News and New Product Briefs (8/15/98)

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Open Group conference highlights need for interoperable middleware

The Open Group held a recent conference with more than 200 representatives from more than 100 industry-related organizations. Their focus was on the middleware -- more specifically, how the lack of standards, interoperability, and the potential for splintering into small (or large) proprietary fiefdoms could slow and even halt the Internetization of business systems.

After discussing such technologies as EJB, CORBA, DCOM, and DCE, the attendees came to several conclusions:

  • Despite each technology's strengths, there could be no single middleware solution
  • Each technology provided significant features to ensure that it would continue to survive
  • A proprietary middleware strategy is not an option
  • Middleware technologies had to co-exist
  • The major issues are interoperability, manageability, and security

The attendees included commercial IT users, government organizations, and IT suppliers. IBM's Dr. Alfred Spector demonstrated IBM's plan to support various middleware technologies. CNN's Miguel Garcia described an object-oriented approach to handle a wide variety of input. Sun's Bill Roth discussed components that could combine the power of software written in different places.

Smart card companies create card-app development firm

Smart card companies American Express, Banksys, ERG Card Systems, and Visa International have become shareholders in the new Proton World International (PWI), a spin-off of Banksys' Proton smart card technology division. PWI will develop and license Proton card applications.

PWI already owns a widely used electronic purse application (30 million cards, 200,000 terminals in 15 countries). Belgium reports an average of 2.3 million Proton card-based transactions each month.

Future plans for PWI include supporting and implementing the Common Electronic Purse Specifications (CEPS), currently being defined. It will also support Java as an API. The company also plans to place contact and contactless application on single cards for public transportation use. The card applications should also be easily convertible to the upcoming euro, according to company officials, so the card won't have to be reissued.

Investment terms were not disclosed.

AlphaBlox Enlighten gets application assembly studio

AlphaBlox announced the Application Assembly Studio framework, designed to make it easy to use application templates to rapidly construct, alter, and deploy business-analysis applications, as a complement to its Enlighten development tool.

The pretested templates come with embedded business logic. The Application Assembly Studio uses the company's Dynamic Application Assembly technology (DAA), which takes a building block approach to constructing analysis applications that can be accessed from Java browsers.

It comes with modules that perform the following functions:

  • Multidimensional analysis with interactive drill down and visualization
  • Analysis of multiple business measurements
  • Dynamic data filtering
  • Calendar and fiscal accounting trend analysis
  • Variance analysis
  • Open analysis views

Intersolv, IBM join forces on DB service

Intersolv announced an agreement with IBM in which the company will optimize its DataDirect SequeLink ODBC/JDBC data-access products for use with IBM OS/390 systems.

The DataDirect SequeLink data-access capabilities will now include client OS/390 applications, so users can grab data from such relational and mainframe databases as DB2, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and SQL Server. It also delivers ODBC and JDBC data access to OS/390 customers.

DataDirect SequeLink server for OS/390 is available immediately for access to DB2. SequeLink clients for OS/390 Unix System Services are expected shortly.

New JavaHelp release available

Sun announced the second early access release of the JavaHelp technology through the Java Developer Connection.

JavaHelp EA2.0 supports both JDK 1.1 and 1.2. It also includes context-sensitive help, merging support, search system enhancements, and support for the latest version of the Java Foundation Classes.

JavaHelp is API- and platform-independent, a system designed to help develop application help and online documentation.

JDC (password required): JavaHelp info:

Pythia's Interactive Science gets Java-certified

Pythia Software announced that its Interactive Science Tutorials have received 100% Pure Java certification.

The Interactive Science Tutorials use Java to craft a series of teaching and learning aids in chemistry and biology for high school and university-level students. They use integrated text, animated and still graphics, and self-assessment questions to help students grasp difficult science concepts.

Pythia officials noted that Java makes it easy for them to create animated diagrams, making it easier to demonstrate the dynamic nature of chemical and biological processes.

The company offers a free demonstration applet.

Empress RDBMS now supports JDBC API

Empress announced that the latest version of its Empress Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) will support the JDBC API through the Empress JDBC Interface.

The new interface (and application development environment in Empress Hypermedia) gives developers the opportunity to build servlets and CGI scripts that can manage and manipulate Empress databases. An onboard ODBC API delivers a connection between Unix and Windows operating systems.

