News and New Product Briefs (1/15/98)

Get ready for JavaOne 1998

Sun's third Java developers conference, JavaOne 1998, is set to go on March 24 through 27, 1998 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Some of the industry's leading luminaries will be speaking, including Sun's own Scott McNealy, JavaSoft's president Alan Baratz, and Java inventor James Gosling. Other speakers are expected, but none are confirmed now.

There will be seven session tracks, including:

  • 3 Technical tracks (55 sessions delivered by JavaSoft personnel) that will cover the core Java technology
  • 1 ISV track (15 sessions)
  • 1 Business track (15 sessions)
  • 1 Platinum Sponsor and 1 Gold Sponsor track (call Sun for details)

At press time, online registration wasn't yet available. But you can register now by:

  • Calling 800-668-2741 (U.S.)
  • Calling 650-372-7077 (international)
  • Faxing 650-525-0199 (snag a .PDF registration form on site)
  • Mailing

    JavaOne Conference Registration

    P.O. Box 45295

    San Francisco, CA 94145-0295

If you want to exhibit, contact Michelle Sanfilippo at 650-378-1063 (

Together/Java 1.0 for simultaneous design-and-code Java editing

Object International announces Together/Java 1.0, its all-Java, UML (Unified Modeling Language), fully scalable, platform-independent modeler for enterprise-wide software development.

Together/Java 1.0 uses simultaneous design-and-code editing and works with source code so developers don't have to build batch code (or reverse-engineer batch code). The software comes with physical and logical packages to help developers model code that can be used across large development sites.

And Together/Java really goes for beans -- it automatically detects and displays JavaBeans. Whether the developer is looking at design or source, when he/she adds a public getter or setter to a class, the bean symbol pops up with a list of properties and events for that bean.

The parser in the package parses just the packages the developer is currently working on, which adds up to fast, synchronous, design-and-code editing. Other features include:

  • URL hyperlinking of diagrams and other design documents
  • Automatic HTML documentation generation
  • An all-Java implementation
  • Design diagrams (UML's package, class, sequence, state, and use-case, and Coad's object model and scenario view)
  • An inspector (that reduces keystrokes and context switches by eliminating the need to step your way through multiple dialog boxes)

Together/Java works with JDK 1.1 and JDK 1.0.2, and supports Windows 95, NT, and Solaris.

Digital Cat HRC for Java job seekers

Digital Cat LLC has started a Java job-seekers switchboard, the Human Resource Center (HRC), to match up Java professionals with jobs worldwide.

The switchboard is logically divided into two sections -- on for companies listing jobs and one for individual Java professionals looking for jobs. For individuals, the listing service is free. At the moment, companies pay 00 a month to list their positions (although Digital Cat may run special offers for companies that are looking for lots of Java developers).

The switchboard is available in both the United States and Japan.

Java-optimized PC Prometheus from Indelible Blue

IBM reseller Indelible Blue is offering its customers Prometheus, a PC that's been optimized for Java development across the Windows 95/NT and OS/2 Warp Server platforms.

Prometheus is pre-loaded with the three operating systems and IBM's Visual Age for Java development environment. Customers can choose either a Pentium MMX 233MHz (lists at ,949) or Pentium II MMX 266MHz (lists at ,399) processor as the engine. Standard features include:

  • 128MB of RAM
  • Two 4GB hard drives
  • A 4MB Matrox Mystique video card
  • 24x CD-ROM drive with 16-bit sound card
  • A US Robotics 56K modem

Indelible Blue president Buck Bohac noted that Prometheus was designed with Java in mind. "Our customers work in cross-platform environments, and the need to code and test Java applications in each environment is critical to their success. Java has given developers the most promising opportunity so far for the long time dream of true cross-platform development."

Get some Java-based Wyzdom to manage high-tech assets

DCC Technology Management Group debuts Wyzdom 5.0, a new, Java-enhanced version of its asset-management software.

Wyzdom 5.0 is the software component of DCC's hardware/software asset-management service. It consolidates corporate-wide IT resource information, including physical, financial, and contractual data, into a single database for reporting and analysis.

The software's new Java front end means that new software updates don't have to be installed on individual desktops. Users can request new hardware over the Web; the software and system creates an interactive file that tracks the order.

Wyzdom 5.0 is integrated with automated asset-tracking tools from Tally Systems and Tangram Enterprise Solutions. It also comes with a consulting service called TCO Wizard. At installation, this feature establishes the current cost of owning technology and then benchmarks it. After several passes, users can start to recalculate the changes in TCO to determine return on investments.

Scheduled to ship in March 1998, the software and service for most businesses comes in at an average of 2,500. This price includes strategic asset-management analysis for 2,500 assets and concurrent access to the software for five users.

Natural Intelligence creates Java consulting unit

Natural Intelligence announces the creation of a Corporate Java Consulting Division. The new unit will focus on providing corporate clients with Java database connectivity in a smooth, almost transparent migration, so the company's existing data architecture doesn't have to be changed.

Director of Consulting Services John Magee said, "The consultants in this new division [Corporate Java Division] have designed, participated, and completed an in-depth exploration of the feasibility of Java for corporate solutions. Their conclusions clearly indicated that they will be very busy creating top-notch corporate Java solutions for years to come." He added that the company is dedicated to Java technology and that they intend to spend a lot of time "getting to know the ins and outs so our clients don't need to. Our clients can rely on us to implement lasting, stable solutions, and to support and expand them as their businesses evolve."

