News and New Product Briefs (5/15/98)

Rumors abound: IBM and Sun crafting next Unix?

Rumors are flying that IBM and Sun Microsystems are codeveloping a next-generation version of Unix that will tightly incorporate Java. The goal: Deliver a scalable Java application environment and simplify Unix use.

Without referring to this project at all, Sun Solaris marketing director Brian Croll said, "Five years out, you will see Solaris be a Java server engine. The fusion of Java and Solaris is going to give the capability to run a huge application on the server side, and it will just scream."

Deloitte & Touche reviews 1997 and forecasts 1998

Deloitte & Touche's High Technology Group recently released its "1998 Software Industry Annual Report," a review of major developments in the software industry in 1997 and predictions for 1998.

Based on 1997 performance (and a Zona Research study), the report sees Java wading into battle as a non-proprietary alternative to Windows, slowly absorbing more software developers with its design. Zona projects that the Java tool market will triple (from 8 million to 80 million) from 1997 to 2000.

The High Technology Group's managing director Mark A. Evans said it wasn't as easy to spot a technology winner this time around. "This past year, the industry's rules were radically changed by bold new products, hard-ball marketing, and high-stakes litigation," he said. "Our [Report] takes a close look at the industry, how it's changed, and the challenges that await it -- and provides insight into how it has affected virtually every aspect of our daily lives."

Other findings indicate that business spending will be twice the projected volume of consumer online spending by 2002; online gaming networks should breathe new life (and billion in revenue) into the entertainment software industry; and the Asian market crisis means postponed hardware purchases and infrastructure reductions.

For a copy of the "1998 Software Industry Annual Report," send an e-mail request to

Java not on the agenda for Merced's first steps

At Intel's lead, software for the next-year 64-bit Merced chip (operating systems, compilers, and so on) will be Java-lite, centering on C++ instead. (Compilers and the OS will be important factors in leveraging the architecture of the Merced chip.)

Intel itself, and HP, Microsoft, Metaware, and Edinburgh Portable Compilers are all developing Merced-capable C++ compilers -- not an easy task as the Merced architecture uses both the speculation and the predication techniques (which seem to be mutually exclusive).

  • Speculation masks memory latency by taking load instructions out of their normal place in the middle of a branch, and moving them up to be executed as early as possible in the program.

  • Predication removes branches from an application program by executing both pre- and post-branch instructions at the same time. Then you toss the results from instructions that wouldn't normally have been running in a real-world application.

To take advantage of both, a compiler has to be able to let the many execution units skip unnecessary decision branches and avoid memory latency.

HP, Sun, Digital Equipment, and Sequent are working on Unix OS. Microsoft, of course, is developing a 64-bit version of NT.

Original story:

Cisco site replaces C/Perl with Java

Cisco's e-commerce Internetworking Product Center's site's engine is under renovation -- the heavy C and Perl CGI applications are being torn out and replaced with a Java/CORBA environment.

Cisco developers are working with development company Alta Software to provide the new Java/CORBA framework, which, the company hopes, will

  • speed performance
  • deliver enhanced levels of user personalization and customization,
  • make it easier to manage
  • allow it to be more tightly integrated with other systems, both in-house and out

Project manager David Corsano said, "As more and more customers use the applications, we realized that things were going to start to break. We also realized it was starting to get costly. It was taking us more time to build in enhancements as well as maintain the application. It was time to build the system using an architecture that would scale into the future." That was because the company is currently fulfilling about 47 percent of its orders over the Web.

The Internetworking Product Center should be finished in late summer 1998.

Original story:

Which ISVs are supporting WFCs

So far, here is the status of major software vendors' support for Microsoft's proprietary Win32 Windows Foundation Classes (WFCs).

According to IBM VisualAge unit spokesperson Dusya Broytman, IBM's VisualAge for Java will not support WFCs. She said, "We are not going to include proprietary extensions to Java." SuperCede also has decided not to offer support for WFC in its SuperCede product. Both companies comment that supporting WFC would be counter to the reason for Java in the first place -- its portability.

Oracle and Inprise haven't decided whether to support WFC in their Java development environments, AppBuilder for Java and JBuilder, respectively.

Sybase plans to continue support for real Java and integrate support for WFC in PowerJ in the future, even though Sybase GM of Powersoft languages Rob Veitch said, "I wouldn't say we see a lot of demand [for WFC] now."

Original story:

Smallworld 3.0 can write in Java

Smallworld's Smallworld 3.0 GIS received several enhancements recently. (Smallworld 3.0 is an object-oriented model that links and displays data stored in a database onto an interactive digital map or other visual format.)

In Smallworld 3.0, developers can write component object model applications in Java, Visual Basic, Delphi, and C++, instead of being limited to Smallworld's proprietary Magik library.

Also new to Smallworld 3.0:

  • added support for Oracle databases; users can install the software as an Oracle database client

  • a new map projections module

  • an enhanced ability to integrate spatial data from external sources

  • an enhanced SQL server providing access to Smallworld 3.0 data via Open Database Connectivity

  • improved crash detection and recovery capabilities

  • faster data transfer to external applications

  • double-byte support for Asian language character sets

Smallworld 3.0 should start shipping in fall 1998 at 5,000 per user (general edition) and 8,000 per user (developer edition). It runs on Windows NT, Digital Unix, HP-UX, Solaris, and AIX. Original story:

Infoscape Fresco 3.0 out the door

Infoscape announced that Fresco version 3.0 is shipping. Fresco is an intranet database-application building environment.

