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

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The JavaTV API will help manufacturers, developers, and content providers develop standards for delivering interactive content to consumers through cable set-top boxes, satellite receivers, digital televisions, and HDTV. This API will handle such features as channel-changing controls, on-screen graphics, audio/video streaming, e-commerce, conditional access, and smart-card support.

The AutoJava API will be designed to support plug-and-play connections between existing automotive hardware and new software components. The AutoJava framework may include APIs for navigation, audio/video controls for in-vehicle entertainment, remote-diagnostic capabilities, voice recognition, AC/climate control interfaces, and wireless communications.

The JavaPhone API should expand phones so that they connect to a network and can Web browse and send and receive e-mail. It should include such APIs as power management, display controls, and data synchronization.

Mercury Interactive Java tester system

Mercury Interactive is debuting a Java-application testing suite that supports major Java toolkits.

The suite includes WinRunner and XRunner, designed for functional testing of Java clients; LoadRunner, designed for load testing of Java-based systems; and TestDirector, designed to manage the increased volume of testing Java-based applications. These testing applications run from a single environment to test a mixed environment of Java object technologies.

The suite supports major Java toolkits, including Sun's AWT, Oracle's Developer/2000, and Sun's JFC. Mercury officials say to expect upcoming support for Microsoft's WFC, Symantec's Visual Café, and others.

Test scripts can be reused, and script development can be leveraged across different browsers and platforms, shared between Java and traditional clients, and even used for load testing. For instance, a user can develop a test script with Navigator on Solaris and run it on IE on Win95 without changes.

LoadRunner provides scalable load-testing with the ability to run hundreds of virtual users, applets, and virtual machines on a single box.

The products are currently in beta testing. Mercury Interactive expects them to ship in July 1998.

Sun gets its Java preliminary injunction against Microsoft

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte granted Sun Microsystems' request for a preliminary injunction that keeps Microsoft from using the "Java Compatible" logo to promote and distribute Internet Explorer 4.0 and related products.

In Judge Whyte's ruling, he said that Microsoft's interpretation of the licensing agreement between the two companies "would essentially allow Microsoft to destroy the cross-platform compatibility of the Java programming environment." Judge Whyte also added that Sun demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of establishing consumer confusion to entitle it to a "presumption of irreparable harm."

Judge Whyte cited that Sun has not approved Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 and related products, and "therefore, Microsoft's use of the 'Java Compatible' logo falsely implies that its software products implement the Java Technology in a manner approved by Sun."

The ruling stops Microsoft from using directly or indirectly Sun's "Java Compatible" trademark in connection with the advertising, distribution, sale, or promotion of the products until each product passes the Sun test suite. Microsoft is also ordered to remove the disputed products from commercial sales channels, or to remove, cover, or obscure the "Java Compatible" trademark.

Microsoft's Java advertising at JavaOne conference

Microsoft spends lots of money every year in advertising -- some product advertising and some industry positioning advertising. At this year's JavaOne conference, it demonstrated an interesting combination of both.

Besides the many Yellow Cabs that drove by Moscone Center (the site of the conference) sporting rooftop ads for Visual J++ and the Microsoft Java virtual machine, there was a seemingly grass-roots "guerilla" action outside the conference promoting the fact Microsoft has won the Java wars. On several corners, casually dressed people were handing out Microsoft JVM t-shirts.

But the best ad vehicle was also the one that demonstrated that it was a corporate effort. Flatly chalked on the sidewalks surrounding Moscone was several slogans, including "Try Microsoft® Java Virtual Machine and Visual J++®, A Powerful combination" and "Microsoft® Java Virtual Machine and Visual J++® -- its won everywhere" in orange chalk. (Note: Sometimes the apostrophe in "its" was there, sometimes it wasn't. Probably to make it look authentic.)

Of course, no real tag artist would flat-shade those ugly stick letters. And who's kidding who with that registered trademark stuff?

