BEA has bought Java tools maker SolarMetric for an undisclosed sum.

SolarMetric is an early supporter of the EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) 3.0 spec, which aims to simplify Java development by enabling developers to work with reusable code components.

Its flagship product is Kodo, a persistence engine that uses the JDO (Java Data Objects) spec and helps developers store transient objects like ticket reservations or online shopping carts, preventing session time-outs.

BEA will incorporate the Kodo engine into its next major WebLogic Server release, due in late 2006. BEA also plans to introduce EJB 3.0 support soon in its WebLogic Workshop line of developer software.

"This puts us in a nice position to start going after the Oracle and WebSphere deployments that are out there in the marketplace," said BEA's marketing head Marge Breya.

According to Current Analysis analyst Shawn Willett, the main benefit to BEA of buying SolarMetric is that it gets them into the EJB 3.0 community, where Oracle and JBoss are already staking claims. "At this stage, this is kind of a niche market, but BEA needed to get developer attention," Willett said. "People are just kind of playing around with EJB 3 right now, but it's going to be important, and BEA needed to get in the mix."