Sun's Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) can also be accessed through the interface. (AWT lets developers create a full-fledged GUI application to display Empress database information.)

The Empress RDBMS 8.10 is a development database designed for embedded systems operating on Unix, Windows, or real-time environments.

Secant intros Extreme Persistence Java/C++ object managers

Secant Technologies announced Extreme Persistence for Java and C++, two new versions of its Persistent Object Manager product.

Extreme Persistence lets users build business systems that can automatically integrate Java and C++ objects with enterprise relation data. Developers generate database schemes and mapping information from an object model, or they can take an existing schema and reduce it to its original object model.

The software uses a database-connection pooling and high-speed cache architecture to deliver a scalable persistent object service. Extreme Persistent integrates with the Rational Rose 98 visual modeling software through Secant's Extreme Link, allowing developers to craft unified modeling language (UML) models that can generate database-integration applications without writing code.

It supports such mapping events as inheritance, polymorphism, aggregation, collections, and object identity, as well as one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many mapping. And it comes with an object-SQL query framework so queries can be bounced off the object model instead of the storage model. The schema compiler generates C++/Java code from a CORBA IDL object model. The software supports Visual C++, Borland C++, VisualAge C++, JDK 1.1.x, and Visual Café 2.1 tools. No base classes are necessary.

And without imposing an object architecture, Extreme Persistence delivers fully-automated object persistence.

Extreme Persistence supports such databases as Oracle7.x, Oracle8, Sybase 11, SQL Server, Access, DB2, SQLAnywhere, Borland BDE (Paradox, Dbase), and file and memory streams. It supports the following platforms: AIX, OS/2, Solaris, and Windows 95/NT. Developers can register for an evaluation version. Check with company for pricing schemes.

RSA incorporates new security feature in crypto software

RSA Data Security announced that it will be offering Optimal Asymmetric Encryption Padding (OAEP) technology free to its BSAFE 3.0 and earlier customers. The technology is already integrated in BSAFE 4.0 and will be in the next version of JSAFE.

OAEP is designed to stop attacks such as those posed by the recently discovered Adaptive Chosen Ciphertext attack. OAEP formats an encrypted message so malicious hackers can't repeatedly probe the data to pick out nuggets of information.

New servlet publication launched

Servlet Central Publishing, a new division of Electronaut Software Corp., has launched Servlet Central, an online pub with the tagline "The server-side Java magazine."

It comes with the standard features, interviews, and columns (a fair number of them are quite informative). Two of the best articles in the premiere issue include:

  • Tim McCune's "Distributed Computing with Servlets" (with sample code to show you how to move objects in a distributed system with servlets)
  • Gene McKenna's "Java in Your HTML versus Special Tags in Your HTML and Toward a Middle Ground" (an informative discussion of the pros and cons of Java Server Pages (JSP), special HTML tags, and Beans)

The magazine is trolling for reviews authors and real-world case study servlet users. (Of course, if you have time to write about it, please send it to us at JavaWorld!)

The best thing about Servlet Central so far is its fledgling resources section. It has started with a nice tight focus on servlets, making it a specialized resource, but if you know what you want, it would be the first place to look. It includes links to servlet articles and books, online documentation, a server-side glossary, an archive of free and commercial servlets (with 16 listings so far), development tools, and applications.

Etrus' Informix-4GL compiler transforms text-driven apps to GUI-driven ones

Etrus Software announced the Etrus Compiler, an Informix-4GL (I-4GL) product that compiles character-based I-4GL source code into a Java browser interface with a Windows-like mouse-driven GUI.

The Etrus compiler delivers Internet abilities and Web-enabled interfaces to users of I-4GL applications. Users can stay with their existing client or switch to a Windows-based one.

The Etrus Compiler lets developers migrate text-based applications to Java GUI-driven ones. The resulting apps support multiple clients and many databases through native connectivity. Converted applications are automatically made Web-friendly. It also supports double-byte characters for translation into local languages.

The Etrus Compiler is available in limited release. Pricing starts at ,050 per developer seat. At press time, there was very little product information on the company's site.

Core Technology adds SSL option to CTCBridge

Core Technology announced that CTCBridge 5250 Java emulator 2.0 users will be able to use the Secure Sockets Layer protocol for additional security by the end of this quarter.

