News and New Product Briefs (5/05/99)

HP surrenders Java benchmark to independent party

Hewlett-Packard has turned over the Java E-Business Transactional Benchmark, or JETMark, to Netroscope, an independent consulting concern, as a way of eliminating the appearance of bias.

HP co-developed JETMark with Vision Software Tools of Oakland, CA. JETMark measures the number of electronic transactions processed per hour for various combinations of Java software and hardware environments. The tests simulate typical Web-based order-entry transactions among a client, application server, and database, regardless of whether the environment is relational, ERP-based, legacy-based, or mixed.

JETMark consists of the following components:

  • JETMark Test Harness, a framework that creates arbitrary or customized combination of workloads that includes reading information, inserting orders, changing orders, or removing orders
  • Java E-Commerce Server, a combination of the software/hardware (including specified business logic) being measured for the transaction workload
  • Commercial RDBMS, a data repository that acts as a high-performance back-end processor required for an n-tier application

Netroscope officials said that vendors would pay for the tests, then decide whether they wanted the results to remain private or released by Netroscope. IT departments would get results gratis.

HP's move is intended to provide more credible testing of Java e-commerce applications, according to company officials. Susan Henson, HP's Java program manager, said, "We are acting as a catalyst to move this benchmark forward and to have it become independent, so customers can have a yardstick they dearly need today to measure their commerce environments."

Look for the first JETMark results on products late in May 1999 on the Netroscope site.

Glance at Painted Word's Eyeball spreadsheet component

Painted Word announced the Eyeball Spreadsheet Bean, a visual development, Web-deployable Java spreadsheet component for OLAP that can perform a full ad hoc analysis on multidimensional data, format and print reports, and export to Excel.

Besides its ability to perform ad hoc analysis of multidimensional data, Eyeball uses its common spreadsheet interface to provide a full-featured spreadsheet with the expected calculation, cell-level formatting, and printing capabilities. It uses the familiar pull-down menus and mouse clicks to access and navigate databases, and it supports importing and exporting to Excel.

Other Eyeball features include:

  • The Painted Word Mocha Blend framework, which provides connectivity to such multidimensional data sources as Hyperion Essbase and IBM DB2 OLAP Server
  • Complete OLAP data navigation, including pivoting and drilling, remote lock and send, database calculation, and control over database-specific viewing and navigation options
  • Import and export filters from and to Microsoft Excel 5 and 7 workbooks
  • Rich cell formatting support
  • Full write-back capability, so Eyeball can be used for Web-based planning applications and user templates
  • Printing support, so remote users can print with complete fidelity to any printer on the network at full printer resolution
  • More than 150 worksheet functions and operators
  • Server-side deployment that lets Eyeball offer access to any Java 1.1-enabled client without additional software
  • The ability to export worksheets to HTML format for Web publishing

Painted Word's Mocha Blend Analytical Platform is an open, Internet standards-based framework and Java component suite designed to aid rapid development and deployment of Web-based analytical applications. The Eyeball Bean can be manipulated via the Mocha Beans, which are visual components including charts, outline trees, and member combo boxes.

The Eyeball Spreadsheet Bean should be prereleased in late May 1999; the company is currently recruiting participants for a beta program.

Nettaxi, offer multiplayer Java game

Nettaxi and announced a co-marketing agreement that brings access of's online games to Nettaxi's online community. (Nettaxi is an online community and portal Web site that draws more than 80 million page views per month. is the creator of BigNetwork Classic Games, a multiplayer Java game system that features instant click-and-play access.)

Nettaxi community members will get free access to a suite of games such as chess, checkers, backgammon, reversi, spades, and morph. They can interactively play these games in realtime with other community members, as well as with's 200,000 registered members.

Also, Nettaxi members will be able to embed Java-based games (and an interactive gaming environment) into their own Web sites.


Two new bean suites from alphaWorks

IBM's alphaWorks recently announced two new JavaBean suites -- one to internationalize applications and one to help developers handle multithreading.

The Multiple Language Suite includes MLButton, MLLabel, MLCheckbox, MLTextField, MLTextArea, MLList, and MLChoice beans. The beans in this suite support the display and input of different languages running on any platform, since the beans are independent of a specific language environment. In the current version, designed for JDK 1.1 and later, English and Chinese display is supported.

