News and New Product Briefs (2/20/99)

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The contest ends on March 5, 1999, with winners to be announced at the X-Tech '99 conference in San Jose on March 9.

More than 5,000 developers have downloaded the XJ2 since its release in December 1998.

Prizes will be awarded for the:

  • Most Creative XML solution
  • Most Useful XML solution
  • "Sexiest" XSL stylesheet

Prizes include a Diamond Rio Portable MP3 Player for the winner in each category. The first 50 people to enter get a "Show Me the XML" T-shirt. Judges will be looking for originality, applicability, and quality.

Entry form:

Talarian SmartSockets 5.1 speeds enterprise development

Talarian announced SmartSockets 5.1, an upgrade to its publish-subscribe middleware system, which offers APIs and class libraries that enable rapid development of distributed systems. An implementation of IP Multicast and performance enhancements to the Java versions are the main additions to this update.

New features and enhancements to SmartSockets include:

  • Transparent support for the IP Multicast protocol to move systems toward zero latency. IP Multicast reduces transmission bandwidth and handles unknown and missing data (such as from a time series).

  • The ability to choose whether messages are sent across the network using Unicast or Multicast.

  • T 50 percent performance increase in the Java version over that last released version.

  • T Java class library that offers additional enhancements, such as object serialization.

  • The ability to seamlessly integrate with ActiveX products.

  • Unicode support.

SmartSockets 5.1 comes in Java or ActiveX versions, and supports local, DECnet, and TCP/IP network protocols. It runs on multiple Unix environments, as well as OpenVMS and Windows 95/NT.

Check with the company for pricing.

Oracle licenses Inprise VisiBroker for Oracle8i

Inprise announced that it has signed a worldwide, multimillion-dollar, multiyear licensing agreement with Oracle, in which Oracle will standardize the integration of Inprise VisiBroker's CORBA object request broker (ORB) technology into its products. So far, VisiBroker has been integrated into Oracle8i and the Oracle Application Server.

Oracle corporate development VP Matt Mosman said, "Cross-platform, enterprise standards such as Java and CORBA are a great benefit to Oracle customers. When evaluating CORBA object request brokers to integrate into our Oracle solutions, we found that Inprise VisiBroker provided superior ORB technology -- in terms of scalability, reliability, and adherence to the CORBA standard."

Financial terms were undisclosed.

The VisiBroker CORBA object request broker comes in two versions, one for Java and one for C++.

EC Cubed delivers new ecDataBuilder component for ecWorks

EC Cubed announced that ecDataBuilder, a component that can integrate data from diverse sources for rapid development of buyer- and seller-side e-commerce applications, has joined its ecWorks e-commerce product suite.

ecWorks -- a component-based application architecture that provides rapid applications development, enterprise-wide consistency of business rules, and quick response to changing business requirements -- consists of the following components:

  • ecProfiler for user authentication, authorization, and profile management
  • ecAdvisor for user notification of business events
  • ecWorkRouter for e-commerce process definition and routing
  • ecTradeMaker for business partner mediation and collaboration
  • and now, ecDataBuilder

ecDataBuilder uses flexible business objects and standard open APIs to let users manipulate data and define secure data transfer. This component provides data integration and business-process integration functionality to the suite.

ecDataBuilder provides out-of-the-box support for relational databases, XML, HTML, EDI, and flat files. Open interfaces allow users to customize the component so that it interacts with commercial ERP packages.

ecDataBuilder is currently in beta. License fees start at 25,000 for 50 users. All components in the suite run on any operating system that supports the JVM, use any JDBC-compliant relational database to store objects, and support WinFax PRO and HylaFax for fax notification.

Cerebellum offers database-independent app development platform

Cerebellum Software announced Cerebellum 1.2 -- software written in Java and featuring CORBA technology that provides a unique, single drag-and-drop GUI to create queries that access, integrate, and manage data from any source, at any location.

The Cerebellum IntellAgent server handles the agents that are used to generate queries for the data sources. These queries and ad hoc reports can be saved and reused, and the queries can be used to provide data access for a range of programs and applications, including spreadsheets, databases, and browsers.

The Cerebellum interface offers administrative features for managing users and security. It can access all major relational database-management systems (RDBMS) and support any ODBC-compliant data source. It can also access legacy systems, flat files, VSAMs, and mainframes.

Cerebellum also integrates with development tools, middleware, and report writers. The Cerebellum API supports Java and ActiveX development. Queries that access and integrate data into the single GUI can be used by Office, C, C++, Java, IDEs using Java, VBscript, and Web interfaces.

Cerebellum requires Java 2 (both the network servers and workstations). The network must support TCP/IP. Developers can trial Cerebellum for 30 days. Check with the company for pricing.

IBM DAT tests distributed Java

IBM alphaWorks recently released an alpha version of the Distributed Application Tester (DAT) Java-based software that lets developers test the performance and reliability of Web-based distributed applications.

DAT lets developers plan, debug, and test applications running across multiple systems and platforms, whether in a server, client, or browser.

DAT provides a framework for testing automated regression, scalability, and performance of componentized e-business applications from design through deployment. It creates a test case (a record of HTTP and SSL/HTTP traffic between Web server and browser or client applications), then executes a function test that replays requests one by one and checks the received responses against original recorded responses.

