News and New Product Briefs (10/1/98)

IBM offers accounts receive/pay SF components

IBM announced the third release of San Francisco Java-based business-application components, a release designed to help developers quickly craft accounts receivable/accounts payable applications, as well as build apps that can simultaneously monitor transactions in several currencies.

The Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable framework, which is tightly integrated with the first-release General Ledger component, supports such features as:

  • Ledger types, accounts, and items
  • Log items
  • Installments
  • Collection documents
  • Allocations
  • Payments
  • Revaluation

With this release, IBM has also extended platform support and enhanced performance and usability of earlier released San Francisco components.

New platform support has been added (to the existing AIX, OS/400, and Windows NT support) for HP-UX, Siemens Reliant Unix, and Solaris systems that use an Oracle database to deliver single-phase transaction capabilities.

The existing Java components -- the Foundation, Common Business Objects, GUI framework, General Ledger, Warehouse Management framework, and Order Management framework -- have also been enhanced:

  • In the Foundation, performance has been increased by implementing reduced path length.

  • The GUI framework now includes class replacement, persistence settings, and support for clipboard and JavaBeans.

  • The Common Business Objects now have more JavaBeans samples, a components catalog, and a set of beans-generating wizards.

  • The Order Management framework now supports back-to-back orders, quotes, replanning, shipment, stock movement, credit sales, multi-client support, and direct sales.

  • The Warehouse Management framework now supports quality control, replanning, shipment, stock take, and multi-client support.

Also new: ISVs receive 18 months of technical support for no additional charge; end users get 12 months worth of support. The SF components offer runtime National Language Support for English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

NetBeans releases Developer 2.0 beta 3

NetBeans announced the beta 3 release of its NetBeans Developer 2.0, a full-featured Java IDE based on Swing (JFC).

NetBeans is an object-oriented, visual programming Java code-generation development tool that is also written in Java and based on JavaBeans components. New features in this beta release include:

  • Form Editor enhancements, such as support for Swing borders
  • A new Connection Wizard tool that lets developers assemble code without writing it
  • Performance enhancements

It runs on any JDK 1.1.x platform, including HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, MacOS, OS/2, Solaris, and Windows 95/NT. This free beta 3 version will be the last beta before the full release, planned for Q498.

BEA Java initiatives aim at transaction processing

BEA Systems plans to announce a lightweight asynchronous messaging platform called Igloo with enterprise Java support and an SAP R/3 connector, designed for e-commerce transaction processing.

Igloo is part of BEA's plan to deliver, in 1999, a start-to-finish message-oriented middleware enterprise application-integration framework that comes with native Java support, according to BEA CTO Alfred Chuang. Some features of Igloo will include:

  • Built-in security via public key encryption
  • Publish and subscribe utilities
  • Multicaching
  • Native support for Enterprise JavaBeans

Step two in the plan is the Advanced Messaging System (AMS), the next generation of Igloo that sits atop BEA's messaging kernel with improved native Java support. BEA plans to deliver in about one year.

Following AMS will be Ice Java, an object transaction manager middleware platform with native Java support. Ice Java (also known as "Iceberg") is the Java version of BEA's M3 system (a combination of Tuxedo, MessageQ, and object request broker technology acquired from Digital in 1997).

Communicator 4.5 PR2 beta supports JDK 1.1

Developers can now test Netscape's Communicator 4.5 Pre-release beta version 2, which comes with enhanced support for JDK 1.1.

Some caveats: It will not run on Windows 3.1 or Macintosh 68KB systems. Version 4.5 PR2 is only available with 40-bit encryption, so it doesn't support some high-security functions (also, if you're using a 128-bit version of Communicator 4.06, install this beta in a separate directory. This version is, however, compatible with earlier versions.

Here's how it differs from the PR1 version:

  • Automatically downloads messages from server to in-box
  • Allows you to download news articles for offline use
  • Allows you to transfer address book entries, mail messages, and Calendar data between Communicator and a Palm-compatible device (Windows version)
  • Informs you of the message number and number of messages being downloaded when loading POP messages.
  • Includes a Personal Toolbar in browser windows (Macintosh version).
  • Includes New User Profile manager (Macintosh version).
  • Includes a Change Password feature is available (Windows version).
  • Provides fully operational roaming support.

Here's how it differs from shipping version 4.06:

  • Includes smart browsing
  • Adds three-pane integrated mail/news interface
  • Provides pinpoint addressing and scalable address book
  • Improves IMAP mail performance, network efficiency, and interoperability
  • Adds PalmPilot address book, calendar, and mail synchronization
  • Provides a new calendar with a simplified interface
  • Adds mail and address import from text, Outlook Express, and Eudora
  • Provides binary patching on Windows 95/NT
  • Includes a SmartUpdate uninstall
  • Features the Netscape Quality Feedback System for bug reporting
  • Links Linux 2.0 version against libc 5.4.22, libm 5.0.8, and XFree86 3.2
  • Links Linux 2.0 glibc version against glibc 2.0.7 and XFree86 3.3.1

The PR2 release disables most features after the timeout date of December 10, 1998.