The Thread Bean Suite consists of VisualThread, ResourceLocker, and ThreadStatePrinter beans. These beans can be used in any application where a time-consuming task needs to be performed on different threads. For example, a laborious picture-processing operation can be split into four quarters with each quarter completed in a separate thread. This suite, designed for JDK 1.1 and later, handles the issue of thread safety for resources that may not be thread-safe, and also facilitates debugging by allowing a trace to be printed for each thread. These beans can be wired together in most visual builder tools.

Multiple Language suite:

Thread Bean suite:

IBM offers XML Security Suite

IBM's alphaWorks announced the XML Security Suite, which introduces such security features as digital signature, element-wise encryption, and access control to XML-based, Internet business-to-business transactions.

Running on Linux and Windows 95/98/NT platforms, the XML Security Suite offers more security with new features (digital signature, element-wise encryption, access control) that move beyond the capabilities of transport-level security protocols such as SSL.

This release provides reference implementations of DOMHASH (a possible digital signature source currently under consideration in the IETF and W3C), a proposed canonicalized digest value for XML document, and two sample applications.

IBM debuts XML for C++ library

IBM's alphaWorks announced the XML for C++ parser (XML4C), a single C++ shared library that provides classes for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents.

XML4C is a validating XML parser written in a portable subset of C++. It makes it fairly simple to deliver the ability to read and write XML data to an application. It can be used to construct Web servers that are compatible with XML standards and internationalized XML applications.

XML4C adheres to the XML 1.0 Recommendation and accompanying standards such as DOM 1.0 and SAX 1.0.

It runs on AIX and Windows NT, and comes with the parser, source code, samples, and API documentation.

Java Advanced Imaging API beta

The Java Developer Connection announced the beta reference port of the Java Advanced Imaging API (JAI), which extends Java by letting developers incorporate high-performance image processing into applets and applications.

The JAI API implements image-processing capabilities, such as image tiling, regions of interest, and deferred execution, and also provides a set of standard image-processing operators, including many common point, area, and frequency domain operators.

The JAI API is extendable to allow arbitrary processing capabilities, and it supports deferred execution, remote imaging, distributed imaging, and a wide range of image formats. It can be configured to implement in different ways, in order to balance the available memory, hardware acceleration, and optimization resources.

This beta includes a reference implementation for almost all of the functionality described in the specification. You will have to register to access this site.

Java performance report

Osvaldo Pinali Doederlein offers the Java Performance Report, a report designed to dive into performance results of various JVMs (and alternatives) to discover the level of efficiency of each one, as well as to determine the prominent characteristics of each to make it easier for developers to choose the one for certain types of operations.

According to Doederlein, though, benchmark numbers alone (which are easily obtained) are not enough. He notes that this report should offer more in-depth understanding of performance characteristics, including trade-offs, rationale, and consequences inherent in each design.

The report covers the following JVMs and configurations:

  • Sun JDK 1.0.2, no JIT
  • Sun JDK 1.1.7B, Symantec JIT 3.00.072b(x)
  • Sun JDK 1.2, Classic VM, Symantec JIT 3.00.078(x)
  • Microsoft SDK for Java 3.2/IE5, build 5.00.3167
  • IBM's version of JDK 1.1.7, build n117p-19990408 with its ibmjitc
  • Blackdown JDK 1.1.7 v1a, green threads (native is worse on uniprocessor machines), TYA JIT 1.2
  • Tower LLC's TowerJ (native compiler), assembling through Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0sp3 on Win32/gcc on Linux, and importing JDK 1.1.7B's core libraries
  • TowerJ, including the "omit runtime checks" optimization
  • Linux-x86 version of TowerJ (glibc)

It covers the following benchmarks (looking at interpreters vs. JIT and pure Java vs. native):

  • jBYTEMark 0.9 (BYTE Magazine)
  • JMark 2.0 (Ziff-Davis Labs)
  • CaffeineMark 3.0 (Pendragon)
  • VolanoMark 2.1 (Volano)

The SPECjvm98 is absent.

