What's the Difference: Java EE SDK, Sun AS 9 PE, GlassFish and RI

We have just released Java EE 5 SDK Preview and Sun Java System Application Server 9 PE Beta! It also comes with IDE support via the NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 Preview.

For those of you who have been following GlassFish, you might be wondering what is the relationship between the SDK, Sun App Server PE, RI and GlassFish. Let me summarize the differences here.

  • GlassFish is an open source community with the goal of building a Java EE 5 based application server and related technologies.
  • Sun App Server 9 PE is a free, certified, deployable and supported application server product. It is based on the source code from GlassFish.
  • Java EE 5 SDK includes the same Sun App Server 9 PE, as well as J2SE 5.0, samples and Java EE 5 API documentation. It saves you from downloading the other pieces separately. One analogy I like to draw is Java Development Kit (JDK) vs. Java Runtime Environment (JRE).
  • Java EE 5 RI is a deliverable mostly for our Java EE 5 licensees. It is also based on the source code from GlassFish.
As you can see, GlassFish, PE and RI are all derived from the same code base and pretty much provide the same features and functionality. So which one should you use? I have created a table to help you decide.


Sun App Server PE (now called Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server) GlassFish Java EE RI
Target Audience
Business, developers and users who need a stable, certified and supported application server Developers who want early access to the latest builds in application server technology Java EE licensees
Release Frequency
Approximately 12-18 months for FCS release. More frequent Beta and Update releases available.
Continuous nightly builds and weekly promoted builds Coincide with Java EE Platform revision
Certification
Certified on many platforms, databases and tools
None. Community support only
Certified on many platforms, databases and tools
Support
Product support can be purchased. Community support via forums.
Community support only
Licensee support available
Training
Product training available
Not available currently Licensee events available
Maintenance and Updates
Patches and updates available
Fixes may be available in newer builds
Patches and updates available
Price
Free download
Free download
To become a licensee, contact Sun
Comments:

Thanks tony for writing down the crisp differences between GlassFish, SJSAS and RI. This is very useful. Often people ask this question and there is no standard answer before this blog. </br>

Posted by sankar on February 21, 2006 at 02:34 AM PST #

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