CTCBridge 5250 for Java is an emulator designed as a Java applet. It delivers Internet and intranet access to AS/400 midrange systems through Core's MultiBridge-32 communications server. Adding SSL to the emulator will encrypt data flowing between the client and MultiBridge.

The upgrade is free for CTCBridge users under contract support.

Visient offers lightweight, CORBA/EJB-based Arabica server

Visient Corp. announced the Arabica server, a lightweight, multithreaded server based on Enterprise JavaBeans that uses the CORBA/ORB services through Inprise's VisiBroker.

The Arabica Java application server supports both Session and Entity Beans (EJB 1.0 definition), as well as

  • Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) Object/Bean pooling
  • Database-connection pooling with multiple JDBC driver support
  • A Server Administrator that monitors and controls building and destroying EJBs and database connections

The Server Administrator also manages Bean Deployment Descriptor information (such as transaction isolation levels, security properties, and Bean-specific properties) and the integrated Transaction Coordinator, which provides two-phase commit transactional capability.

The server integrates VisiBroker for Java and the Naming Service.

Customers of Visient development and monitoring services will get Arabica free. The company is readying a custom-pricing scheme that will offer the server and its source code. (Hint: A VisiBroker runtime license will be required.)

Gulfstream chooses CST Jacada for enterprise manufacturing

CST announced that the Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. business-jet designer and manufacturer has obtained a license for CST's Jacada, in order to give its mainframe Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications a graphical interface.

Jacada will be used to build a graphical interface for Gulfstream's CA-CAS/AD 3270-based manufacturing ERP application from Computer Associates. The system is used not only for design and manufacturing, but also for inventory and purchasing. One reason Gulfstream chose Jacada was because it could span the various legacy applications and combine the different screens into a single GUI.

According to Gulfstream systems development senior manager Chris Hendley, "CST Jacada offers us the flexibility to reengineer our work processes from purchasing to manufacturing and in turn to gain a competitive advantage in reducing our costs and speeding delivery to our customers."


Oracle latest App Server to integrate Java transaction services

Among other features, Oracle's upcoming version 4.0 of its Application Server (due to ship on August 25, 1998) will include integrated Java transaction services -- designed to give the server better transaction abilities.

App Server 4.0 will also support the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for linking the server to directories from other vendors. (Oracle's directory is due later in Summer 1998.) App Server 4.0 is certified with Netscape's Directory Services. Besides the integrated Java transaction services, the server will also sport an integrated Object Transaction Server.

Oracle plans to have version 4.0 support Enterprise JavaBeans, ODBC, JDBC, and CORBA, including enhanced compatibility with IIOP, as well as better dynamic multithreaded architecture scalability and dynamic load balancing.

Secant readies Extreme Enterprise Server

Secant Technologies has plans to release the Extreme Enterprise Server, which implements tons of standard CORBA-based services, later in 1998. The server will integrate Extreme products, Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), and C++ app servers.

With the server, administrators can manage large amounts of transaction-intensive data between new and existing relational databases (RDBs). It implements such CORBA services as transactions, security, events, concurrency, and locking. It will support

  • Mixed-language systems
  • JavaBeans
  • A CORBA 2.0 object request broker that supports IIOP
  • An integrated set of Object Management Group (OMG) Common Object Services
  • Two-phase commit (based on X/Open XA protocol)
  • Enterprise JavaBeans

and will come with a SchemaExpert feature to create database tables and import tables as object definitions.

Secant has plans for the server software to support the following:

  • Compilers,including Borland C++ 5.02, IBM CSet++, JDK 1.1.x, Solaris C++ Workbench, Visual C++ 5.0, VisualAge C++ 3.53, Visual Cafe 2.1
  • Operating systems, including AIX, AS/400, HP-UX, Solaris, Windows 95/NT
  • Web servers,including Internet Information Server 2.0, Netscape Enterprise Server 3.x, Netscape FastTrack 3.x
  • ORBs, including OrbixWeb and Orbix for C++, SecantORB for Java and C++, VisiBroker for Java and C++
  • databases,including IBM DB2, Microsoft Access 3.5, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle7.x/8.x, Sybase AdaptiveServer Enterprise 10.x/11.5, Sybase SQL Anywhere 5.0

Compaq to bundle Novera jBusiness

Compaq announced a agreement with Novera to bundle jBusiness with its machines in order to make sure its Alpha products are ready for the enterprise.