It also analyzes VM behaviors and benchmarking memory, and provides a clear appendix of methods used.

alphaWorks FoCuS defines coverage test models

IBM alphaWorks announced FoCuS, a generic functional-coverage tool that can measure the coverage properties of a given set of event traces over coverage models.

FoCuS lets developers define functional coverage models (tests that determine that a new application does everything it is supposed to do), then it generates those models by collecting the data, creating regressions, and displaying reports.

FoCuS is not tied to any specific coverage model, but it can use the same tools they all employ. FoCuS models may exist for any level -- architecture, micro-architecture, implementation -- depending on the inputs. The definition of the coverage models is executed in a high-level language (SQL) enhanced with macros.

It runs on any Java-enabled platforms, Windows 95/NT, and flavors of Unix.

NaturalBridge debuts BulletTrain Java bytecode compiler

NaturalBridge announced BulletTrain, a static Java bytecode compiler, library, and runtime environment that uses optimization techniques with an integrated runtime support. It's available for Pentium- and Windows 95/98/NT-based systems.

BulletTrain includes an optimizing ahead-of-time compiler, a recompilation manager, a linker, optimized libraries compatible with Java 2, and debugging tools.

The 220,000-line BulletTrain's runtime environment supports thousands of threads and it scales well on multiprocessor systems. The compiler can handle applications with hundreds of thousands of lines of code. And it implements Java 2 and can compile and run JDK 1.2.1 libraries and applications, too.

The BulletTrain compiler compiles .class files (produced by Java compilers such as javac or jikes) into platform-dependent binary files. Compilation optimizations include constant propagation, type propagation, check reduction, dead code elimination, loop unrolling, and aggressive method inlining. The optimizer uses SSA-based analyses optimized for Java programs.

The BulletTrain linker combines compiled files into shared libraries or applications, and all applications linked against the same library will share the same code. BulletTrain only supports linking with a single library, but that library can be linked against other libraries in a chain.

BulletTrain keeps track of how object files depend upon their classfile inputs; it automatically recompiles object files as necessary. This allows aggressive inlining and constant propagation across methods, classes, and packages. Given a main class and a class path, BulletTrain can find and include all the class files needed to finish the construction of an application.

The available debugging tools can complete stack traces; backtrace all threads at interrupt; log handled and unhandled exceptions allocated; log interesting thread operations; perform parameter checking for JNI operations; and perform on-the-fly deadlock detection.

The compiler provides two garbage collectors: a copying collector and a generational collector. The copying collector reclaims all unused storage at the expense of more expensive collections and higher peak storage use. The generational collector has low pause times and is most efficient for large-live-set and high-garbage-generation-rate applications.

What's not here: This version doesn't support true dynamic loading of classes, and serialization, RMI, nor deprecated thread methods, and the JNI Invocation interface are not implemented. Also, since the company is not a Sun licensee, the class libraries are incomplete.

BulletTrain 1.0 costs 99 per seat with no runtime royalties, and runs on Windows 95/98/NT 4.0. There is a 30-day free trial version.

British Airways employs Java in call centers

British Airways announced that it has hired IBM to install OceanWave, a new Java-based, global customer-database system that allows its call center staff to access a single customer record regardless of location.

British Airways routinely transfer customer calls around the world during peak times to avoid busy tones. It also shunts calls at off-peak times so customers have round-the-clock access to call-center operators. In the past, when a call center was down for the nighttime backup, call center staff couldn't access local records.

OceanWave will be a system that lets each call center access a centralized customer record.

British Airways expects to deploy the OceanWave project sometime in Q299.

Rob Thorne, British Airways's senior customer data manager, says that OceanWave is "so easy to use that we may even let our customers themselves use it in the future."

Evergreen, PointBase embed RDB into Java e-commerce server

Evergreen Internet announced that it will embed the PointBase Server Edition relational database into ECential, its Java-based e-commerce engine. (PointBase is the former DataBahn.)

ECential features such technologies as Java Server Pages (JSP), XML, and CORBA, and it uses native JDBC for database access. The PointBase Server Edition database has been embedded into ECential to act as storage for product merchandise, server-side shopping cart data, and customer-order management data.

