Unleashing the Power of J2ME
By C. Enrique Ortiz
August 1, 2001 —
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As more and more companies look to implement a wireless strategy, choosing the right approach is crucial. In the world of wireless, selecting the right approach means selecting the right platform. A clear, pervasive standard has yet to establish itself in the wireless world. Several players have been vying for the top spot, yet no one has clearly prevailed. There is one platform, however, that is gathering strength in Japan, Europe and now in the U.S. When evaluating a wireless initiative, it is important to recognize this sleeping giant: Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Micro Edition, more widely known as J2ME.
J2ME, as the Java platform specifically designed for portable computing, allows for the creation of a new breed of mobile applications known as "thick clients," an environment for mobile enterprise-class applications. These applications provide sophisticated navigation, enhancing the mobile user experience. Interaction time is much faster with J2ME applications, as it uses bandwidth efficiently. These features, combined with J2ME's scalability and device compatibility, greatly enhance the user experience, giving J2ME the capability of transforming wireless computing in the enterprise, ultimately propelling the wireless world into the next generation of advanced mobile computing.
In order to establish the foundation for this next generation, technology managers must evaluate the mobile need within their enterprise. The first step of a wireless development effort is choosing applications that are most valuable to the enterprise. Do employees need remote access to expense reporting? Is there a need for a mobile sales force automation application? Once the applications are selected, the evaluated mobile vision can be converted into reality. With J2ME, thick-client applications can be created to custom-fit the company's needs. In addition, because of its portable platform, which enables write-once, deploy-anywhere applications, J2ME is easily scalable to meet any enterprise's needs.
Scalability is just one of the many benefits that position J2ME as a front-runner in the race for a mobile standard. Perhaps its biggest attribute is that J2ME applications are stored right on the device, allowing for stand-alone offline applications. Users can compute on a mobile device using the Java-based applications, even when the user may be out of a coverage area or the device may not be connected. For example, a mobile user with a J2ME expense reporting application could work on an expense report using a cell phone without being connected to the server. This enables users to work on corporate data without burning precious airtime minutes, making this mobile solution cost effective.