O'Reilly upgrades WebSite Pro server

O'Reilly released WebSite Professional 2.2, the latest upgrade to its server, that with several enhancements for Java servlet development.

To deliver more Java servlet development options, the new upgrade includes Live Software's JRun 2.1, support for the JDK 1.2 and JavaSoft Servlet API 1.1, and persistent-tracking capabilities and support for JFC 1.1.

Other, non-Java enhancements and additions include:

  • Uplink, O'Reilly's utility designed for Internet Content Providers and ISPs that supports SSL-3 and lets clients or partners publish to a site without compromising the site's security. Includes a royalty-free license for distributing Uplink to users and customers.

  • Enhanced log-file management and generation, making it easier to obtain Web-traffic reports.

  • The new version of the included iHTML Professional features numerous improvements to logging, error handling, tags, and system stability.

WebSite Professional 2.0 is 99. If you're a 2.0/2.1 customer, the upgrade is free for the download.

Borland brings out upgrade to JBuilder

Borland International announced an upgrade to its JBuilder visual development tools, JBuilder 2.0, with tighter integration for all things Java.

JBuilder 2.0 promises tighter integration for multiple Java Development Kits, application deployment, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), Java servlets, JFC/Swing components, CORBA, and high-productivity coding wizards.

It supports JDK 1.1.x, JDK 1.2, JFC/Swing components, JavaBeans, EJB, CORBA, RMI, JDBC, and all major corporate database servers.

JBuilder 2.0 is available in three versions -- the Client/Server Suite, the Professional version, and the Standard version. Some of the enhancements include:

  • JDK Switching allows developers to compile and run their applications against any JDK from 1.02 through 1.2.

  • JFC/Swing component integration promotes the creation of professional-looking, full-featured user interfaces. It includes a set of enhanced JFC components that are fully JDBC data-aware.

  • CodeInsight is a set of coding Wizards to assist developers while programming by providing the proper syntax when creating and editing code parameters, variables, properties, methods, events, and it highlights invalid data types.

  • The Deployment Server for Java allows corporations deploy Java applications.
  • CORBA integration with VisiBroker 3.2 is tighter.

  • The EJB Wizard automates the creation of Session and Entity EJBs, and standard Home and Remote interfaces.

  • The Java servlet wizard can create dynamic, server-side Java applications that integrate with Web servers.

  • The DataStore offers high-performance data caching and persistent storage of datasets, objects, and files.

  • BeanDesigners are for building and customizing industry-standard JavaBeans components, giving developers the ability to visually display, add, and edit JavaBeans properties, events, and methods.

  • BeanInsight is an easy-to-use analysis tool for diagnosing JavaBeans.

  • A library of more than 200 JavaBeans with source code.

Look for JBuilder 2.0 in Spring 1998. The Client/Server Suite should cost ,495. The Professional edition should run 00 and the Standard edition, 00.

Bluestone releases Sapphire/Web 5.0

Bluestone Software announced an upgrade to its Sapphire/Web Web application server, Sapphire/Web 5.0.

Sapphire/Web consists of five products:

  • Sapphire/Universal Business Server (UBS)
  • Sapphire/Application Manager (SAM)
  • Sapphire/Developer, Sapphire/Enterprise Deployment Kit (EDK)
  • Sapphire/Integration Modules (SIMs)
  • Sapphire/Universal Business Server (UBS)

The UBS adds unlimited scalability, dynamic load balancing, application isolation, optimal-weight clients, and comprehensive state management to all the Sapphire/Web products. It includes:

  • Global, application, session, and user state management
  • Persistent state management (through JDBC)
  • Cached state management
  • Restorable state for fault tolerance and data integrity
  • Object state management in addition to string data
  • Session affinity to route a particular user to a particular instance
  • Server or client state management
  • Optional server state management

The SAM uses a rules-based server engine for logic execution. It employs agent technology for monitoring, collection, presentation, notification, and integration, writing repository information through JDBC to any RDBMS.