The incrementally scalable ECential sports:

  • A JSP-compliant Commerce Engine that maintains a persistent connection to all back-end ORBs and services
  • A standalone CORBA-based Token Service that generates unique session tokens (session identifiers, or SIDs) to identify transactions in the form of cookies
  • A Shopping Cart Service, which serves as an enterprise-wide repository for transient transaction data
  • Support for third-party payment-processing vendors
  • An interface to existing directory service databases
  • A preconfigured shipping and tax-calculation wizard

The all-Java PointBase database provides such multiuser functionality as row-level locking with concurrency management, server-based security, and an open naming and directory framework. It includes a data hotsync ability that allows bidirectional data synchronization with corporate databases, delivered through a heterogeneous replication utility that allows transparent data exchange with IBM DB/2 (AS/400, OS/390, UDB), Lotus Notes, MS SQLServer, Oracle, and Sybase.

PointBase includes a self-tuning query optimizer to track database activity and automatically tune the system to maximize application performance. It supports such standards as SQL-92, SQL-98, CORBA, and native JDBC. It runs on JVM 1.1 and later, and has been certified on MacOS, HP-UX, AIX, OS/390, Linux, Windows 95/98/NT, NetWare, and Solaris.



Survey shows consumers willing to pay to use smart cards

In a survey conducted for the Smart Card Forum, pollsters discovered that not only are Americans ready and willing to use smart cards, but that many would pay for the privilege.

Three-quarters of the respondents, contacted in focus groups and separate telephone surveys, were interested in using smart cards for banking, credit cards, driving records, and portable medical and insurance histories, and would be willing to pay up to 0 for the card and a 5 annual fee.

The potential core of users are in their 30s, have higher-than-average incomes, carry more than six cards already, and own a PC. Smart Card Forum President and CEO Donna Farmer said, "These initial poll results reveal that smart cards have a potential core early-adopter constituency of about a third of the population. That's a significant potential market."

The survey defined a smart card as a "card-sized unit with a memory that can hold just about any kind of information but requires some sort of reader to input or output data."

Potential users were interested in convenience (one card instead of many) and security (such as electronic fingerprinting as a means of identification).

Smart cards have been in use in Europe for years. Java is a natural language for limited-memory smart card applications.

Charlie and the World Wide Web Wrapper Factory

The University of Pennsylvania welcomes visitors to the World Wide Web Wrapper Factory 1.03 (W4F), a Java toolkit designed to generate wrappers for HTML data sources.

W4F 1.03 sports built-in declarative mapping to XML, and it consists of a retrieval language to identify Web sources, HEL (HTML Extraction Language, a declarative extraction language to express robust extraction rules), and a mapping interface for exporting the extracted information into a user-defined data structure such as text, Java objects, XML, and so on. The wrappers are generated as Java classes to be used as is, or integrated into higher-level applications.

W4F allows users to specify the translation of HTML pages into XML documents. The specification contains the Document Type Definition (DTD).

In version 1.03, visual support for wrapper creation is improved; HTML extraction can be performed with a WYSIWYG interface.

The prototype W4F is downloadable as a Java package, complete with some sample wrappers, and is free for noncommercial use.

Noviforum readies Java-based site search server

Noviforum announced the Trident Search Site Server for Java 1.05 (TS3J), an offering for ISPs and companies searching for a Java-based information-retrieval server.

TS3J 1.05 comes with language plugins to support English- or Slovenian-language queries. It is designed to provide plain language full-text search services of document data stored on Web servers across enterprise-wide intranet or regional Internet networks.

According to the company, average response times are under a second. TS3J can handle millions of documents (as tested in real-world situations, the largest installation has compiled a regional network index of 500,000 Web documents).

It supports incremental and adaptive spidering, realtime indexing, wildcard symbols in any position, and search results merging of various indexed data collections.

TS3J 1.05 is currently shipping. Pricing depends on the level (number) of documents a client wishes to be able to index. There is little additional information on the company's site; look for more info by the end of May 1999.