Special note: Besides incorporating more Netcenter services into this version, PR2 offers a checkbox that makes it easy for users to select Communicator as the default browser, knocking Internet Explorer out of that spot.

Release notes for PR2: Download PR2:

IBM offers update for Jikes compiler

IBM announced new versions and features for its Jikes Java compiler, the compiler that accepts Java only as specified in the official Java specs and outputs the bytecode instruction set and binary format defined in the JVM specs -- no subsets or variants.

Besides being a fast compiler, Jikes can compute the complete dependency relations in program files so developers can generate dependency makefiles to use with make. It can also be run in incremental mode.

The two new versions of Jikes -- Intel-glibc and Intel-libc5-- are for Linux, making the compiler available on AIX, Linux, OS/2, Solaris, and Windows 95/NT.

Take out the new versions for a spin. IBM encourages you to file bug reports and offer suggestions on the Jikes Forum.

Jikes: Problem Reports Forum:

Update on IBM XML Java parser

IBM announced that it is now offering a free commercial license for its XML parser, Java Edition. The XML parser is written in 100% Pure Java.

The XML for Java package ( contains classes and methods for parsing, generating, manipulating, and validating XML documents, and it conforms closely to the XML 1.0 recommendation.

XML4J 1.0.9 now supports W3C 8/18/98 DOM and 8/2/98 Namespace proposals.

Premier Internet's 2 Newsbreaker Java net publishing wares

Premier Internet announced two products in its Newsbreaker family: Messenger, which publishes real-time interactive messages and graphics that are linkable without changes to the HTML framework, and Publisher, the client-side Java application that manages/enables Messenger.

Messenger is an applet that displays linkable text and images on Web sites and intranets, and administrators can update the information instantly without making changes to the surrounding HTML code.

Publisher is the client-side Java application that manages Messenger. It comes with its own JVM and FTP client. When the app is started, it downloads the current content, controls, and images from the server and delivers up a Web-page-specific WYSIWYG display of the content. The user can then change the look (fonts, colors, images) and navigation abilities (adding/changing URL links, including single-word-specific links), and publish the message to the server with a single mouse click. (Publisher replaces Newsbreaker's existing server-side editor and will be used with two new Newsbreaker applications, Alert and Silent Patch.)

The two start at 25 (1,000 hits or less per month); 50 (1,200 to 2,000 hits); and 00 (2,400 to 4,000 hits). Licenses are for a domain: Unlimited use, single channel costs 50; additional channels run 50 each. (Messenger will disable itself if traffic count exceeds license traffic by more than 20 percent.)

InfoWorld tests JVMs

InfoWorld Test Center's recently tested Java on the server and demonstrated in the resulting article, "No more Mr. Slow for Java," that the concern over Java VM performance is close to being eliminated.

The Test Center tested the following:


  • IBM JDK 1.1.6 for AIX
  • IBM JDK 1.1.7 for OS/2 (beta)
  • IBM JDK 1.1.6 for NT (beta)
  • Microsoft SDK for Java 3.0
  • Sun JDK 1.1.6 for NT
  • Sun Solaris JDK 1.1.6 for Sparc
  • Blackdown JDK 1.1.6v2 for Linux

Native compilers

  • IBM High Performance Compiler for Java 12, for AIX
  • IBM High Performance Compiler for Java 12, for NT
  • Symantec Visual Cafe Database Development Edition 2.5

Operating systems/hardware

  • IBM AIX 4.3.1 on IBM RS/6000 F50
  • IBM OS/2 Warp Server 4.05 on Dell PowerEdge 2200
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 3 on Dell PowerEdge 2200
  • Sun Solaris Server 2.6 on Sun Ultra Enterprise 2
  • Red Hat Linux 5.1 on Dell PowerEdge 2200

The roundup review delivers information on Java profiling tools and how they can tune up apps, links to other pertinent articles, as well as a glossary of Java terms.

The article started out to look at performance variations among different compiler strategies (interpreted bytecode, JIT compilers, native compilers, and HotSpot with its dynamic profiling abilities).

To review these systems, the Test Center built its own server-side benchmark. The test was designed to behave like an application server with a data-access and business-logic tier between relatively thin clients and data sources. The test was also focused on how a solo JVM handled a large volume of client requests (in the form of a ton of process threads).

The test and corresponding workload were both the same app, a client/server online stock-trading system with transaction, query, and report functions and extremely thin clients (client actions were limited to establishing a socket connection, sending/receiving short requests and response strings to the server, and counting the completed requests).

The benchmark returned some interesting data:

  • IBM is producing JVMs, OS, and hardware that seems tailored for speedy server-side Java.

  • Native Java compilation is not faster (and in some cases, slower) than the current Java runtime systems with "more portable dynamic compilation."

  • Faster JIT compilers were available for every system than interpreters.

  • Novell's linking of Java runtime with the NetWare 5.0 kernel works pretty good.

  • Solaris wouldn't run the benchmark without limiting the maximum Java heap size on the server. It was also kind of slow when its price is factored in.