New to Fresco:

  • An application wizard that automatically creates a user interface and a set of data connections with event/action buttons.

  • Live test mode so developers can see the Fresco application, both the user interface and content, while the app is being constructed.

  • Support for RDB-stored procedures and database views.

  • Support for NetObjects, FTP publishing, and JAR.

  • Custom object wizard so developers can create and graphically add application-specific components using IDEs.

  • Pre-built, reusable Java components.

  • Native Informix RDBMS adapter.

  • Charting components that integrate horizontal and vertical bar charts into applications. Other charting graphics include a dynamic status bar indicator and legends.

Fresco 3.0 pricing is based on the deployment environment and starts at 0,000.

PNNL releases Java word processor/presentation software

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced the release of EMSL Publisher, a Java-based word processor and presentation tool that can be customized for applications through the use of JavaBeans and various plug-in applets.

EMSL Publisher was designed for the preparation and printing of scientific documents. It comes with its own text engine, in two versions -- EMSL Publisher Lite and the EMSL Publisher Professional.

  • Publisher Lite is a word processor/presentation package that lets users display and edit the JavaBeans that rest within documents.

  • Publisher Professional offers automatic journal styling, chemical and mathematical equation setting, a citations database, and distributed document server technologies. It includes floating or embedded frames for JavaBeans and the ability to customize the entire document format for all relevant sections.

The document server allows multiple users to access and edit a single document, delivering record-locking and version control. And Publisher has a built-in citations database, so users can place references into the document and be automatically styled.

The JDK 1.1-compatible software runs on Windows 95/NT, Macintosh, Solaris, and most other Unix platforms.

O'Reilly releases a Java security book

O'Reilly recently released Java Security, a book by Scott Oaks that explores aspects of -- you guessed it -- Java security.

The author details how to use Java's facilities for signing classes or implementing your own signature facility. It gives a step-by-step explanation of how to write a class loader that recognizes signed classes, verifies the signature, and cooperates with a security manager to grant additional privileges.

The book also covers security managers, class loaders, the access controller, the Java security package, and the differences between JDK 1.1 and 1.2.

"Java's security model is, from a programming perspective, a lot more flexible than many people realize," says Oaks.

Java Security, Scott Oaks, 1st Edition May 1998, 450 pages, 1-56592-403-7, 2.95.

Cable company TCI picks PersonalJava for set-top boxes

Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) has licensed Sun's PersonalJava as one of the standard programming languages for all of its advanced digital set-top devices.

As a result of the agreement, Sun will provide a software port of PersonalJava for devices that will also run Windows CE.

"With Sun's PersonalJava software, TCI will be able to deploy multiple world-class operating systems in millions of advanced digital devices, beginning in 1999, while maintaining a universal API for most content and applications," said TCI CEO John Malone. "Use of the PersonalJava software is a major step forward in the realization of the OpenCable API guidelines for operating system and processor independence," he added.

TCI also obtained the option to license Sun's JavaOS for Consumers. And, TCI will support Sun's JavaTV Application Programming Interface (API).

Netroscope and UC-Berkeley teach "Java for the Enterprise"

Netroscope and the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) announced that they have reached an agreement through which UCB will allow Netroscope to offer "Java for the Enterprise" seminars through the UCB extension.

The "Java for the Enterprise" seminars are designed for organizations and individuals that are looking to gain low-pain expertise in Java development and deployment. The seminars examine why a business would choose Java and gives detailed analyses of Java business products.

The fee for this seminar is 95 per person and includes a day of instructions with handouts. Businesses also can arrange presentations of the seminar in-house.

Know your dynamic extensions in Java

Computer Literacy Bookshop in San Jose, CA, is offering a free presentation by JavaWorld author Bill Venners, called "Understanding Dynamic Extensions in Java." This event will occur on May 19, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

Venners will demonstrate how to dynamically extend Java programs by offering an overview of Java's linking model (that lets developers use unknown classes and interfaces to compile programs). He also will discuss the changes in JDK 1.2, including constant pool resolution, name spaces, and code samples.

Paradigm Research announces JavaBeans technology class

Paradigm Research recently announced the fourth course in its Java Technology Development Series, "Introduction to JavaBeans Technology."

The course offers concise hands-on training in Java component technology, featuring:

  • an introduction to JavaBeans components
  • component design
  • component customization
  • providing dynamic behavior
  • using JavaBeans in other component development environments including Crossware and ActiveX

Class enrollment starts in the third quarter of '98. Contact the company for pricing and group discounts.

Schlumberger and Philips join efforts for encrypted Java cards Schlumberger announced it has selected Philips Semiconductors' high security chip as the processor for its new Cyberflex smart cards.

The Cyberflex card now will come with Philips Semiconductors' P83C858 cryptocontroller secure chip. Schlumberger officials said the chip will provide high levels of security for the Cyberflex card (which is available for third parties) and will allow Java to be used for mass-market applications in the banking, telecom, and e-commerce industries.

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