News and New Product Briefs (3/16/98)

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The newsletter focuses on developers, whether they're from mega-corporations or a garage-based software startup -- "lest we forget that HP was started in a Silicon Valley garage," remind the sponsors.

Once or twice a week, Daily Grounds highlights what developers are doing with the technology, including news about your products and development experiences, as well as Q&As on why you chose Java.

Have a little tea with Cereus

Cereus Design Corp. released two scripting products for Java, the HotTEA-URLGrey BASIC interpreter and the HotTEA-GreenTEA VBA-supporting Bean.

HotTEA-URLGrey is a Java-based BASIC interpreter designed for Web and intranet applets, and small standalone applications. It weighs less than 100K and is compatible with JDK 1.02.

HotTEA-GreenTEA is a JavaBean that supports a Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)-compatible language system. It can be used to add scripting capability to Java applications or to building intranet applets. It is available now in a standard configuration; developers will have to wait for the professional edition. GreenTEA interacts with other beans and can be added to the component palettes of such IDEs as JavaStudio, VisualCafé, JBuilder, and VisualAge. It is compatible with JDK 1.1 and supports JFC and JDBC.

URLGrey is available now for 5, and the company expects to be shipping GreenTEA (Professional) by the end of Q198 for 49.

New version of GemStone/J app server ready

GemStone Systems announced GemStone/J 1.1, an upgrade version of its integrated application server designed to craft scalable Java/CORBA enterprise applications.

GemStone/J 1.1 improves the performance of client/server applications with its brokered virtual machine (VM) pooling architecture that fosters fast client connections and reduces loading on server applications. The VM Broker manages a pool of Java VMs, each individually configurable by number and characteristics. Each continues to operate after assigned clients log out (on the premise that they will be needed again), to be reused when a client makes the next connection request.

Application partitioning has been made easier in this version by the addition of a wizard tool specifically for partitioning tasks. Plus, the way you develop distributed Java apps has been simplified in GemStone/J 1.1. A new wizard-based interface makes it easier to load a standard Java app into the GemStone/J server.

And version 1.1 comes with an improved distributed app debugger, one that includes easier, more reliable inspection and control of threads. Transport layer enhancements allow faster log-in sequences and optimized remote adapter mechanisms that support the client/server messaging within Java applications, improving client access to server objects.

It uses standard JDBC drivers, and certified JDBC drivers (JNI-compliant Type-4 Thin) from Oracle and Sybase. It also includes a new Java API that supports upgrade of application classes and helps with the transformation from old classes to new ones.

GemStone/J 1.1 should be available March 31, 1998 for Solaris and Windows NT, for ,995 per seat.

IBM licenses picoJava core for appliances

IBM announced that it has licensed Sun's picoJava I processor core, a chip designed for use in small devices, such as cellular phones and set-top boxes, to be made available to its custom chip clients.

With the picoJava core, IBM plans to help electronics manufacturers create a new class of network-centric devices based on Java, with apps embedded directly on the chips.

"We intend to bring the best technologies to bear in helping our customers tap into the networked environment," said Luis Arzubi, VP of IBM's Microelectronics Division. "Now, with picoJava, we can work with our customers to further enhance their products with Java applications."

27 states join Justice Department: Unbundle IE from 95

Attorneys general from 27 states filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in federal court on Monday March 2, 1998, supporting the Justice Department and asking the court to uphold Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's December 11, 1997 injunction that ordered Microsoft to unbundle the Internet Explorer Web browser from the Windows 95 operating system. Microsoft is appealing that injunction.

The attorneys general cited Microsoft's anti-competitive conduct as a threat to the health of the computer industry. The states participating in the filing are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

uniView Tech. preview Java set-top designs

uniView Technologies Corp. (formerly Curtis Mathes) plans to preview the designs (as well as 50 customized units) of its interactive set-top boxes at the upcoming JavaOne Developer Conference. With the boxes, users can register for the conference, e-mail messages to each other, and play a Java game.

uniView develops and deploys set-top box applications and hardware for niche markets such as home healthcare, education, banking, hotel, home office, and consumer electronics. Dallas Semiconductor and Softbank have joined with uniView to create the custom applications used at JavaOne.

Patrick A. Custer, uniView CEO and president, said, "The fun, interactive applications -- including a few to-be-announced surprises -- showcased by our boxes at JavaOne will demonstrate that Java is now ready for the every day consumer."

Luckman debuts Web Studio 2.0

Luckman Interactive announced an upgrade to its development suite for building HTML, Java, VRML, and database connectivity into Web sites, Web Studio 2.0.

Web Studio 2.0 consists of:

  • Luckman's WebEdit Pro 3.0 HTML authoring tool
  • Luckman's Web Map image map generator
  • Penumbra's Mojo Java authoring tool
  • Platinum's VR Creator software for creating interactive 3D content
  • Trilogy's OpenPath Web development tool for creating and developing Web database applications
  • Seagate's Crystal Reports report-generating program for publishing data on the Internet
  • Auraline Java Multimedia Creation Kit, designed to add multimedia effects to Web sites (includes a 5,000-plus media library with PowerPoint 97 templates and animations, 3D effects, and sound effects

WebEdit Pro, Web Map, Mojo, OpenPath, and Crystal Reports all work with Window 95/NT; VR Creator, with 95 only. Web Studio is priced at 50.