  • Microsoft's runtime JVM wouldn't allow us to set memory and asynchronous and class garbage collection parameters.

  • AIX versions performed as much as 10 times better than NT versions (but it's important to read the article to discover the reasons and ways around the problem).

  • OS/2 and Linux numbers were similar, about two to three times more than NT numbers.

  • The light-load throughput for Linux was about the same as for NT -- and the Linux setup had no JIT compiler nor did it use both processors.

  • Whether it was on or off, garbage collection didn't make much of a difference on any system.

"No more Mr. Slow for Java":

SwingSoft offers SwingBuilder UI designer

SwingSoft announced that SwingBuilder 1.0.1, a Java user interface designer, has been certified 100% Pure Java.

SwingBuilder uses Java serialization features to store the created interface in a separate file (much like VB or Delphi does) instead of generating code for the interface. With it, users can sketch the interface and then associate events between controls or from controls to "controller" objects. (SwingBuilder uses controllers to keep from mixing interface initialization code with application code.)

SwingBuilder comes with a small-footprint runtime system which automatically decodes the saved GUI and associates all the events from the components to the controller and between components. Other features include:

  • Support for JFC/Swing components
  • Support for generic JavaBeans
  • Automatic event/callback handling
  • Support for JDK 1.1.x

Version 2.0, expected sometime later this year, should support JDK 1.2.

For all platforms, at 0 per developer, SwingBuilder has no runtime license fee. There is a restricted evaluation version available.

Quick look: Edited transcripts

The redacted transcripts from the hearing on the Sun-Microsoft motion for preliminary injunction (September 8 through 10, 1998) are available for public perusal.

Free Cold Fusion 4.0 seminar

Allaire combined its announcement of the new version of Cold Fusion, version 4.0, with a free seminar in Cambridge, MA on October 15, 1998.

Cold Fusion is a rapid application development system for Web-based applications. Although it is geared toward XML on Windows and Solaris platforms, it supports Java through CORBA and COM (on the server side) and extending HTML forms with Java form controls (on the client side).

The seminar will focus on such topics as:

  • Using visual programming tools, interactive debugging, and tag-based server scripting to meet development deadlines
  • How dynamic load balancing and automatic server failover can meet enterprise-level scalability needs
  • Integrating new technology applications with legacy technology systems
  • Delivering security

LISA 98 sysadmin conference

USENIX and SAGE announced LISA 98, the Twelfth Systems Administration Conference, in Boston on December 6 through 11, 1998. This year the organizers expect more than 2,000 attendees.

Conference highlights include:

  • A keynote address by Eric Allman, CTO and co-founder of Sendmail Inc
  • The Practicum track of pragmatic technical session talks by experienced systems administrators
  • The Refereed Papers track reports on ongoing research projects
  • The Invited Talks track illuminates in-depth analyses on current topics
  • Thirty-six tutorial sessions on a range of topics

There will also be more than 125 exhibitors in the two-day exhibition. And the closing session will include the Lisa Quiz Show hosted by Rob Kolstad.

Pricing is complex, so see the site to determine what path to take. Early registration should be completed by October 30, 1998.

Oracle8i: Database or app server?

Oracle chairman/CEO Larry Ellison recently pushed the company's new answer to Web-based thin-client computing: Oracle8i. He touted it, tongue in cheek, as a competitor to Windows NT rather that the Microsoft SQL Server database, since it also "insulates you from the operating system."

Ellison claimed this (currently beta) version of the platform would be able to integrate different types of data -- such as relational data, Java objects, and Windows files -- using the platform's Internet File System (IFS).

The IFS lets corporations migrate Windows files to Oracle databases for storage and back-up, while at the same time users will be able to share and search for files across the system. The system includes a rendering engine that lets users view file type through the application they're using at the time.

Oracle8i includes a JVM, JSQL (for database development), interMedia (multimedia content-management tools), and a CORBA object request broker. It will support EJB 1.0.

Oracle plans to ship Oracle8i by the end of 1998.

Intel goes after small-business, thin-server appliances

Intel recently announced a strategy to offer inexpensive, simple, thin-server network appliances to small businesses.

The appliances, part of Intel's InBusiness network products planned to launch by the end of 1998, are designed for companies with 2 to 50 employees.

The Intel InternetStation is one example. Launched earlier in 1998, this low-cost, single-function appliance delivers simultaneous Internet access to multiple users at a company. It works with any computer that supports TCP/IP and supports a Windows 95 client for modem sharing. Other features include:

  • Modem connection with two Type II PC cards and one 9-pin serial port
  • Modem speeds of up to 128Kbps (ISDN) and 56Kbps (analog modem)
  • Network speed of 10Mbps
  • Network connections are RJ-45 10base-T Ethernet
  • Protocols supported include TCP/IP, DHCP, DNS, HTTP, FTP, PPP, CHAP, PAP
  • Java browser-based configuration software

The 18oz unit comes in a 1.5" x 8" x 6.2" case.

Other InBusiness products include hubs and switches.

dynamicsoft offers Java voice over IP

dynamicsoft announced the jVoIP framework (Java voice over IP), an instant Java-based framework that lets developers quickly build-in voice and fax capabilities in IP applications.

