Microsoft, viewed as a major competitor to SunSoft in the Java arena, was not invited to JavaOne but chose this week to announce some new Java tools of their own.

Microsoft has released a preview version of the SDK for Java 2.0, which features support for the Application Foundation Classes (AFC). AFC allows developers to add toolbars, tabbed dialog boxes, tree controls, and other UI elements to their Java apps using pre-built, reusable components. Additionally, Microsoft has released a new Java Virtual Machine that supports Sun's JDK 1.1, Java Beans, ActiveX, a new AWT, and better support for international applications. The new SDK, which includes the new JVM, is available now at the Microsoft Java Web site.

The company has also created a new program that provides technical and marketing assistance to independent developers called J/Advantage. This program includes online discussions with Microsoft's Java team, early access to new versions of the Microsoft SDK for Java, and other market opportunities. Microsoft has created a J/Advantage Web site.

Finally, Microsoft has released a new white paper detailing their Java strategy. According to Microsoft, the company is making a comprehensive, end-to-end investment in Java support to provide developers with the freedom to choose how they use Java in their development efforts. We have made a copy available for download (57K) at the Internet Nexus Web site but you can also download it from the Microsoft Java Web site