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

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The Executive Suite is made up of three parts: Warehouse Executive, Warehouse Directory, and Quality Manager. Warehouse Executive is a development environment for moving data from operational databases to a data warehouse or data mart. Warehouse Directory is a metadata directory. Quality Manager is a tool to audit and manage data quality. The Executive Suite's GUI has been converted to a 32-bit system, with simplified scripting and enhanced editors for graphics, mapping, and transformation.

Also, new features include workflow capabilities for collaborative development and integration with a main-memory database from TimesTen Performance Software.

The new Java-based Transformation Engine is a "code-transparent" engine that lets users write data extraction and transformation procedures that can be deployed on any Java-enabled platform. According to officials, the engine developers can take transformation routines and install them wherever they're needed in a data warehouse framework. This should make it easier to take data from operational systems and reconfigure it for inclusion in a data mart.

The upgrade is expected in summer 1998. Licensing fees start at 5,000.

Original story:

Stingray/Rogue Wave upgrades Objective Toolkit to version 5.2

Stingray Software (a division of Rogue Wave) announced Objective Toolkit 5.2, an update to the set of more than 60 MFC extensions.

Objective Toolkit 5.2 contains architectural improvements to existing components, as well as the following new features:

  • dockable bitmapped menu support

  • redesigned Workspace Manager that adds support for multiple views per document, dynamic control-bar creation, storage-to-file or storage-to-registry, workspace-versioning control, full DockingViews support, and activation-state persistence

  • tree control, which adds native support for sub-item text storage, overlay images, multicolumn editing, and IntellMouse

Enhancements include the following:

  • the menu bar class now delivers the same support found in Microsoft Office and Developer Studio

  • tree control provides enhancements to the keyboard selection interface, notification messaging, and painting routines

  • the build system has been componentized to let developers build into more than 40 different distinct pieces to minimize the size of DLLs

Objective Toolkit 5.2 is priced at 95 (including source code and 60 days of technical support).

GraphOn GO-Joe 2.0 goes faster and farther

GraphOn announced GO-Joe 2.0, an upgrade to its thin-client X server for Java-enabled displays. The upgrade serves up increased performance and extended platform support.

GO-Joe 2.0 uses GraphOn's unified server, which drives all GraphOn's thin clients, including GO-Global for Windows and GO-Between for Microsoft's Windows Terminal Server (WTS).

Version 2.0 adds support for AIX and DEC Alpha server platforms. (Already on board are SunOS, Solaris, HP-UX, and SCO OpenServer.)

Developers eventually will be able to evaluate GO-Joe by picking up a copy at the company's Web site, but at press time, the evaluation download was not available.

Net-It Central 2.5 upgrade ready

Net-It Central 2.5 is available; it is a new version of Net-It Software's server-based software that allows end-user departments to instantly publish documents to the intranet. Enhancements include improved back-office operation, and hyperlink and Java font support.

New features of Net-It Central 2.5 include

  • enhanced back-office operation -- now Net-It Central can run as a Microsoft Windows NT service

  • remote control using the Windows NT Server Manager

  • automatic recognition and retention of hyperlinks included in any desktop document, even if the application itself isn't capable of turning the text into an active hyperlink

  • user-customized font retention/substitution

Net-It Central 2.5 costs ,995 per server; the Professional Edition (with open API document-management integration, groupware, and custom solutions) runs for ,995.

Apple's new OS easier on application rewrites

At the recent annual Apple developers conference, Steve Jobs announced that Apple will not continue on with the development of the Rhapsody operating system. Instead, the company will develop MacOS 10, a combination of MacOS 8 and Rhapsody.

According to Jobs, this combo is better for application developers, because they won't have to rewrite all the code in their applications to run on the new OS.

Version 10 is based on a subset of the 8,000 APIs that developers have been using to create Macintosh apps. According to Jobs, 2,000 of those APIs have been yanked -- the ones that prevented such advanced OS features as protected memory, virtual memory, preemptive multitasking, fast networking, fast file I/O, and PowerPC nativity. The ones that are left are called the Carbon APIs.

"It's only going to take a tune-up of these apps, not a complete rewrite," said Jobs. He predicted that most applications can be "modified" to the Carbon APIs within five days, with an average rewrite of only 10 percent of the entire code per application.

To make things easier for developers, Apple is shipping Carbon Dater, software that analyzes existing Mac programs, then sends the results to Apple, which will post Carbon results on developer Web pages.

MacOS 10 beta should ship in the first quarter of '99, and Sonata (which will merge version 10 and the last shipping version of number 8, 8.6) should ship in the third quarter next year.

The MacOS 10 platform will have a combo Java virtual machine (Microsoft, Metrowerks, Symantec, and Netscape JVMs rolled into one). Apple also expects the next shipping OS (Allegro, version 8.5) to support Java 1.1.6 and the Swing APIs. Jobs promised Java would perform at the 3,100-CaffeineMarks performance level: "Our goal is to be second to none this fall in our performance with Java," he said.

New Java Software division VP Jim Mitchell speaks

In a recent InfoWorld interview with Jim Mitchell, vice president of Sun's newly reorganized Java Software division, Mitchell said that the company is prepared to craft Java technology into market-ready products.

Other comments from Mitchell:

On HP's embedded JVM: "I'm quite unconcerned about the competition of someone building another virtual machine implementation. I actually want to see lots of clones. But if they add bytecodes or change Java by, say, adding one or two new statement types to the language, that would upset me, because their Java would no longer be compatible with our Java. And if they're not compatible, then I think that their motives are suspect. They are, after all, doing this without any license from us for the intellectual property."