The jVoIP framework software modules offer from basic-to-complex voice/fax capabilities over IP networks. It includes the following modules:

  • jGateway, a server-based module that converts voice and fax traffic from traditional circuit switch networks into IP packets, transmits the packets over IP networks, then converts IP packets back into standard signals

  • jDirectory, a module that delivers the ability to store routing and customer information, gateway IP address resolution and authentication information within an IP/telephony architecture

  • jCallAccounting, a module for scalable call accounting with a Web-based interface to facilitate report generation and database maintenance (works with proprietary and third-party billing systems)

  • jManagement, a module that provides mission-critical monitoring of the jVoIP framework system using intelligent agents

  • jSIP, a module that supports the session initiated protocol (SIP) standard for IP-Communications call control

The jVoIP framework products incorporate ISO9001 standards.

Pricing is based on configuration.

EJB/CORBA 3.0 discussion forum

IBM's Daily Grounds has opened a forum on component models, focusing on CORBA 3.0 and Enterprise JavaBeans, called "CORBA's Little Blessings."

Users can participate in the forum or just pass along suggestions. Topics covered include the ramifications of version 3.0 mapping to EJBs and COM-object wrappering in EJB application servers.

New Speech for Java update from alphaWorks

IBM's alphaWorks announced an update to Speech for Java, its Java programming interface designed to help developers integrate IBM's ViaVoice speech technology into user interfaces. Speech for Java is an implementation of a core subset of the beta Java Speech API.

This update adds support for the recognition side of Japanese ViaVoice (it continues to support U.S. English and European language versions of ViaVoice, both the recognition and synthesis sides).

New API features include ResultToken timings, the ruleForJSGF method, synthesizer queue management, and synthesizer voice attributes (gender and age). Some bugs have also been squashed.

For Windows 95/NT, Speech for Java requires IBM ViaVoice Gold or ViaVoice 98.

ProSyst Java Message Server upgrades

ProSyst announced the Java Message Server 1.1 (JMS), a universally compatible Java-based message server based on asynchronous communication, a sockets scheme, and parallel processing, and designed for developing and deploying business applications in different languages.

JMS 1.1 offers access to any system that can connect using CORBA, RMI, or DCOM, demonstrating the same level of performance found in natively compiled messaging servers.

Besides simplifying remote server administration and supporting such existing message systems as IBM's MQSeries and Microsoft's MQS, JMS 1.1 supports:

  • Load balancing
  • Message transactions
  • Message queue
  • Message replication
  • Message encryption

JMS 1.1 is divided into three separate products -- one for CORBA and sockets, one for RMI and sockets, and one for DCOM and sockets.

The upcoming JMS 2.0 will have its kernel in a separate module that contains the messages database; Service Manager, User Manager, and Request Manager utilities; and interfaces to different services. It comes with a standard services interface.

Also in version 2.0, all implemented tasks are realized as services -- services that can start and/or stop while the server is running and free resources that haven't been used by a user-set timeout period. Different platforms' native implementations will be realized (which should help with compute-intensive code/decode algorithms such as DES, RSA, MD5, etc.).

Version 2.0 also brings the ability for several distributed JMS servers to work as one.

JMS 1.1 is available now. Version 2.0 is expected to ship later this year. Check with the company for pricing.

Sun offers Java U training at autumn tradeshows

Sun is offering focused Java University training sessions at two upcoming tradeshows -- Internet World (October 7-9 in NYC) and Comdex (November 14-19 in Las Vegas).

Sun Educational Services VP/GM Bill Richardson noted that session attendees will still be able to take advantage of the respective shows' resources: "We have structured this offering to allow maximum leverage of participants' time."

Sun is offering three program tracks for developers:

  • Fast-track Java Platform Certification
  • Advanced Java Technology
  • Introduction to the Java Programming Language

Corporate executives, senior-level IT managers, and resellers get four tracks:

  • Introduction to Java Technology: A Business-oriented Approach
  • Deploying Java Technology in Your Enterprise
  • Incorporating and Selling Java Technology
  • Doing Business Securely with Java Technology

The first 250 registrants for each location get a free copy of the self-paced teaching CD, Java Studio Basics.

PeopleSoft 7.51 Web Client gets Java certification

PeopleSoft announced that its PeopleSoft 7.51 Web Client has received 100% Pure Java certification. The software is a set of Java applets that deliver an automatically deployable client.

The Web Client is downloadable on demand and runs on a browser across multiple platforms. It supports universal applications and includes a Worklist and Query interface to incorporate the occasional user into the business-process flow. Data between the Client and the app server is encrypted.

preEmptive upgrades DashO-Pro Java packaging system

preEmptive Solutions announced a version 1.1 upgrade to its DashO-Pro Java packaging system, which works at the application's bytecode level to optimize, compress, and obfuscate code, letting developers craft small, fast executables.