According to Compaq commercial software marketing director Mike Cuccia, "The intent is to move toward enterprise-NT-readiness. The whole principle around Java is platform independence. We expect Alpha to be a major player."

jBusiness will form the application foundation for Compaq's enterprise Java direction; the company plans to deliver the first jBusiness-based products in about three months. Novera also plans to be up and running with Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) support by that time. The upcoming EJB support should help standardize object usage in all Compaq platforms, as well as deliver a single console for managing Unix/NT environments.

And as a fringe benefit, EJB support will let COM/VB developers write apps that can communicate with components running in the 64-bit Alpha Unix environment.


Quick look: Tibco makes InfoBus an EJB delivery path

Tibco announced that it will make its Information Bus (InfoBus) middleware a delivery mechanism for Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) objects in order to offer an asynchronous (and secure) route along which Java objects can move.

The InfoBus is an alternative to traditional message-queuing technologies, designed to provide a secure object-delivery mechanism across wide-area networks, regardless of the state of the connection. EJB support (as well as support for the latest JVM versions) adds another method for delivering Java objects used in transaction applications.

The InfoBus is based on proprietary technology that allows subject-based (instead of the more traditional address-based) interchange of information between various-platform applications. The InfoBus communications model lets users subscribe to receive information automatically as it changes, in essence changing the way a company operates to an event-driven scheme.

Intentia and IBM Javatize business-process software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software manufacturer Intentia announced with IBM that Intentia will create a Java-based version of its Movex Enterprise Management (MEM) business-process suite for IBM's AS/400 server. Delivery is expected in September 1998.

The Java-based version of MEM supports a wide range of business processes that include manufacturing, distribution, production, finance and accounting. (Earlier in 1998, Intentia shipped its IBM Custom Server with a non-Java MEM version.)

Intentia has plans to craft versions for other Unix flavors and for NT.

IBM plans JavaOS4Biz/CE Jupiter device

Sometime early in 1999, IBM plans to deliver an 50 (approximately) Jupiter device that will run both JavaOS for Business and Windows CE. (More on Jupiter at the end of this announcement.)

Plans so far: The device will probably be built using a low-end Pentium-I (to keep the cost down). It will sport built-in connections to Lotus' Domino Server (for remote e-mail, applications, and data access). And look for a smart-card slot for server-based access.

The devices are expected to function as "companion" machines, filling a niche between high-end PDAs and notebooks. Whether such a niche needs filling is yet to be commercially determined.

About Jupiter: Jupiter is a Microsoft-sponsored idea. The company plans to deliver the Jupiter specifications by October 1998. It is based on Windows CE 2.1 and should offer a new interface for differently sized screens and small versions of applications. Industry analysts expect the Jupiter form factor to be larger than existing handheld devices. Other planned features include:

  • Usable keyboards (U.S. users demand at least 17mm/0.69in from the center of one key to the center of the next)
  • Color display
  • Pen support

Other companies flirting with the idea of Jupiter machines include Compaq, HP, NEC (rumored to be planning an almost full-sized keyboard), and Samsung.

Additional information:

JavaWorld sponsors nonprofit JCampus online

JavaWorld magazine announced that it is sponsoring JCampus, a nonprofit online community with the goal of offering Java course materials and resources to computer science instructors and students who are teaching, learning, and using Java.

JCampus will provide a virtual meeting hall for computer science professors, students, staff, and Java programming professionals. (More than 300 professors and an uncountable number of students are working on JCampus.)

JCampus currently offers a permissions area where professors can receive permission to reuse JavaWorld materials in classes. It also sports an index of the magazine content for instructors to use when planning courses. And plans are in the works to publish articles from JCampus instructors and students in JavaWorld.

James Wallace is the founder and director of JCampus. The JCampus parent organization is the nonprofit Educational Object Economy Foundation, initially funded and supported by the National Science Foundation and Apple Computer, with the goal of promoting the development of reusable open code and free or low-cost Java applets for educational use. JCampus is also currently supported by Yahoo, IBM, Sun, Oracle, and Netscape.

JCampus: EOE Foundation:

Schwab moves to Java

San Francisco-based discount brokerage Charles Schwab has decided to incorporate Java into its systems, in order to have at hand a language that is flexible enough to rapidly develop new (and alter existing) financial-service applications that its customers demand. Java will also enable Schwab's online clients to access existing IBM mainframe and Unix systems legacy applications.

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