News and New Product Briefs (4/1/98)

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  • Oracle uses VisiBroker for Java to provide developers with a development environment for client communication within the Network Computing Architecture (NCA).
  • Silicon Graphics integrated VisiBroker for Java (and VisiBroker for C++) into IRIX, providing integrated operating system support for IIOP and CORBA.
  • Netscape embedded VisiBroker for Java into the Communicator client software, allowing Java applets to interoperate with object servers. Netscape also integrated VisiBroker for Java and VisiBroker for C++ into the Enterprise Server 3.0.

Other VisiBroker licensees include Novera, Business Objects, Bluestone, Cincom, Gemstone, Actra, BBN Technologies, Trilogy, Hummingbird, and Scopus.

A different Java-based operating system

The JOS Project is a collaborative project instigated by an international group of Java programmers, designed create a free, open Java-based operating system, or JOS.

Project members have already started working on JOS prototypes, with several proposals under evaluation. Project officials expect that an initial working nano kernel will be available for comment in Q198.

Java developers and enthusiasts are invited to participate. Visit the Web site and/or send mail to Majordomo@spin.de (with "subscribe jos-announce" in the body of the message) for e-mail updates on the project.

Java/Linux Porting Project moves

The Java/Linux Porting Project, with the goal of making the Linux OS an important Java resource, has moved its home.

The Project has information on

  • JDK ports to Linux on i386, Alpha, PowerPC, and SPARC platforms
  • Java JITs, IDEs, and other Java development tools for Linux
  • Java/Linux mailing lists
  • Java books and tutorials
  • JavaSoft products that can run Linux, such as JavaServer, Java Workshop, and HotJava

The Project's ftp servers have available:

  • All known JDK ports to Linux
  • JDK diffs
  • Patches to run JavaSoft products on Linux
  • Documentation
  • JITs, IDEs, and decompilers
  • JDBC drivers

Information is available for beginners and experts.

O'Reilly opens Java resource center

Computer book publisher O'Reilly and Associates has opened the O'Reilly Java Resource Center.

The Java Resource Center contains articles, resources, notice of upcoming books or events, and an "Ask Tim (O'Reilly)" column.

In the existing Java book list, you'll find:

  • Database Programming with JDBC and Java
  • Designing with JavaScript
  • Developing JavaBeans
  • Exploring Java, 2nd Edition
  • Java AWT Reference
  • Java Distributed Computing
  • Java Examples in a Nutshell
  • Java Fundamental Classes Reference
  • Java in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition
  • Java in a Nutshell, Deluxe Edition
  • Java Language Reference, 2nd Edition
  • Java Network Programming
  • Java Reference Library on the Web
  • Java Threads
  • Java Virtual Machine
  • JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
  • JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
  • Netscape IFC in a Nutshell

Visit O'Reilly's Web site to see what else the ever multitasking publisher is up to.

Cybotics Java-based search engine

Cybotics Technologies announced Cybotics Search Engine 1.0, a Java servlet-API-based multilingual search engine.

Cybotics Search Engine currently supports English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Features of the Cybotics Search Engine include:

  • Search while indexing -- Supports continuous searching while the index is updated.
  • Scheduled indexing -- Schedules the indexing process so that it starts automatically at specified times.
  • Incremental indexing -- Index can be built incrementally, so unchanged documents can be skipped at index update.
  • Local files and remote URL indexing -- Files to be indexed can be local Web server files or remote files at a specific URL.
  • HTML meta field search -- A meta tag search of each separate field search is possible.
  • Online context-sensitive help
  • Multiple collections support -- Create multiple collections and select which collection to search.
  • Statistical document ranking algorithm
  • Browser-based administration tool
  • Customizable result pages

You just need a Java-capable browser (Navigator 3.0 or higher, or Internet Explorer 3.0 or higher).

The Cybotics Search Engine 1.0 is available for a 30-day evaluation. (The engine is free to educational, non-commercial users.)

Spyglass creates Java consulting for non-PC device manufacturers

Citing the demand for PersonalJava apps and the dearth of programmers to meet those needs, Spyglass announced that it is creating a Java consulting practice to work with companies in the consumer electronics, telecommunications, cable, and direct satellite industries that want to add Java and PersonalJava to their products.

This means small browsers for set-top boxes. (In fact, Spyglass is cooperating with Sun to produce Personal WebAccess, a small-foot-print browser based on HotJava.) But that's not all. It also includes online applications designed for smart phones and other appliances, including communication abilities for those applications with other operating systems.

Spyglass executive VP Mike Tyrrell said, "The demand for Java and PersonalJava applications exceeds the supply of proven, expert services. We are seeing it every day with our current customers. Device makers and others are seriously considering Java technology and they absolutely want a choice when it comes to applications, but they are hard pressed to get the integration done. That's where we can help."

Cablevision chooses Ameristar Technologies for Java subscriber clients

Ameristar Technologies, a company that focuses on specialized Internet cable-TV technologies design and deployment, announced that it is providing its Java-based subscriber agent technology to Cablevision Systems, a cable system with more than 3 million subscribers.

The Ameristar agent will act as a component of Optimum Online, Cablevision's high-speed cable modem residential service. The agent component lets Optimum Online customers access to the service from any platform, from the one in the company's set-top cable boxes to any desktop that runs Java.

Cablevision technology VP Wilt Hildenbrand said that the Ameristar Java subscriber agent allows the company "to get to market rapidly with a cost effective, high functionality product that not only meets our current requirements, but also has the proper 'hooks' designed in for future growth and functionality."