Company officials claim that after being optimized by itself, version 1.1 runs 10 times faster than the previous version. New and enhanced features include:

  • New extended code optimization techniques -- Bytecode-to-bytecode optimization capabilities have been extended to include de-virtualization and de-synchronization techniques, which let runtimes execute Java-based applications faster

  • Enhanced "forName" (detects about 70 percent of dynamically loaded Java program classes) and reflection detection capabilities (detects the use of reflection in code and reports on that usage)

  • Interpretation of Microsoft class file extensions for J/Direct and COM, so the software can obfuscate, speed, and execute these extensions without losing the special functionality or taking a performance hit

DashO-Pro 1.1 Professional (with maintenance upgrade) lists for ,695 (at press time, limited time price of ,295). DashO-Pro 1.1 Standard lists for ,145 (same deal for 95).

PlusFactor's Office Pack small-business information-management tools

PlusFactor Software announced Office Pack, a Java-based collection of office information-management tools for small businesses.

The integrated Office Pack applications are constructed around a proprietary database and cross-platform client/server architecture. The first offering of apps include:

  • In/Out Board (built like a white board)
  • Employee Information (staff roster)
  • Ticker Tape (a news stream broadcaster)
  • While You Were Out (animated pink notes)
  • Discussions (for tracking conversations, projects, and customers)
  • Room Scheduler (for scheduling rooms and other shared resources)
  • Calendars (an events-based calendar application)

Each Office Pack applet closely models the physical office device it replaces, with an animated interactivity added by Java.

Office Pack applets runs on Novell NetWare 4.11/5 and Windows NT and Windows 95/98 peer-to-peer networks. It supports most client platforms. Check with company for pricing.

INT delivers J/View3D Java 3D visualization kit

Interactive Network Technologies announced J/View3D, a visualization toolkit based on Java 3D that is designed to make it easier for developers to build Java-based 3D scientific data visualization applications.

J/View3D provides a set of high-level classes for constructing complex 3D visualization apps. The toolkit integrates with other INT tools, such as those in the J/GeoToolkit of earth science measurement apps.

J/GeoToolkit is a Java graphics toolkit with a set of graphics components for display of seismic data, logs, basemaps, contours, and XY-plots. The components are:

  • J/Plot, which delivers tight control on plot layout with its display axes, annotation, grid lines, and scrollbars classes
  • J/Seismic, which delivers a set of objects for viewing and manipulating seismic data
  • J/WellLog, which delivers a set of objects for displaying and editing well log data

All of INT's products use J/Carnac, the core Java graphics rendering engine. The current version uses some C++ code to handle graphics primitives, but the upcoming version 2.0 will be based on the Java 2D graphics library and will eliminate the need for any C code.

Both J/View 3D and J/Carnac 2.0 will be available in January 1999 for any platform that supports the Sun implementation of JDK 1.2. J/GeoToolkit is expected to be available later this year. Thirty-day evaluation software is available for some products.

Live Software upgrades JRun Servlet Engine 2.2

Live Software announced JRun Servlet Engine 2.2 (standard and professional versions), an upgrade to its server-side Java Web application deployment environment, as well as an upgrade to the JRun Pro software.

JRun includes Web server extensions that add Java servlet functions to an existing Web server.

New with JRun 2.2:

  • An integrated Web server
  • The ability to choose which Java VM to run
  • Advanced security features
  • Remote administration
  • The ability to run several JVMs at the same time

JRun 2.2's full support of the Java Servlet API also lets users run Java servlets as standalone apps or with such Web servers as Microsoft IIS and PWS, Netscape servers, Apache, and O'Reilly WebSite.

JRun 2.2 is available for free. JRun Pro starts at 95.

Endpoint's iSales Central 2.0 includes Java tools

Endpoint Marketing Information Systems, midrange sales-automation software maker, announced iSales Central 2.0, which Java-based applications for supporting disconnected users.

iSales Central 2.0 serves up Java applets with a JDBC-based data-access model. allowing salespersons to log in and access and update company data. It also supports offline data management that is automatically synchronized when reconnected (perfect for mobile salespeople).

iSales Central 2.0 should be available in October 1998. Server pricing starts at ,000.

Endpoint chooses Cloudscape Java database for mobile apps

Endpoint Marketing Information Systems announced that it has signed a 00,000 licensing agreement with Cloudscape to include Cloudscape's mobile database products, including the company's embeddable Java SQL database, in its iSales Central. (See the previous brief for more information on iSales.)

Cloudscape is delivering a portable database manager completely written in Java, to be embedded in applications as a local data manager.

According to Endpoint CEO Matt Cobb, "Cloudscape's pioneering Java-based data-management products offer the best technology for integrating with our Java-based applications because they are 100 Percent Pure Java. They provide a seamless, cross-platform local data-management solution for our users." He added, "Cloudscape's cutting-edge replication technology is also critical for mobile salespeople and the perfect complement to our data-synchronization architecture."

DataBahn offers fully relational SQL Java database

DataBahn announced the DataBahn relational SQL Java-based database, which allows data processing at the client level to reduce centralized-server load and network traffic

DataBahn also reduces the traffic load by providing local storage or relational data, which also gives remote users access to offline data.