Sun offers i-Planet browser interface

In May 1999, Sun plans to ship i-Planet, a commercial version of its internal Sun.Net browser-based interface that springs from its alliance with Netscape, used to access applications and data in an extranet or intranet.

i-Planet lets outsiders -- whether they are telecommuting employees, business partners, or customers -- get to applications and data behind the corporate firewall. Its server-based, browser-like architecture doesn't require any installation of client software, therefore there are no management or configuration issues for clients. The client application is pushed to the client as HTML or is downloaded on demand as a Java applet.

i-Planet can employ the best possible Internet protocol for each user's platform (SMB for an NT server, HTTP/S connection for a workstation or Mac, and so on). It optimizes such tasks as a recursive directory filename search at the local network and outputs the results over the Internet WAN.

i-Planet will support proxy-based access from remote users to applications on platforms from NetWare to NT, from Solaris to IBM mainframes. It uses the existing application infrastructure and security systems installed by the server administrator. In fact, administrators can maintain profiles that detail user-access privileges.

It will be available for SPARC computers sometime in May 1999, with an NT version to follow in July 1999. i-Planet consists of a gateway, server software, and network software. Pricing will be user-based, ranging from 0,000 for 100 users to 9,995 for 1,000 users. Larger quantities will go for 6 a user.

Two new connectivity solutions from Informix

Informix announced two new products for connecting Java technology-based applications to Informix databases -- the JDBC 2.0 technology-enabled driver and Embedded SQLJ.

The JDBC 2.0 Driver is a Java type-4 technology-based implementation of the JDBC 2.0 specification from Sun, supporting all the spec's datatypes plus Informix's Opaque datatype, a technology that lets customers redefine the datatype to individual requirements. It allows Java applications to access all the features on the Informix Dynamic Server with the Universal Data Option.

Embedded SQLJ lets developers embed SQL statements directly in Java programs.

Both products are fully compliant with Java 2, and the driver supports all Informix databases that support Java 2. They are bundled together for distribution and are available free from Informix and its partner Intraware at:


Inprise readies JBuilder 3.0

Inprise's Borland Division plans to start shipping a more stable, mature Java 2-compliant JBuilder 3.0 sometime in May/June 1999.

According to Borland Product Manager Klaus Krull, JBuilder 3.0 will offer a more polished user interface and developer's workspace, as well as simpler, more advanced programming for CORBA. Its Java- and HTML-based help system has also been improved.

JBuilder 3.0 will feature JDK/Switching, a utility that makes it easy to switch between earlier and current versions of the JDK for debugging applications. It also allows remote debugging in which the tester can attach to the JVM that's running on the platform on the other side of the Internet.

It will come with about 300 prepackaged JavaBeans (components and source code), a Java 2 JIT compiler, and components and devtools for database development. There will be a bevy of graphical utilities to generate database and CORBA applications, and to build JavaBeans and EJBs.

As for CORBA, JBuilder 3.0 will offer a data modeler to generate CORBA Interface Definition Language code and an application generator to create n-tier applications. It should also be easier to build HTML front-end interfaces to access CORBA servers. JBuilder will add support for Iona's Orbix ORB.

JBuilder 3.0 will ship first for Windows 95/98/NT 4.0sp3. A Solaris version is promised by the end of 1999, with a Linux version to follow. The Enterprise version costs ,499; the Professional version, 99; and the Standard version, 00.

Sun scraps ISO plans, holds Java tighter

Sun has decided to scrap efforts to open Java through PAS submission to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), claiming that recent changes in technical specification maintenance have put Sun at a disadvantage.

Sun has argued with ISO during the application process, expressing its desire to retain control of Java. ISO usually doesn't grant that kind of authority to any single company or organization.

Alan Baratz, president of Sun's Java Software division, said that ISO changes had killed Sun's plans to submit Java. He also blamed Microsoft and the "Wintel alliance" for scuttling Sun's submission plans. In an interview in IT Week, Baratz said, "A PAS submitter must now turn over the maintenance part of a standard. That's something we've always said we wouldn't do. Sun invested a lot of time, money, and effort going through the process to become a PAS submitter, then Microsoft decided to spend several million dollars lobbying for a change in the rules."

Baratz continued, "If this is the way ISO wants to deal with the process, then fine. We doubt that there are any other commercial companies that will ever try to use [the PAS] process. It's a problem at the end of the day for ISO because they defined this process specifically to allow technologies like Java to easily become standards."

Microsoft has been an opponent of Sun's application to become a PAS submitter, but during the November 1997 ISO voting process, the company failed to sway enough votes in its direction, and Sun's application was approved.