Where's JDK 1.2 going?

Sun Microsystems' latest roadmap for the next Java Development Kit, version 1.2, details where the upcoming JDK is headed. (It is available in beta 3 right now; Sun expects to ship the final version in Summer 1998.)

What you can expect:

  • Performance

    -- Performance has been enhanced by better thread synchronization, sharper memory allocation for Solaris, and tuned class libraries. You'll also get:

    • Symantec's JIT Compiler 3.0 for JRE for Windows (available in the April 1998 release of JDK 1.1.6) to speed JDK for Windows
    • The HotSpot VM foundation
  • Java Foundation Classes

    -- These graphical user interface components and foundation services deliver the ability to craft, display, and print customizable interfaces and graphics. JFC 1.1 includes:

    • GUI components
    • The Java Accessibility API (for users with disabilities)
    • The pluggable look-and-feel architecture
    • Cross-platform drag and drop
    • The Java 2D API
  • Security -- The original sandbox model is extended with permission-based access policies.

  • JavaBeans component model

  • Interoperability and connectivity

    • The Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI) will be enabled to run on top of the Internet Interoperability Protocol (IIOP) standard, so Java objects are able to access and interoperate with remote Java-based and non-Java objects.
    • The Java Internet Definition Language (IDL) will be included, which provides an all-CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) interoperability and connectivity system to different types of applications and data in enterprises.
  • Internationalization -- Text-editing components will now be able to receive Chinese, Japanese, and Korean input methods.

Visit Sun's Java Web site for additional information.

The latest word in Sun Java APIs

Sun announced the final release of InfoBus 1.1, a compact Java API that allows cooperating applets or JavaBeans components to exchange structured data.

The InfoBus API was jointly developed by Sun and Lotus, and is available now.

Other developments for Java APIs:

  • The Java Message Service specification was recently released for initial public review. It gives developers a standard Java API for enterprise messaging services.

  • The JavaMail 1.0 final spec was recently released. It provides developers with a set of abstract classes that model a mail system and delivers a platform- and protocol-independent framework to build Java-based mail/messaging applications.

  • The JDBC 2.0 final spec was recently released. It delivers uniform SQL-based access to a wide range of relational databases.

  • The Java Naming and Directory Interface is shipping. It enables developers to build powerful and portable directory-enabled applications using an industry standard. It also gives Java applications a unified interface to multiple naming and directory services in the enterprise and delivers connectivity to cross-platform enterprise naming and directory services.

  • The Java Transaction Service was released for initial public review. It ensures interoperability with sophisticated transaction resources such as transactional application programs, resource managers, transaction processing monitors, and transaction managers. These components are usually supplied by different vendors, so JTS provides an open, standard access to these transaction resources.

Visit the following Web sites for detailed information on these APIs.

Sun asks Java licensees for a floating-point modification

Sun has pitched a proposal to its Java platform licensees to make a modification to Java and the Java VM specifications, a modification that would amend the way the Java platform handles floating-point calculations.

Currently, Java and Java VM specifications state that the results of floating point calculations must be rounded to IEEE 754 single-precision (in 32-bit architectures) or double-precision (in 64-bit architectures) values. For some processors, such as those from Intel and the PowerPC, performance is increased if the spec allowed floating-point computations to be calculated with greater precision. Several industry participants requested a change from Sun, so Sun proposed amendments that would allow intermediate calculations (following IEEE 754 extended formats).

Once the Java licensees review and comment on the proposed modification, Sun will incorporate the feedback and then open the proposal to public review (expected to begin May 1).

PersonalJava offers Windows CE port

Sun announced plans to develop a port of the small-device-optimized PersonalJava to Microsoft's Windows CE.

The Windows CE port adds Microsoft to the list of operating systems and real-time operating systems vendors that run applications written to the Java platform. The companies that previously licensed and implemented the PersonalJava platform include:

  • Acorn
  • Geoworks
  • Lucent
  • Microtec
  • Microware
  • QNX
  • Sun's JavaOS
  • US Software
  • Wind River Systems

Alan Baratz, JavaSoft president, said, "With the Microsoft Windows CE port to round out a terrific market, developers can now run applications for the Java platform based on a broad range of consumer devices, from set-top boxes to PDAs to home electronics."

The port will available to developers/device manufacturers in Q398.

Intuitive's OptimizeIt! Java problem profiler

Intuitive Systems announced OptimizeIt! 2.0 Professional, its Java language profiling tool that lets developers detect, analyze, and fix performance problems in Java programs. With it, you can check apps, applets, or Beans.

OptimizeIt! 2.0 Professional analyzes how CPU time is spent in a Java application and provides precise data about memory use, important because Java doesn't allow developers to control the freeing of memory. It features new CPU and memory-profiling capabilities that make it easier to spot abnormalities. It also has a new object reference browser to explain why an object is not garbage-collected.

The new release includes:

  • Hot-spot detectors
  • The ability to export data as ASCII or HTML
  • The ability to start and stop profilers from within a user's code
  • Faster installation procedures using a configuration wizard

Available after March 30, 1998 (and supporting NT, 95, and Solaris), OptimizeIt! 2.0 Professional for Windows will cost 89. The cost is the same for OptimizeIt! 2.0 Professional for Solaris, which will be available in April 1998.

Sun extends PersonalJava APIs

Sun recently announced three new API specifications designed specifically to extend the functionality of the PersonalJava platform for consumer markets.

Sun promised specifications for the JavaTV API, AutoJava API, and JavaPhone API, to be available Q398. Each spec will be created with working groups from each industry.

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