What are JavaBeans?

Answer: Java software components which require JDK 1.1

   Components give speed and reliability
   Code reuse ~ save time and money
   Plug and play (using methods and events)
   Glue (horizontal and vertical)
   Intranets are a major IS investment
   Components must welcome 'the legacy'


© Cherwell Scientific Publishing 1998

The JavaBeans concept is at the top level, very simple. In a sentence: Beans are a way of delivering Java in a component framework 'Beans means Java components'. That is all there is to it. The complications come with the implementation and the detail, but remember the basic idea is very simple and quite compelling. If we think of software components as being pieces of code which you can plug together 'lego-like' to make a complex application, the advantage of a Java component technology is that you should be able to plug the pieces together and they should be able to be deployed on any network that supports the Java Virtual Machine. This is where the key feature of Java comes in --  when you have finished you would expect the resulting applets or applications to run at any arbitrary point on the network using resources which could be invoked from wherever else they may be found. It is the Java-based network-orientation of JavaBeans that makes this component technology very promising for intranet development.

We sometimes present ChemSymphony Beans as 'glue' for building chemistry intranets. Chemistry is the vertical market for which ChemSymphony is tuned, but a component technology is much more useful if there are lots of 'horizontal' components which can be connected from neighbouring domains (scientific, organisational or financial). So far as we are able, ChemSymphony will adhere to standards which are not specific to chemistry or science but come from the overall IT industry. It is also a puzzling point about Java and JavaBeans that these new techniques are in fact rather 'friendly' to legacy applications and database resources.