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Tip of the Day
Language: Java Language
Expertise: Beginner
Jan 10, 2000

JDK Editions

Question:
When I go to download the Sun JDK, I see there's an Enterprise Edition, and a Developer Edition, as well as a Standard Edition. What are the differences between all of these editions?

Answer:
Sun has reorganized the Java Platform into 3 distinct editions: Java 2 Standard Edition, Java 2 Enterprise Edition, and Java 2 Micro Edition. There is no developer edition, per se, but you are probably referring to the different Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Software Development Kit (Java SDK) editions.

The JRE is provided for distribution with applications that will work out of the box without requiring an end-user to download a JVM. Therefore the JRE does not include a compiler or other development software. The Java SDK is intended for use by developers and provides all the necessary compilers, libraries, and other software required to develop Java applications. There is also a Source Edition of the Java 2 SDK, which is intended for developers. It isn't really a separate branch of the Java Platform; it simply contains the source code for the Java 2 SDK.

As its name suggests, Java 2 Standard Edition is the standard Java platform. It includes all the necessary runtimes and APIs for developing most enterprise desktop and server applications. However, it does not include some key APIs such as the Servlet and JSP APIs. These APIs can always be added on top of the Standard Edition, but are not included by default. Java 2 Enterprise Edition adds APIs focused specifically on the development of server-side enterprise applications., including Enterprise JavaBeans, Servlets, JSP, JNDI, JavaMail, and RMI-IIOP.

The Enterprise Edition SDK ships with a version of the HotSpot JIT optimized for the server. A client version of HotSpot ships with the Standard Edition 1.3 SDK.

The Micro Edition of the Java 2 Platform strips down Java to run on small consumer devices, ranging from smart cards and cell phones to set-top boxes. Consumer devices do not have the storage capacity or processing power to accommodate the other editions of the Java 2 Platform. They also do not require the functionality provided by many of the extra APIs.

The existence of different editions and an SDK for each edition can also lead to confusion. It helps to remember that the various Java editions comprise different specifications, and that the SDKs are reference implementations of those specifications.

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