DataBahn will run on in all Java environments, be they applet, network computing, embedded Java, desktop Java, or appliances with no changes to the existing system. DataBahn also has an 800KB footprint (with a 300KB minimum), small enough to run in many restricted-memory devices. It is fully customizable; just drop or add components to fit the environment in which it is intended to run.

The database is compatible with ANSI standard SQL, Oracle SQL, and DB2 SQL -- the user chooses the dialect at runtime. It provides automatic, transparent data synchronization to/from Oracle, DB2, and Sybase databases.

Application-specific datatypes can be added to DataBahn just by extending DataBahn's datatype Java classes. App-specific Java objects can be stored in the database.

DataBahn is available in Java bytecode. Check with the company for pricing.

Schlumberger intros 8 new smart-card products

Schlumberger Smart Cards & Terminals announced Schlumberger Mobile Solutions (SMS), a set of smart card-based products and services.

SMS is start to finish technology: SIMs (Subscriber Identify Module), software systems, servers, and application development consulting.

SMS includes such SIMs as:

  • Cyberflex Simera, a Java-based SIM that allows downloading of new services as they become available. It is built on the JavaCard API 2.0, and it allows multiple secure applications on a single card. Available in North America in early 1999.

  • Activa, a SIM that let subscribers and operators activate services that are already resident on the smart card chip in their handsets, mixing and matching to created custom services. It uses the company's SIMflex OS, and operators can embed several service options before selling the chip to customers. Already available in North America.

SMS also includes such software, servers, and devtools as:

  • Application Manager, which lets operators easily deploy and manage GSM-based portable-service networks. It comes with three options that support a range of operator-subscriber relationships.

  • OTA Server, an advanced fault-tolerant system, allows operators and subscribers to remotely download new applications to SIMs via GSM's short message service channel.

    li>WEB Server lets users download applets and SIM card configurations over the Internet, so subscribers to customize mobile services from their PCs.

  • POS Server delivers downloading and SIM card configuration management using certified point-of-sale retail terminals.

  • SIMnario, a service concept validation tool for Windows, designed to create prototypes and specifications.

  • EasyFleet is an easy-to-use, highly flexible POS software package designed to customize services for retail and corporate marketing.

Visual Edge debuts Madrid extends R/3's app integration

Visual Edge Software announced Madrid, application-integration software designed to deliver transparent connections for SAP's R/3 system to such non-SAP IT systems as third-party packaged applications, legacy applications, and applications that use such interfaces as CORBA, DCOM, EJBs, and Tuxedo (from BEA).

Madrid opens R/3's boundaries so that system users can now access business-process, information-analysis, reporting, and job-scheduling tools that were previously unavailable. Madrid also makes it possible for standards-based tools to view, integrate, and execute any R/3-specific business functions as if it natively belonged in that tool.

Visual Edge president Mike Foody noted, "With Madrid, [R/3-using] companies can use their best-of-breed functionality and tools across applications. Madrid doesn't lock customers into the limited, proprietary toolset offered by a single application integration vendor."

Madrid is based on Visual Edge's ObjectBridge technology (which eliminates the need for wrapper code). It delivers bi-directional interoperability among CORBA, COM, DCOM, Java, SNMP, SAP R/3, and other enterprise applications, making the disparate applications appear as if they were native to the system.

It requires Windows NT Server/Workstation (service pack 3 or higher); SAP R/3 3.1G, 3.1H, 3.1I, or 4.0B; and an optional Oracle8 or SQL Server 6.5 database.

alphaWorks unveils Business Intelligence Tools

IBM's alphaWorks announced a set of four Java-based tools that combine data mining and statistical analysis to make more extensive use of a business' existing data.

The free Business Intelligence Tools set includes:

  • Internet Sales Predictor -- A data-mining application that anticipates an individual's product preference by what they purchased before. Works on all Java platforms.

  • CViz -- A visualization tool designed to analyze high-dimensional data, (data with many elements,) in complex datasets. It loads datasets, then displays the most important factors that link clusters of records. It also creates full-motion visualization of inherent data clusters. Works on all Java platforms.

  • Interactive Miner -- Mines data using association rules to determine sales relationships between items in sales-transaction databases. It uses an OLAP-type method that preprocesses the transaction data once and issues various queries against the preprocessed intermediate data. The user specifies the weights given to each set of implications. Runs on AIX.

  • Profile Miner -- Tracks the relationship between a consumer's profile and buying behavior. It can also discover popular groups of items purchased together. It uses an OLAP-type method of preprocessing the transaction data and then using a multidimensional index to store the structure. Runs on AIX.

Internet Sales Predictor: CViz: Interactive Miner: Profile Miner:

DOJ/MS: Judge denies Microsoft motion to limit case

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson denied Microsoft's motion (filed September 16, 1998) to exclude evidence of business dealings with RealNetworks, Intel, Apple, Sun, and Bristol. The briefs also wanted to limit allegations on the design/development/distribution process of MS-DOS.

Jackson denied the motion "without prejudice to appropriate direction at trial." This gives the judge the ability to exclude specific pieces of evidence as they arise during the trial.

