavaOne conference, Sun announced a new naming scheme for Java. Not only is it sensible for once, but it’s also being announced well in advance of the first release to which it will apply.

    The next desktop version of Java will be called Java Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6 for short). Similarly, we will have Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) and Java Mobile Edition (Java ME).

    Sun is not endorsing the three letter abbreviations JSE, JEE, and JME that suggest themselves, but I have no doubt they will find a place in common parlance regardless.

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