Progress progressing Apptivity toward Java

Progress Software will start using Java in its Apptivity products this year. Apptivity is a group of products that allows developers to develop, test, deploy, and maintain business-critical Java database applications for IE 3.x/4.x, Navigator 3.x/4.x, and any JVM 1.02/1.1 client and NT, MacOS 7, Solaris 2.x, and Java server.

Apptivity marketing VP Dennis Moore thinks that the this direction will provide an Internet migration path for existing Progress-built applications, in essence making them as useable in the future as they are now.

According to Moore, the next version (code-named "Vail" and due Q298) should simplify the development process, making it easier to develop apps as a team. He added, "We'll also focus on facilitating deployment by supporting HTML and taking advantage of existing platforms provided by enterprise JavaBeans and CORBA." Progress will then start shipping the next generation of its development suite (code-named "Skywalker"), which combines Progress 9.0 and WebSpeed 3.0. Then, in 1999, Progress plans to deliver a CORBA app server named Open AppServer.

The check's in the mail with Oracle's Java Payment Server

Oracle announced the Oracle Payment Server 1.0, a Java cartridge that runs on the company's Web Application Server 3.0.

The Payment Server module supports third-party payment systems from ICVerify and CyberCash for processing credit card transactions. It features rules-based routing, which allows integrating of multiple processing engines based on such criteria as the sale's dollar value or the payment method.

Payment Server 1.0 supports SSL security. The company intends to incorporate SET (the Secure Electronic Transactions protocol) in June 1998.

Payment Server also includes:

  • Application Integration features


    • A single open interface API between the Payment Server and commerce applications delivers access to all supported payment systems
    • The API supports Java, C, PL/SQL, and Perl apps and Oracle Application Server cartridges
    • Sample HTML calling-page code and a dummy payment system cartridge provided to speed application code integration and testing
    • Pre-configured integration with Oracle Internet Commerce Server 1.1
  • Payment System Integration features


    • A single common API between the server and existing payment systems
    • A sample EC application for integration and testing of payment systems
    • Direct access to native payment system functions
    • Multiple payment systems bundled
    • Open API for regional and custom payment systems
  • Setup and Administration features


    • An browser-based interface to all administration functions
    • A business rules-directed payment routing system
    • Support for regional, updated, or additional payment system cartridges that can be installed in the field
    • Access to the native data gathering, analysis, and reporting
    • Secure payment routing and SSL 3.0 support, with SET 1.0 support coming
  • Configuration features, such as the ability to direct payment types to specific processing vendors (for example, transactions from account #XXX to ICVERIFY, each VISA transaction over 00 to CyberCash, all MasterCard to ICVERIFY, transactions less than 0 to Cybercoin) through the use of the business rules payment routing system.

The Oracle Payment Server 1.0 ships with Oracle Internet Payment Server 1.0 cartridge and documentation; Oracle 7.3 Enterprise Version runtime license; Oracle Web Application Server 3.0.1; ICVERIFY payment system cartridge and documentation; and CyberCash Cash Register cartridge and documentation. Pricing starts at 0,000, which includes the application server and a limited-use license for the Oracle7 database.

Java Developers Workbench for WebFOCUS app server

Information Builders announced the Java Developers Workbench, a toolkit for designing and building database Internet/intranet reports for the WebFOCUS Application Server.

Besides helping users design and build standard reports for distribution over the Internet/intranet from a Web browser, the Java Developers Workbench lets users publish formatted, finished HTML reports and word processing and spreadsheet files. The Workbench can automatically create an HTML page which allows the user to enter his own selection criteria and request a dynamic report from live data.

The WebFOCUS Java Developers Workbench is included with a WebFOCUS Application Server, but additional copies can be purchased for ,500 per seat.

Borland adds Java support to Entera 4 middleware

Borland has added support for Java (and Delphi) to version 4.0 of Entera, its middleware designed for connecting distributed applications.

Borland's plans for Entera 4.0 are to eventually integrate it into the company's VisiBroker object request broker (delivering seamless CORBA support) and Midas DCOM (for Distributed Component Object Model support). It currently supports the company's AppCenter app-management tool, as well as with DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) support and GSS (Generic Security Service) API support.

Entera uses remote procedure calls for communications, and applications for Entera can be constructed in Java, Delphi, C++, COBOL, PowerBuilder, and Visual Basic. The middleware supports database servers from Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Informix, SQL Server, and any ODBC drivers. Pricing is determined by customer's configuration.

Java Lobby enters fray with Microsoft

At the recent Internet World conference, Java Lobby president Rick Ross told developers that with Microsoft's recent announcements about issuing a new version of Java (with two additional keywords) and with the release of the new Windows Foundation Classes (with Visual J++ 6.0), they should consider themselves at war with Microsoft.

Ross said in a statement on the Lobby's Web site that we must

...abandon all hope that Microsoft will cease their antagonism to Java and to us, the community of Java developers and supporters.

Microsoft has raised the stakes with a new attempt to fragment the Java platform, Visual J++ 6.0. This forthcoming product reportedly alters the Java programming language itself. It is clear that if they cannot own or control Java, then they will do everything in their power to destroy it. There is no chance whatsoever that they will relent.

Ross based his statements on reports from developers that had attended a Microsoft-sponsored Java briefing on Tuesday, March 3, 1998, and noted that he had not seen or been briefed on Visual J++ 6.0.

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