DOJ/MS: An odd couple

At the recent Washington-based (D.C.) Upside Summit conference, sponsored by Upside magazine, an odd couple made back-to-back speeches on their opposing viewpoints in reference to the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, delivered an overview-style speech that supported the government's position, noting that a continuation of current business practices by Microsoft would stifle Internet-technology innovation.

Hatch said, "While it may be likely and even, to a degree, useful, to have a particular firm dominate a particular segment at any point in time, it is dangerous, unhealthy, and harmful to innovation and consumer welfare where that firm can exploit its existing monopoly to prevent new competitors with innovative, paradigm-shifting technologies [such as the shift from desktop to Internet focus] from ever having a fair shot at winning and becoming the new market leader or de facto standard."

He went on to proffer two questions that could determine whether a company was being predatory or simply competitive:

Is the practice in question an effort to respond to consumers or to suppress the mechanisms that would require a company to respond to consumers?

Will the practice inflict injury on competition and innovation?

Hatch noted that Microsoft's forcing PC makers to bundle Internet Explorer with Windows is not an example of a company responding to consumers; it was designed to stifle competition from Netscape.

Hatch ended with a logical analysis of the situation that generated a prediction. He said, "If one company does exert such proprietary control over the Internet, and the Internet does in fact become a critical underlying medium for commerce and the dissemination of news and information, rest assured that we will be hearing calls from all corners for the heavy hand of government regulation -- for a new 'Internet Commerce Commission. It seems far better to have antitrust enforcement today than heavy-handed regulation of the Internet tomorrow."

Former chairman of the Republican National Committee Haley Barbour, a partner in law firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers, claimed that the trial was a way to regulate a share of Internet-generated revenue into the government's coffers.

Barbour noted that two indicators for regulation -- growing prices with restricted access to supplies -- are not present in this situation.

Much of Barbour's speech was peppered with rhetoric, such as "Clinton and Gore want to make the Internet a government toll road," and "they [the government] are determined to regulate this industry and they recognize that antitrust is the only door that could be open to them."

Barbour noted that the 1996 Telecommunications Act dismisses the possibility that the government could exercise regulation over the Internet.

Evergreen delivers ECential, Java/CORBA business-app backbone

Evergreen Internet announced ECential, a Java-based, CORBA-compliant backbone into which business applications could seamlessly plug.

ECential's architecture also employs EDI technology and XML for data encapsulation. Some features of ECential include:

  • An RDBMS interface that allows dynamic data structuring, presentation, and modification
  • A library of XML and HTML templates
  • An SSL-based, secure-order capture shopping cart
  • Multiple shipping-destination configuration
  • Electronic order gateway
  • Customizable business rules programming
  • A search engine
  • Such extensions as sales audit reports, Taxware interface, inventory integration, and third-party statistical-analysis toolkits

ECential is currently testing in the final beta stage; it should be released by the end of 1998, and is expected to run on NetWare 5.0, Solaris 2.x, and Windows NT 4.0.

Progress Software's sets stage for Bastille Java DB engine

Progress Software announced that the upcoming "Skywalker" suite of enterprise-application development and deployment tools -- which include the Progress 9 enterprise-application development environment and the WebSpeed 3 development tool and transaction server -- will also contain the next generation of the Progress RDBMS engine, code-named "Bastille."

Progress has plans for Bastille to support the latest SQL, ODBC, and JDBC standards, as well as Java stored procedures and Java triggers, delivering high-performance access to all types of clients. Bastille and Skywalker should ship sometime before the end of 1998.

Both Progress 9 and WebSpeed 3 are served by Progress' Open AppServer application server engine. Open AppServer provides a Universal External Interface (UEI) between such 4GL application-logic clients as 4GL, Java, ActiveX, and HTML) with such data sources as Progress RDBMS, Oracle, ODBC, and DB2/400. Future releases will fully support CORBA services.

Ghost Machine VM for the PalmPilot

Sean McDirmid recently released Ghost Machine, a distributed Java virtual machine for the PalmPilot and other PDAs.

Ghost Machine is a 180KB client that installs on a PalmPilot. The client must then work in coordination with a Java 1.1 VM installed on a server.

The server is responsible for processing any new Pilot-targeted Java application, after which the server installs it on the Pilot.

Currently, Ghost Machine is in beta and it only supports JDK 1.0.2. Also, at press time, access to the site was denied (good ole Netscape 403).

Rumor: Leaders to define universal POS system

IBM's Daily Grounds reports that according to a recent Computergram article, "Retailers get Sun and Microsoft to agree on UPOS," retail industry leaders have pushed software backbone vendors Sun and Microsoft (as well as hardware vendors such as Siemens and Epson) to craft a universal point-of-sales system, or UPOS, that runs both in a Java and in a Windows environment.

The companies will define a UPOS specification that lets OPOS (the Windows POS spec) and JPOS (the Java POS spec) work equally well on each other's operating environments.


JavaPC's beta 5 version ready

The beta 5 version of Sun's JavaPC technology, that lets users convert DOS/Windows PCs into Java-enabled NCs, is available for Java Developer Connection members. (Registration is free.)

