The Apache Software Foundation on Tuesday is making Apache Pivot, a platform for building rich Internet applications in Java, an Apache Top-Level Project and also is releasing version 1.4 of the technology, the organization said Tuesday.

Pivot combines productivity and usability features of a modern RIA toolkit with the Java platform, according to Apache. Pivot applications, according to the foundation, are written using Java and XML and can be run either as an applet or as a standalone (or offline) desktop application.

"Users have much higher expectations for web applications now than they did 10 years ago," said Greg Brown, chair of the Apache Pivot Project Management Committee (PMC) and principal consultant at Cantina Consulting, in a statement released by Apache. "This is why we're seeing tools like [Adobe] Flex and [Microsoft] Silverlight beginning to gain traction; however, both of these require developers who are otherwise happy using Java to switch technologies. Pivot is an attempt to create a modern, rich client development platform in Java."

Pivot offers standard user interface elements including buttons, an editable tree, and table controls. Also featured is an XML markup language for declaring the structure of a user interface, data binding, animated effects and transitions and web services integration.

Apache Pivot 1.4 is offered under the Apache Software License v2.0 and is available for download.