News and New Product Briefs (10/15/98)

JScape's PowerSuite gets certified

JScape announced that its PowerSuite Java components have been certified 100% Pure Java. The PowerSuite suite is a set of all of JScape's products, which includes more than 120 components and 400 classes.

PowerSuite includes such JScape products as MailWidgets, PlannerWidgets, PowerPanel, PowerTools, PowerSearch, WidgetsPro and Form. The PowerSuite components -- user interfaces and system and utility components -- support JDK 1.02/1.1, JavaBeans and Java Studio.

Any product can be evaluated in full-feature form for 30 days. And the company is offering all products at a 20 percent discount to celebrate its certification.

SAP's BAPI interface to support VisualAge for Java

SAP announced at the recent SAP TechEd 98 conference that the company has chosen IBM's VisualAge for Java as the fully supported Java-integrated development environment validated by SAP's Business Application Programming Interface (BAPI).

According to SAP VP Hartmut Schaper, "As a result of our partnership with IBM, we have delivered a comprehensive, object-oriented, Web-enabled development solution that allows custom applications to fully interoperate with a SAP R/3 business backbone."

The move will make BAPIs accessible to IBM Component Broker middleware (later in 1998) and will deliver a way for Java developers to use BAPI features in their applications.

With BAPI access, SAP ERP applications (such as the R/3 system or any app that uses the component-based SAP business framework) and the volumes of data stored in them will be available to Java users -- effectively Internet-enabling SAP apps.

BAPIs are object-oriented interfaces between components that encapsulate business processes and practices. Component Broker is IBM's enterprise middleware solution for distributed object computing.

Component Broker: SAP Business Framework: Open BAPI Network:

Ultrexx delivers Java RAD tool, Visual CruXpert 2.0

Ultrexx Corp. announced the release of Visual CruXpert 2.0, an upgrade to its Java RAD tool designed to help developers craft intelligent, knowledge-based applications in Java or HTML.

CruXpert encapsulates knowledge-application rules in a tool that uses an "almost English" language to build applications, after which the tool generates the Java code. The resulting Java code can then be compiled into platform-independent bytecode.

Knowledge-based, network-aware applications built with CruXpert can be inserted as an applet or in an HMTL page; the engine is a Java class. The software delivers both the Java- and the native-level interfaces to make embedding the applications easier.

CruXpert comes with:

  • CruXpert Knowledge Representation Language (CKRL) -- A high-level language designed for building and maintaining applications

  • CKRL compiler -- Converts the internal knowledge bases to Java

  • Inference engine -- A component that automatically applies certain search criteria to knowledge-based applications

  • Target Application User Interface Template (TRAIT) -- A user interface template that contains the basic graphic elements necessary to access an expert system

  • CruXpert Application Builder (CAB) -- The IDE with a simple, English-style representational language

  • CruXpert Graph Builder (CGB)

For Windows 95 and NT systems, CruXpert 2.0 comes in three versions: CruXpert Lite (with a maximum of 50 business rules) for 9; Standard (with a limit of 250 rules) at 99; and the Pro (with no rules limits) costs 95. Developers can test a trial version first. (Note to users: According to the site FAQ, the CAB feature will not run under any system other than Windows 95.)

ISE offers EiffelBase library for free

Eiffel vendor Interactive Software Engineering (ISE) is offering its newest EiffelBase library publicly in source form on the Internet.

Eiffel creator Dr. Bertrand Meyer said, "In practice...there is a role for both [free and commercial software]. The decision to make EiffelBase free software recognizes this and shows ISE's willingness to work in concert with the many developers who, with exceptional talent and energy, are devoting their efforts to building and improving great software for the sheer sake of the intellectual challenge."

The EiffelBase release includes the library's entire Eiffel code -- the implementation as well as the specification. EiffelBase is a general-purpose library that delivers fundamental computing structures such as lists, queues, stacks and trees. The library is divided into high-level (interface styles, abstraction techniques, option-operand separation) and low-level (name choices, comment style) aspects.

Meyer added that the free release "in no way lessens the commitment of ISE to our customers.... In fact, it heightens this commitment since the primary aim is to expand and improve EiffelBase."

ISE will continue to maintain and support EiffelBase.

EiffelBase: EiffelBase discussion group:

Clean up leftover Internet junk with Luckman's WebSweep 1.0

Luckman Interactive's WebSweep 1.0 is neither a Java-based nor a developer-oriented product -- it's just a utility that automatically cleans up your hard drive.

Designed to "safely" remove Internet-delivered files (such as ActiveX files and Java classes) on Windows 95/NT desktops, it has the added bonus of erasing the traces of previous browsing sessions.

Besides ActiveX and Java files, WebSweep also cleans out HTML, video, audio, browser history lists, IE cache and push channel data, Navigator cache and Netcaster data, plug-ins, recent document lists, and other defined temporary and compressed files.

When running on full automatic, WebSweep uses a Cleanup Wizard that can be scheduled. On the interactive-prompting mode, users view and delete files selectively. Note: WebSweep is not an active security product. It doesn't operate during Internet access; it works after the session.

WebSweep also comes with Luckman's Anonymous Cookie technology, which lets users view and delete cookie files.

For Windows 95/NT desktops, WebSweep costs 0. A full-featured 30-day trial version is available.

Are U.S. developers less concerned with standards than international counterparts?

A Evans Marketing Services study claimed that international Windows software developers were more aware of standards than their U.S. counterparts, causing them to focus on standards when making business decisions.

The study consisted of two surveys: the 1998 Windows Developer Opinion Survey Volume I (for American and Canadian developers) and the International Windows Development Series (for international developers). The standards mentioned exceeded Microsoft-based ones (COM, DCOM, ActiveX, WFC) to include more open standards, such as CORBA, IIOP and JFC.

Besides standards familiarity and usage, these surveys covered:

  • Current/future language usage
  • Java development issues
  • Multitier architecture
  • Middleware
  • Technical development issues
  • Developer relations programs

Janel Garvin, director of research for Evans, said that the company's new, biannual international studies are important, since more than "50 percent of all U.S. tools are sold outside of North America."

Of the 130 developers from 37 countries, 59 percent were from Europe, 26 percent from Asia/Pacific region, 12 percent from the Middle East, and 3 percent were from South America.

According to an Evans spokesperson, the content of the international survey was similar to that in the U.S./Canada survey.

Courion serves up Self-Service ProfileBuilder

Courion Corp. announced the release of Self-Service ProfileBuilder, a Java self-service applet that allows IT users to securely and directly build and customize their help desk system, user profile information.

Updated user profile information is necessary to authenticate users for services and to deliver custom services to users. Besides being easy to integrate into existing help desk systems, the software comes with a simple, forms-based interface for users to update their own profiles.

This interface provides strong security aspects so that:

  • Users can protect their personal information by requiring two pieces of authentication data;
  • Any field in the data can easily become the authentication data;
  • There are one-time code-generation utilities;
  • Transmitted data is encrypted; and
  • You can set a number of authentication tries, after which the user is disabled

The Administrator Utility lets IT users customize the ProfileBuilder for such existing help desk systems as Remedy's AR System, Vantive HelpDesk, Software Artistry/Tivoli Expert Advisor, MagicSolutions' SupportMagic, Network Associates' (McAfee's) ServiceDesk, and Astea/Bendata HEAT.

The software can be replicated along the network for all of your end users. It is currently priced at per end user, with a maximum fee of 4,000.

Datek SOLO mainframe-app-access software is 100% Pure Java

Datek announced that its SOLO 3270, a lightweight browser component that allows users to access mainframe applications from within Java-capable browsers, has received 100% Pure Java certification.

SOLO 3270 delivers IBM mainframe-app access by running on top of IE 4.0, Communicator 4.05, or any browser that supports Appletviewer or JDK 1.1. The software comes in two versions: The Personal edition runs as a client-side app on PC, workstation, or Mac; the Client/Server edition delivers multiple-client support from a workgroup server.

For now, the Personal edition is available free, but will soon cost 0. Contact the company for C/S edition prices.

Solstice Enterprise Manager gets a shot of caffeine

Sun recently announced a new Java-enabled version of its scalable, multi-protocol distributed network management foundation, Solstice Enterprise Manager 3.0.

Sun believes that with the addition of Java, they have a best-of-breed solution that will aid telcos and ISPs deploying next-generation services.

"The introduction of Java into Solstice Enterprise Manager 3.0 capitalizes on an efficient development environment to reduce deployment times and total cost of ownership as carriers rush to beat their competition to market," said Jack Collins, director of Network Management Products at Sun.

Java additions to Solstice Enterprise Manager include:

  • A suite of Java tools, which allows rapid application development and cross-platform support, as well as a 100 percent Java graphical installation wizard to ease installation of the management solution.

  • The integration of the Java Dynamic Management Kit (JDMK) reduces management traffic on the network, allows low-level problems to be dealt with locally without alarm generation, and enables quicker response to events.

In addition, an improved user interface and the implementation of new services on top of the Solstice Enterprise Manager infrastructure allows flexibility and scalability for future growth without modification of existing applications.

Check with Sun for pricing and availability.

4thpass SourceGuard 2.0 combats bytecode decompile

4thpass Software announced the release of SourceGuard 2.0, a Java-based product that shields Java bytecode from reverse engineering.

SourceGuard does this by replacing names with unreadable symbols, so that it's practically impossible to read the decompiled code. The SourceGuard software also crafts bytecode with no equivalent source code, so the original source is tough to re-create.

SourceGuard also reduces the size of class files; the reduction depends on the product, the naming conventions, and the configuration. On average, class file size may be reduced by 30 percent. With SourceGuard, developers can choose to protect or exclude any packages, classes, methods or fields.

The software can also be set up to remove debug information from your classes, including line numbers, local names, the coverage table, source names, and absolute path.

Other features include:

  • An intuitive visual development environment
  • Wizards
  • Support for multiple source locations
  • Support for the ASCII naming convention
  • Support for name mapping

SourceGuard requires a system that supports JVM 1.1.5 and JFC 1.0.1. The Professional Edition 2.0 costs 99 (online download) or 49 (CD-ROM). Distribution with applications is royalty-free and unlimited. There's a full-function evaluation copy.

B&W's new Object/LM 1.1 supports VisiBroker and Orbix

Black & White Software announced the release of Object/LM 1.1, an object-usage and -access control environment that now supports Inprise's VisiBroker for Java and IONA Technologies' Orbix/OrbixWeb CORBA implementations.

Besides controlling and tracking object usage and access based on customer-defined usage policies, Object/LM also delivers usage metering capabilities, helping to determine associated costs. The software conforms to OMG's CORBA licensing and metering specification, and uses the standard CORBA IDL, as well as other admin and meter interfaces. For communication, it uses IIOP.

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