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January 13, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:59pm

JAVASOFT STILL SHY OF JAVA STANDARD PLAN

By CBR Staff Writer

The ISO International Organization for Standards’ Java study group duly met last week to review Java and a bunch of other internet technologies, including ActiveX, ANDF, the Java Platform, JavaScript and NetRexx. As anticipated, no formal action was taken, however the next step will be to move to a ‘real discussion’ about Java standardization, if that’s what they [Sun/JavaSoft] want to do, a spokesman for the group said. Publicly, at least they have no plan yet, he said. One previously discussed route had been to take Java to the ECMA European Computer Manufacturer’s Association’s April meet and use James Gosling’s Java book as the spec. However, whatever game plan JavaSoft may have in mind as far as standardizing Java goes doesn’t appear to have been acted on yet, leaving some folk to whisper about indecision. Furthermore ECMA doesn’t expect the issue to be raised at this week’s meeting of its recently-created TC 39 Java scripting technical committee, the purpose of which is to review a proposed specification for a standard Java scripting which will be fully interoperable with other non-Sun implementations such as those from Microsoft and Borland (CI No 3,050). Key question remains what they will call the thing, as the Java name is supposedly off-limits. ECMAscript, as the spec is currently dubbed, was proposed only as a placeholder, the thinking being that the word was so ugly there’d be a rash of other suggestions. We understand, however, that ECMA has now asked Sun if it can use JavaScript but hasn’t had a reply. Sun director of standards Gary Robinson is chairman of TC 39. ECMA hopes that following the initial TC 39 meet, which was packed with management – 28 people from 12 companies – this week’s gathering will be of the engineering persuasion. Microsoft, by the way, has joined ECMA, a little bit of a surprise since ECMA tried to make a renegade Windows specification a standard last year. However Redmond’s immediate motive is the JavaScript standardization effort into which Microsoft has kicked its rendition, JScript. Meantime, ISO’s Java study group has proposed to meet again in California in April and then in London at the end of June, if warranted by events, by which we take mean a plan from JavaSoft. On the back of the ISO SC22 language committee’s Java study group initiative, two other ISO concerns are seeking to incorporate the Java virtual machine specification in their standards; the SC24 graphics and virtual reality committee and SC29 multimedia group. We further understand that contrary to what we were originally led to believe, ISO cannot go ahead and standardize technology specifications without the approval of the owner, in this case Sun.

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