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This paper analyses the functional aspects and compares the performance differences of most commonly used distributed application development approaches in Java (Sockets, RMI, HTTP Servlet, CORBA, and RMIIIOP), XML-RPC and Web services (JAX-WS). Performance data was obtained for these approaches based on test results for simple data types under different scenarios, namely, local, remote and remote through firewalls. Overhead analysis has been done to identify root causes of performance overheads. Performance results can be used to make appropriate choices for developing and optimizing mechanisms to large scale distributed computing systems in Java and web services environments. The paper contributes to the overall understanding of different distributed application development approaches in Java that involves simple data types in different circumstances like local, remote, remote over firewalls.