Changes to the Developer include:

  • Source code control integration
  • Complete resource and object management
  • Project merging, for building function-specific component projects
  • Automatic interface generation
  • Improved Java GUI Builder integrations
  • Editor enhancements, such as color-coded tag editing; hundreds of additional new tags for Java scripting, VB scripting, and I.E. 4.0 scriptlets; and a new tag editor written in Java
  • JClass charts and JClass tables Wizards
  • The ability to use JDBC metadata for development and deployment

The EDK is a new module that encapsulates the following:

  • Java Object Binder, a component integrator that provides the ability to automatically locate and link your application to virtually any object/component in the enterprise.
  • SIM builder, facilities, components, and wizards to let developers, VARs, and integrators build their own SIMs.

The Sapphire/Developer Enterprise Edition is a combination of Developer and the EDK, and it also includes the JavaBean SIM, CORBA SIM, and the COM/DCOM SIM.

The SIMs are prebuilt, native-data integration modules that plug in and extend Sapphire/UBS and Sapphire/Developer.

Pricing depends on configuration.

Quick take: Sun really, truly ships JavaStation

Sun has finally shipped the JavaStation network computer. And, the company struck a deal with Toshiba to design and develop a mobile version of the JavaStation. The basic version of the JavaStation will be 99.

Sun also announced a non-binding plan to develop a mobile NC with Toshiba. Whether it will compete with Toshiba's existing network computer, the Confolio, is yet to be seen.

Senate asks Microsoft, Sun, Netscape to waive OEM confidentiality

In the U.S. Senate investigation into Microsoft's business practices, four senators have requested that Microsoft (as well as Sun and Netscape) waive confidentiality agreements that bar OEMs from turning over information on pacts each may have with the companies.

Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (along with Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Herbert Kohl (D-WI)) asked the companies to waive agreements in a letter on March 26. (Part of the investigation calls into question whether Microsoft made unfair use of its alleged monopoly in PC operating systems to induce or coerce OEMs to preinstall its IE browser to the exclusion of Navigator.)

Microsoft officials were concerned that the company's business secrets might be opened to public scrutiny if the Judiciary Committee had access to such agreements, citing that the Senate is not bound by the same rules of secrecy that the DOJ is. With that in mind, Microsoft officials are waiting for confirmation from the Judiciary Committee that trade secrets won't be breached.

Hatch said that no information from the agreements would be made public unless decided by him and Leahy, then "reasonable notice" would be given to the company.

Gates, McNealy, and Barksdale were unavailable for comment.

IBM takes Java to Hong Kong

IBM has been working with ISVs in Hong Kong to offer specially developed Java applications for small- and medium-sized businesses.

IBM's Greater China Group's software GM David Sung, said, "Java is not only an exclusive technology for large and multinational corporations, but also for small- and medium-sized businesses, which make up over 90 percent of the business community in Hong Kong."

IBM is pumping unknown amounts of money into marketing its e-business products and services in Hong Kong, and has hired a marketing manager responsible for the e-business product line. Earlier in March, IBM hosted the IBM Day for Java for local businesses.

IBM also offers services, from customer consulting to education and training to centers where developers can work and test applications on a variety of systems for no cost.

Other IBM Java initiatives in China include:

  • Cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Science to develop the Chinese version of VisualAge for Java
  • Beijing Advanced Systems Development Corporation Ltd., IBM's joint venture with Tsinghua University and part of IBM's Around-the-Clock JavaBeans development team
  • The opening of Shanghai Java Studio
  • Sponsoring a Java contest among 23 university professors in writing programs and developing curriculum on Java

See IBM's Java Web site for additional information.

Sun unveils embedded JavaOS for Consumers

At the recent JavaOne developers conference, Sun announced its network-enabled, consumer-appliance embedded operating system, JavaOS for Consumers.

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