Sun Microsystems Inc and Netscape Communications Corp yesterday began shipping a developer’s version of their Java Foundation Classes (JFC), a set of Java services and components for building applications. JFC is based upon Sun’s Abstract windowing Toolkit (AWT) and Internet Foundation Classes (IFC). IBM Corp and Apple Computer Inc have also contributed some technology and offered their support. Sun insisted that yesterday’s announcement was bang on schedule, but its roadmap at JavaOne said the full release would ship by late summer, yesterday it was pushed back to the year-end, when it will be part of the 1.2 version of Java Developer’s Kit (JDK), now due around the same time. JFC comprises foundation services, such as printing and delegation event modeling, and a set of Java components, including such stuff as tables, toolbars and font choosing. JDK 1.2 will include such things as cross-platform drag and drop, keyboard navigation, and 2D graphics. JFC is a core part of Java that all licensees must maintain. As well as the four companies at the heart of the effort, Sun also convened an advisory council in June comprising 50 companies, mostly developers to get feedback on the direction of the JFCs. Microsoft Corp was among the 50. The JFCs can support any components that are compatible with JavaBeans. It is still early days yet, and some developers on the call expressed frustration at having to wait until the year-end’s release with JDK 1.2 for Java native code elements such as full printing services – the class at the moment only deals with rendering the text and graphics on the page, rather than printing mechanics. It also appears that developers who were using Netscape Internet Foundation Classes will have to do a fair amount of work according to one executive to make the transition to JFC, including new tools, training and documentation that Sun is developing. There will be monthly updates to the classes.