MacOS 8.1 improves Java performance

In early January 1998, Apple introduced MacOS 8.1, and one of its new features is improved Java compatibility and performance.

The performance boost for MacOS 8.1 comes from the inclusion of Apple's newest Java VM, the MRJ 2.0. MRJ 2.0 implements Sun's JDK 1.1.3. Users can run Java applets or applications using MRJ 2.0 in a browser, or without a browser using Apple's "Applet Runner" software. Also, MRJ 2.0 passes the 100%t Pure Java tests supplied by Sun.

And even though Internet Explorer 3.01 is set as the default browser, 8.1 also comes with Navigator 4.04.

MacOS 8.1 will be available in February and free to MacOS 8.0 customers.

Research shows resellers hot on NCs, Java, and object DBs

The good news is that in-house research from VARBusiness magazine shows that NCs, Java, and object DBs are hot hot hot with resellers: 40 percent of the VARs surveyed said they plan to sell or resell (within six months) Java technology, 47 percent gave the thumbs up for for object relational databases, and 48 percent will make a move with network computers.

The news is not as good for the following technologies:

  • Gigabit Ethernet, 28 percent
  • Integrated/unified messaging, 28 percent
  • Data warehousing and data mining, 27 percent
  • Smart cards, 24 percent
  • Speech recognition, 24 percent
  • Clustered systems, 20 percent
  • Intelligent agents, 19 percent
  • OLAP, 19 percent
  • 3D data visualization, 17 percent
  • ADSL/DSL, 11 percent

Some reasons respondents cited for shying away from certain technologies: Difficulties in getting adequate vendor support, gaining market acceptance, showing value to the customer, and the lack of qualified personnel.

Nortel embeds VeriSmart Java card software into phones

Northern Telecom has decided to embed VeriFone's VeriSmart Java smart card software into its PowerTouch screen phones. And it may also be embedding the software into some of its Millennium pay phones.

With the VeriSmart software, phone users will be able to use their smart cards to do online banking and make electronic purchases. Consumer trials are expected to start soon, and Nortel plans to ship products in May 1998 by the latest.

VeriFone director of business development John Menzel said, "This is [just] the tip of the iceberg. The telephone is the ubiquitous access device out there; everyone can use a telephone."

Micrografx snaps up WebKnight Java authoring tool company

Micrografx has purchased WebKnight Inc., the maker of the Instant Coffee Java authoring software, with plans to incorporate the authoring technology into its products.

Instant Coffee takes an animation and turns it into a Java applet, which can then be downloaded in about one-tenth the time of similar animations.

The Instant Coffee Java authoring system will be integrated into all of Micrografx's graphic software to provide cross-platform capabilities, according to Micrografx development VP Bob Gutekunst, so that Micrografx-generated drawings, animation, and images are no longer tied to the Wintel platform. He said, "This is an opportunity to take many of the outcomes of those products and deliver them in a cross-platform manner."

Expect the Instant Coffee-enhanced Micrografx products to surface in Fall 1998. The company has yet to decide whether to continue to offer the 5 Instant Coffee as a standalone.

Intel's delivers product research with Java tool

Intel has launched Product Selector, a Java-based extranet tool, that consolidates several of its large product-information databases as a resource for design engineers.

Product Selector allows design engineers to quickly search a combined database of more than 1,600 Intel products and specifications to use when they're designing products to run with, on, or under Intel products. Besides detailed technical specifications on Intel's embedded processors, controllers, flash-memory devices and motherboards, the Product Selector links designers to authorized distributors to discover current prices and availability of Intel products. And the company plans to add more categories.

Intel Internet Product Marketing manager Clif Purkiser said, "We've taken care of the process of thumbing through the [print version] databook by speeding it up with this tool manager. The next step is the purchasing part, that's the piece of the puzzle we're going to solve next."

Users can search for products by entering the type of part, a part number, or a simple keyword search.

Purkiser noted, "One of the areas we're going to improve on is to better integrate with the distributors. We want to make it completely seamless, so when a designer clicks on a part number on the Intel site, and then gets transferred to the 'disti,' there will be some intelligence there. We haven't implemented that yet, but we're working with our major distributors -- about a dozen of them." He added that seamless integration with a variety of distributors was one of the reasons they chose to develop the Selector in Java.

Java/Microsoft war moves to new arena: Cable TV

Microsoft has finalized an agreement to supply the operating system (Windows CE) for some of cable operator Tele-Communications Inc.'s (TCI) new digital set-top cable boxes. This deal extends Microsoft's reach into homes that don't have PCs, but do have cable TV (about 35 million). But, according to sources close to the negotiations, there's a snag -- at least for Microsoft.

TCI has just inked an agreement with Sun Microsystems to integrate PersonalJava (P-Java) into the boxes as a standard software-application environment. TCI.Net president and CEO Bruce Ravenel said, "PersonalJava gives us the ability to have an applications environment for broadband networks without concerns for which processor or operating systems we use in the set-top devices." He also added that Java afforded TCI the ability to accelerate the new boxes' time-to-market because applications could be quickly written. (Ravenel is also a senior VP of TCI.)

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