Baratz also commented that Sun was "struggling to find a way forward" for Java standardization, talking with alternative organizations, such as the ECMA (European Computer Manufacturers Association). According to Baratz, potential candidates must be willing to ratify work handed over by Sun while agreeing to let the company set its own rules for moving Java forward.

This part of Baratz's comments echoed Sun's official position on the matter. A Sun spokesperson didn't confirm all of Baratz's comments, but did say (in a prepared statement), "Sun is considering alternate routes, including submitting the Java platform for standardization through an interim standards body such as the European Computer Manufacturers Association."

Sun is also looking at working with the Object Management Group (OMG). Both the OMG and ECMA are authorized to make PAS submissions to ISO.

Ken Urquhart, Sun's Java standardization manager, had a slightly different take from Baratz. "Reports of the death of Sun's Java standards efforts through ISO are greatly exaggerated. All roads lead to ISO, and Java specifications are moving down that road." He added, "It's a question of what route we're going to take. ISO is the final destination, but we're still considering other options for the best way to move forward."

ISO officials had no comments on Baratz's statements.

Microsoft's Standards Activities Group Product Manager John Montgomery said, "It's very much in character for Sun to lay the blame for everything at Microsoft's feet, but in this case, the facts do not support Baratz's statements." He added, "The reality is Microsoft did not change the process. We don't have the power. We didn't spend millions of dollars. This is a smoke screen. They're trying to back out and pin the blame on us."

Java Lobby President Rick Ross advocates a wait-and-see attitude for now, although he does note that among Lobby participants, "very few support Sun's position" on this matter. (According to Ross, more than 80 percent of the Java developers registered in the Lobby's Java Lounge Web site think Sun should open up Java or that an alternative standard to Java should be found.)

IT not critical to business success?

In a recent survey conducted by the London School of Economics for management consulting group Compass America, only 25 percent of the more than 650 CEOs surveyed (from 1,500 global blue chip corporations) think that IT makes a high contribution to business results.

Thirty-three percent of the CEOs surveyed considered IT's contribution to business low; more than 80 percent were disappointed in IT's contribution to a company's results.

Dick Arns, executive director of the Chicago Research and Planning Group (an association of high-level US IT professionals), says that this perception is driven, in part, by CEOs becoming overwhelmed by the increasing "Internetization" of business, and are expecting IT to solve this problem alone. He notes that this role is also new for IT, and that the marketing, advertising, and finance departments also have important parts to play in setting the "course for the next millennium."

Arns also said CIOs are having trouble keeping up with the increasingly rapid mutation of the CIO role. In the Internet age, that role changes monthly as opposed to yearly.

John Deere Insurance Group's Manager of Enterprise Information Gregory Kinman said, "From the CEO's perspective, a dollar spent on advertising may bring in 00 in revenue or an invested dollar will generate a 20-percent return. However, a dollar spent on IT may help an organization stay competitive or reduce expenses, but it is difficult to make direct comparisons to the bottom line and shareholder value."

Survey results also show that 48 percent of CEOs say that IT will be featured in a more prominent role in the future in defining corporate strategy. More than 54 percent had high expectations for IT's future contribution to a company's competitive advantage.

Final note on perception: The survey said that 25 percent of CEOs believe IT becomes a top contributor to the business when CIOs are made members of the senior management team.

Most Sun vs. Microsoft documents can be unsealed

The special master in the Sun vs. Microsoft Java lawsuit has determined that many documents in the case are not protected by law, and consequently may be unsealed.

Special Master Charles B. Renfrew wrote in his report and recommendation, "I found that, with only a few limited exceptions ... all of the redacted or sealed documents at issue should be unsealed." This includes various motions and declarations, including the Microsoft motion for a partial extension in order to comply with the preliminary injunction and Sun's memorandum that opposed the request.

Also look for various declarations that support Microsoft's motion for the extension to comply and a Microsoft motion to clarify or modify the injunction.

If the court agrees with Renfrew's recommendation, Sun and Microsoft attorneys will have to refile certain sealed documents.

Upgrade: Persistence PowerTier 5.0

Persistence Software's PowerTier 5.0 Web application server includes a new bit of technology called PowerSync, which enables each of several PowerTier servers in different physical locations to maintain realtime replicas of each server's caching data stores.

