Application developers have been given several new options with Sun updating J2SE, Borland doing the same for its Corba suite, and Compuware announcing new products to work with Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 toolbox.

Version 5.0 of J2SE means easier development and greater support for multiple desktop clients. It should start arriving in products, such as new Java virtual machines, in about six months. Version 5.0 of J2EE is being prepared to take advantage of J2SE 5.0's features.

J2SE 5.0 supports several new features aimed at speeding up coding and making it more secure. Autoboxing, for instance, allows integers to be converted into objects. It has also extended the "for loop" function to make it easier to work with collections of items or arrays of objects.

It supports management of Java applications and Java virtual machines through management consoles using SNMP and JMX. "For the first time ever, you could monitor if you're running out of memory," said Calvin Austin, J2SE 5.0 specification lead at Sun. "You couldn't do that before."

A new feature, called Ocean, provides a cross-platform look-and-feel for Java apps. Sun has also worked to reduce the start-up time in J2SE 5.0 and can automatically determine what machine someone is using.

Meanwhile, Borland announced Borland Enterprise Server 6.5 VisiBroker Edition - the company's infrastructure software for Corba. The new version features performance improvements of between 40 percent and 70 percent, the company claims.

Although Corba has taken a backseat to Web services in recent years, Borland is still seeing Corba growth, said Vince Taisipic, director of product management at Borland.

Compuware, meanwhile, is updating its DevPartner Studio to work better with Microsoft's upcoming Visual Studio 2005. The new release, available next year, will give code hints and advice.

A planned security analysis product, as yet unnamed, will provide static source-code analysis for security holes. A third product, also unnamed, will simulate common error conditions such as lack of memory, and network disconnections.