The latest version of the Java Platform, Standard Edition, was formally released yesterday (Dec. 11). It would be fair to call this iteration evolutionary, not revolutionary. I can’t think of any “must-have” additions to the platform, but overall, there are a number of incremental upgrades wrapped into the package.

As BEA’s Bill Roth wrote, “First, XML processing, via JAXP and JAXB are now standard.” Also, Java 6 standardized the annotation processing API, and improves support for dynamic languages. That’s potential huge, given the interest in running languages like the JCP’s own Groovy, as well as JavaScript and Ruby, within the JVM.

There are a number of other enhancements as well to JSR-270, which is the umbrella Java service request for Java SE 6, which had been code-named “Mustang.” A big one, but which hasn’t been discussed much, is JDBC 4.0, which makes it easier for developers to associate SQL queries with class representations.

Also very significant (although not part of the JSR) is that Sun is including Apache Derby, a Java database, as part of its own JDK for Java SE 6. This move will cement Derby’s status as the de facto standard Java database.

Alex Handy talks about some other changes, such as its integration with Solaris’ DTrace functionality, in an SD Times news story.

Again: Java 6 isn’t revolutionary, but in regards to the database and scripting language support, it’s significant.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick