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

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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.

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