After passing the automated function test, DAT simulates multiple concurrent Web clients to test the application's functionality and response time under a heavy workload.

DAT supports multiple Internet protocols, including HTTP, SSL, cookies, JavaScript, applets, CGI, and servlets. Third-party protocol support can be easily enabled.

DAT is available for free for Window 95/NT.

Zat offers non-programmer Java servlet tool

Zat announced a preview release of Spin, an authoring tool for Java server- and client-side applications for non-programmers.

Spin uses Java as a scripting language. With it, non-programmers get the simplicity of authoring tools with a programming language, enabling them to build custom JavaBean components and integrate them into applications.

In Spin, users work with components called "actors" (arbitrary JavaBean components); they define "behavior" for the actors. The actor/behavior combination is contained in a "capsule," a higher-level object that contains one or more components. Capsules can be nested, or contain other capsules.

Spin comes with an interactive editing mode for the client side of an application that allows users to see the effect of an editing change immediately. Users can set breakpoints on the server side of an application, allowing them to single-step through the executing application.

Spin includes an integrated Web-application server, useful for authoring and debugging server-side applets.

Spin Developer Preview Release costs 95 and is available in limited quantities (purchasers get a free upgrade to version 1.0 when it ships in late Summer 1999). Spin 1.0 is expected to cost ,495. It runs on the Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 platforms. Spin-generated applications run on any operating system with a JVM.

Uniscape's multilingual data-analysis tool family

Uniscape intends to introduce a series of multilingual data-analysis tools that let business managers analyze data regardless of the original language of the data. In other words, a manager could query three data marts, each with applications in different languages, and have the results returned to him in his language of choice.

NetDialect is the first component of the series. It is a Web-enabled version of the Uniscape's existing language-translation tool, Dialect. Using a scalable Oracle database, Dialect remembers what has been translated. The next project or document is automatically populated with the translated strings. With each new translation, the global translation memory grows and costs come down.

In Spring 1999, Uniscape plans to launch the main product, Global Vision. It should enable developers to build 38KB multilingual data-mart applications in Java. Global Vision is the business intelligence application that enables corporations to analyze multilingual data in any language and currency of choice. Global Vision lets users slice and dice global data with no regard for its original language or currency.

NetDialect starts at 0,000.

Other prices were not available online as of press time; a note onsite mentioned that prices would be available online sometime in February 1999.



Global Vision:

RCI compressed HTML speeds data transfer

Remote Communications Inc. (RCI) announced the beta of HyperSpace data-compression software, an application that compresses HTML files, speeding their transfer.

HyperSpace data-compression software lets users create Compressed HTML files that can be transferred 60 to 70 percent faster across networks, according to company officials.

HyperSpace compresses an existing HTML document (offline) using RCI JO compressor, stores it on the Web server, and then processes the request by the client's browser by embedding the Compressed HTML document inside an HTML document which is only a few lines of HTML code. This technique eliminates the need for the Web server and the browser to recognize another MIME extension.

The JO compiler converts and compresses executable files (EXE) into Compressed HTML documents. It can be modified to accept shell commands.

The resulting Compressed HTML document is smaller, so transmission bandwidth is reduced. Also, Java source code can now be compressed, too, speeding delivery to the client-side JVM.

The Compressed HTML protocol:

  • Is extensible
  • Works with e-mail documents
  • Can be encrypted after compression
  • Is compatible with Navigator and IE versions 4.x and up

Compressed HTML protocol documents are compatible with DHTML and XML.

The JO compressor runs under Windows 95/98/NT, many flavors of Unix, and Linux. It supports the Apache and NT Web servers, and can run on Soft PC and Virtual PC on the Mac. A full version is expected soon. build virtual campus with Pervasive Tango

Pervasive Software announced that chose its Tango Web-application software to build and deploy a virtual campus that college and high-school students can use to conduct their research, search for schools and scholarships, open a free e-mail account, chat with other students, and play interactive games based on assigned course materials.

Tango is an integrated environment of intuitive, visual Web-development tools that provides cross-platform development support for Windows or Mac OS. Features include:

  • The Tango Development Studio
  • The scalable, high-performance Application Server
  • Team-based development utilities, such as source-code control mechanisms
  • Cross-platform deployment on Windows 95/98/NT, Solaris, AIX, and Mac OS
  • Support for such presentation protocols as HTML, XML, XSL, CSS, JavaScript, and Java applets
  • Native Oracle support and bundled ODBC drivers
  • Online tutorials, demos, and sample code
  • The Pervasive.SQL database (bundled with Windows versions)
  • A downloadable 30-day evaluation copy

The Tango Development Studio is a visual programming environment designed for prototyping and developing Web applications, with a visual drag-and-drop editor that allows developers to partition an application, as well as control its logic and flow, as it is created.

Tango partitions the three principal layers of logic in a Web application -- the business rules (to bind back-end data systems with UI elements); back-end interaction (databases and legacy applications containing the managed data); and the user interface design.

Tango incorporates Netscape's JavaScript engine, and can be easily integrated with Java applets, classes, and beans into an application. The editor integrates with a wide range of back-end corporate information systems, such as databases, mainframes, and other servers.

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