A 'fiasco' for some
But as vendors began testing their products, they found not only problems with their own code, as intended, but also bugs in the reference implementation and the tests.
"It's a fiasco," says Robert Bickel, executive vice president for Bluestone Software, a Philadelphia application server vendor.
"We wasted three weeks on just a couple of issues," Bickel says.
According to Sun, one issue had to do with transactions that involve two or more databases, a feature that is an opptional part of the current J2EE Version 1.2 specification. Initially, there were no software drivers available for these distributed transactions, says Karen Tegan, Sun's software engineering manager for J2EE. Bluestone added distributed transactions to its product and then found that Sun's tests could not verify key parts of this type of transaction.
"Now there are drivers available, and we're working on a patch for these tests," Tegan says.
In general, Tegan says, if flawed tests are found that have a major impact on application portability or affected vital areas, engineers scramble to write and release repairs, often in a just a few days. Otherwise, flawed tests are put on the exclusion list. All J2EE licensees can ignore tests on this list.
Other vendors reported minor and manageable problems, and praised Sun's responsiveness.
"I think anyone who expects that any company can produce this amount of code [in the reference implementation and test suite] that's bug free, is dreaming," says Loren Corbridge, a product manager at Sybase.
"We did find some flaws in the tests. We reported them, and most of them were patched," Corbridge says.