The caching data stores reside outside of the relational database. PowerSync uses distributed, synchronized caches that communicate via Web protocols, so each server handles most of the requests in its own local object store rather than passing them to the database. This reduces the load on the database, makes each transaction execute faster on the client, and also speeds server-to-server transactions.

PowerTier 5.0 also includes an RMI-over-IIOP implementation, so Java applications can communicate with CORBA components in the CORBA native protocol. Support for Java 2 is also new to this version.

PowerTier 5.0 is in beta, but should ship June 1999 for 0,000 per server license.

Upgrade: GemStone/J 3.0

GemStone announced that it will ship GemStone/J 3.0, an upgrade to its Web application server that has gained a performance boost by adding support for multiple JVMs.

The GemStone/J 3.0 servers can be deployed in clusters, with each cluster running multiple instances of a Java servlet engine that can connect to Enterprise JavaBeans, CORBA components, and pooled relational database connections running on load-balanced JVMs.

The upgrade supports a variety of Web servers, as well as Java 2.

GemStone/J 3.0 will ship in May/June 1999 for ,000 per developer seat.

ObjectWatch pronounces CORBA 3.0 dead

Roger Sessions has pronounced CORBA 3.0 and the Component Specification dead in "CORBA 3.0 Postmortem," an article in issue 19 of the ObjectWatch newsletter.

Sessions's main reason for calling CORBA 3.0 dead: He indicates that the Object Management Group has "officially embraced Enterprise Java Beans" as the middle-tier specification, the result of which would only allow Java in the middle tier.

Sessions notes that this means that hopes of a "vendor-neutral, language-independent, Component Oriented Middleware (COMWare) platform" are gone. He says that it appears that the OMG believes "all languages are equal, but Java is a lot more equal than any other language."

Sessions points to an OMG April 6 press release ("The OMG Outlines Application Server Standard"), which clarifies its position by claiming that the "middle tier belongs not to the language neutral Component Specification, but to the Java-centric Enterprise JavaBeans." OMG CEO Richard Soley was quoted from that release as saying, "We're pleased to recognize that the majority of application servers on the market today are based on a marriage of CORBA and Enterprise JavaBeans."

Sessions notes that he is not opposed to EJBs or Java, just to the idea that Java should be the only standard in the middle tier of a supposedly vendor-neutral CORBA. Sessions is a Visual Basic/MTS supporter.

Read the entire article:

The JavaOne conference schedule is available

The JavaOne conference is coming in June, and the schedule is currently available with abstracts of the Java University schedule:

  • Fast-Track Java Platform Certification
  • Java 2 Platform Enhancements
  • Optimizing Java Technology Code
  • Java Technology and XML
  • Jini Technology: Distributed Services Programming

It also includes abstracts for session tracks:

  • The Java 2 Platform
  • Java Platform Extensions
  • The Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition
  • Java Technology Computing for Devices
  • Jini Technology
  • Java Platform Industry Technical Papers
  • Java Technology Program Modeling and Development Tools
  • Java Technology in the World Today!
  • Industry Momentum

Abstracts for "Birds of a Feather" sessions are here, with nuts and bolts information (hotels, airfare, and so on), and a list of the more than 250 exhibitors already signed up for the Java Pavilion.

A look at Java's future

Daryl Plummer, vice president and research director of applications-development tools at Gartner Group, predicted that as Java grows more mature, it will make its way into mission critical corporate applications.

At the recent Java Enterprise Solutions Symposium developers' conference (JESS 99) in Paris, Plummer predicted that by 2002, more than 90 percent of all desktop PCs and servers in the US will host a JVM.

Some other predictions from Plummer:

  • "Through 2001, pure Java applications will be limited in the amount of transaction support they offer for high-end computing, but they will provide mission critical support in more than 60 percent of deployed applications."

  • By 2004, more than 60 percent of large US corporations will use Java to develop critical applications.

  • C++, Visual Basic, and Java will be the three surviving programming languages in the near future.

Plummer seems to have missed on half of one of his predictions -- that Sun is releasing its control of the language as other companies increase their commitment to it. (See "Sun scraps ISO plans, holds Java tighter," in this section.)