In this release, developers will find new features such as application caching and audio-card support (as long as they're SoundBlaster-compatible). The javax.comm APIs now support up to eight ports, and there has been improvements to the Application Launcher.

Motorola debuts Java set-top technology

At a recent IBC conference in Amsterdam, Motorola announced "BlackBird," its newest set-top box technology that will deliver a Java-compatible environment designed to facilitate the development of a range of consumer applications.

According to Sun's consumer/embedded division president, Mark Tolliver, "Blackbird, with full support for the PersonalJava platform, opens up a world of opportunities for Java software developers to create innovative applications to support the growing demand for integrated functionality."

Motorola and Sun expect that BlackBird-generated applications will run the gamut, from home theater and communications all the way to interactive games.

Update: More than 400 certified Java Pure

At press time, more than 400 products had received the 100% Pure Java certification.

To search for products in different categories, follow the direct links provided with the following categories. (Note: Product listings in individual categories are not current as of press time -- they represent only 183 products.)

Communications -- Networking (15)
Database -- Database Connectivity (16)
Data Warehousing -- Decision Support (11)
Development Tools (33)
Electronic Commerce (5)
Enterprise Business Software Solutions (9)
Finance (11)
Internet - Intranet Sites (5; including IDG's IDG.NET 1.0)
Manufacturing (2)
Network Administration Software (3)
Productivity - Groupware - Workflow (14)
System Software - Utilities (19)
Other (40)

For the exhaustive, up-to-date list, try the alphabetically arranged master list at

Java 3D API beta available

Sun announced that the beta version of the Java 3D API is available for free.

The Java 3D API development tool is a network-centric, scene-graph-based API designed to allow Java programmers to add three-dimensional content to applets and applications. It will also let developers add 3D content across multiple platforms.

The Java 3D API was first offered at last year's Siggraph 97.

Sun launches "My Sun" personalized Sun product/technology microsite

Sun announced "My Sun," a part of the company's Web site that allows registered (for free) users to filter the specific news and information they want about Sun products whenever they logon to the site.

"My Sun" offers users a range of data, including:

  • Of Interest -- Delivers the latest news and updates for topic areas users pick

  • Events -- A list of upcoming events tailored to individual needs

  • Recent Visits -- Tracks the last page a user visited, so users can pick up where they left off. All the pages a user visits are stored on a separate page; the ones that have been updated since the last visit are marked with an exclamation point

  • See Also -- Links that show up throughout the company's Web site, based on white papers, success stories, case studies, news clippings, and press releases that relate to both the section a reader is in and the reader's personal profile

The Of Interest and See Also links are generated on the fly, using Art Technology Group's Java-based Dynamo application that pulls data out of an Oracle database to custom publish pages.

My Sun: ATG's Dynamo:

DOJ/MS: Government pleads, keep MS depositions public

On September 22, 1998, the Justice Department and 20 U.S. attorneys general filed a motion in appeals court to request that the depositions of senior Microsoft executives remained public.

The path to this moment, so far:

  • Several news organizations requested access to depositions. Microsoft officials countered that this would cause a "media circus" that could expose trade secrets to the public.

  • Judge Jackson cited the Publicity in Taking Evidence Act in his August 11 ruling to keep depositions public in the pre-trial discovery phase.

  • Microsoft appealed the ruling, and the appeals court granted the motion. It also ordered October hearings on the matter (before the October 15 date for the trial), and decided that the deposition would be videotaped in case the hearings went against Microsoft's motion.

Reminder: SIGS Conference for Java almost here

Just a reminder that the SIGS Conference for Java Development (October 18 to 22, San Jose, CA) is almost here.

The conference will offer technical sessions, night-school sessions, and pre-and post-conference full-day tutorials, plus two days of vendor exhibitions. Some of the planned topics include:

  • Swing/JFC programming
  • Enterprise Java platform development
  • Deploying business applications with components
  • Java programming tips and tricks
  • RMI technology
  • The Java 2D API, sound API, printing API, 3D API (and VRML)
  • Testing and debugging Java applications
  • JDBC and data warehousing
  • Servlet-based application development
  • Java memory usage
  • ORBs, COM, CORBA, and XML
  • Security issues
  • Mobile agents
  • Threads
  • JavaBeans (including EJBs)

Help Sun develop a distribution model for Jini

Sun recently debuted the Jini Technology Licensing Model, along with a FAQ and a draft of the licensing document. And the company is asking for developers/programmers input in a questionnaire to stay on the right track for developing the Jini distribution model.

Sun has also appointed Ken Arnold (he created curses, helped build BSD, and co-authored The Java Programming Language with James Gosling) to be the first Jini technology moderator and development guide. Sun chose him to represent the non-Sun Jini users.

Licensing model: Questionnaire:

Kane Scarlett comes to JavaWorld from such magazines as Advanced Systems, Digital Video, NC World, Population Today, and National Geographic. He's not a platform fanatic -- he just likes systems that work (don't issue a beta as a final version), systems you don't have to upgrade every six months (upgrades should be new features, not bug fixes).