On whether Sun will find itself in the same position, legally, as Microsoft in the future -- when Java becomes universal: "I think there are some differences. We license source, number one. Number two, we actually made our specs open; there are no hidden interfaces that we know about and you're not allowed to know about. And we published those specs and said there can be clones with a few rules on the clones because of the primary value proposition of Java being 'write once, run everywhere.' That's quite different from what Microsoft has done. My claim is the horse [Java] is out of the barn and we can't bring it back."

On how the new division intends to make money: "We believe in open interfaces and competing on implementation. If someone goes and builds a clone of the JDK, we're competing on implementation. We've got ours, they've got theirs. Right? This is very common in the telephony world. Lots of people build phones, different features, and so on, as long as they all have an RJ-11 and plug in and obey the signaling standards. That's exactly the same kind of market. The standards are open, and they're competing on features and price and all of those sorts of things."

Read the rest of the interview at the InfoWorld Web site.

Macromedia licenses Metrowerks CodeWarrior Java compiler

Metrowerks announced that Macromedia has licensed its CodeWarrior Java compiler for the Macintosh and Windows platforms, to be integrated into its multimedia authoring tools.

CodeWarrior will compile the Java source code that Macromedia Director 6.5 generates into Java bytecode, making it easier for developers to craft Internet and hybrid applications.

DigiChat 1.1b9 enhances Java

ELS and Digi-Net Technologies announced DigiChat 1.1b9, a beta release of the client/server chat product that includes new enhancements in the Java arena.

This release uses InstallAnywhere (from Zero-G Software) to install DigiChat to MacOS, Windows/NT, Solaris for SPARC Web Servers, and any Java-enabled platform.

In the realm of Java, the following enhancements/features have made:

  • A workaround for a scrollbar bug in Macintosh Runtime Java 2.0 has been included.

  • Menu bars will no longer cover the top portion of a window when using Microsoft Java 2.0.

  • Users now get a "security exception" message if they attempt to access the DigiChat server from behind a firewall (Java doesn't allow this).

Other features and enhancements include better server stability, logout bug fixes, scrolling banner bug fixes, encrypted passwords, simplified FTP access to logs and transcripts, a new Server Console, and increased Windows NT server performance.

Developers can download a free evaluation copy. DigiChat allows an unlimited number of concurrent users and is priced according to the number of Web sites hosted, starting at 95.

Tetranet offers the Wisebot Java indexing engine

Tetranet Software announced the release of Wisebot 1.0, a new Java Web development tool that creates a Web site navigational index just by typing in the URL.

The Wisebot site navigation system consists of four Java applets -- the site index, site map, what's new page, and push channel creators.

The site index creator is a text-retrieval search engine that uses the company's Extractor technology (co-developed with the National Research Council of Canada) to read pages and automatically extract important keywords and phrases, then add them to meta fields.

The site map creator generates a tree that is fully expandable with hyperlinks, creating a visual representation of a site's organization.

The "what's new" page creator generates a page that keeps visitors up-to-date on any changes made to the site in the last 30 days.

The push channel creator automatically creates and publishes content for a CDF-compliant channel receiver (Channels Definition Format).

Wisebot 1.0 (the standard edition, for managing about 500 pages) costs 95. For indexing many sites and larger numbers of documents, Wisebot Pro is available for 95.

Bad applet attacks Microsoft IE 4.0

Users have discovered a hostile Java applet that attacks Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0 Active Desktop. It paints desktops white, and can possibly cause users with open files to lose those files.

The 1-kilobyte applet replaces the screen with white pixels; this causes users to reboot if they wish to keep working. If you pick up the applet, pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL keys will reset Internet Explorer.

Sun Java security architect Li Gong said the problem exists only in the Active Desktop architecture. "The same attack wouldn't work on the JVM on Sun equipment," he added, since the JVM has an extra security layer not available with Active Desktop.

Short take: Beduin debuts Java browser for phones

Beduin Communications announced Impact, a Java-based Web browser designed for smart or network telephones.

The 260-kilobyte browser is crafted to be integrated into telephones that support Java and Internet access, with a specially designed small-screen user interface that lets users zoom in and out on a Web page. Users can click on a linked phone number on a site, and the phone will automatically dial the number. And Impact also automatically reconnects to that last place if the connection is lost.

Company officials comment that it has made a deal with a major Canadian telecommunication equipment manufacturer to incorporate the browser in mobile phones but declined to name the company.

Java gets differential evolution applet

Rainer Storn, a member of the technical staff of Siemens AG in Munich, recently posted a Java applet for function approximation -- an applet that applies genetic-algorithm theory to mathematical approximation. The technique is known as differential evolution.

Differential evolution is a population-based, stochastic function minimizer designed to model functions that are non-differentiable, non-linear, or otherwise resistant to traditional approximation techniques. A similar technique used by neural researchers to deduce network functions from data samples, simulated annealing, could also model non-linear/non-differentiable functions, but Storn notes that differential evolution is quicker and requires fewer restarts.

"We want people to use differential evolution, so it has not been patented in any way. Our new Java version runs on any platform that has a Java virtual machine and includes graphics support for visually checking the optimization process as it runs," said Storn.

Storn (with the help of programmer Mikal Keenan) created the Java applet with a simple menu interface. The user chooses the problem and solution strategy from a scrolling list, then fills in form fields with the desired parameters. The user receives two visual plots and one textual output plot.


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