JavaWorld News Briefs (5/1/97)

Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing Java world

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"Oracle and Lotus understand the importance of thin-client computing," said Lotus president, Jeff Papows. "By offering these two powerful technologies as one fully compatible solution, we are leading the way toward a new, open, network-centric computing paradigm. While others talk about the future, we are delivering it."

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Intel claims Java runs best on Intel;

Makes benchmarks available

Intel has made benchmark tests available that show Java runs best on Intel Architecture processors. The tests show that a 100MHz Pentium-based system ran Java 1.5 to 2 times faster than systems with processors from other vendors. This information was published in a white paper called "Java Performance." Intel used Pendragon Software's CaffeineMark tests.

"Java system performance, as measured by the CaffeineMark, often depends more on the Java virtual machine software than on the hardware," said Ivan Phillips, president of Pendragon Software. "Due to the intense competition in the Java compiler market for Windows PCs, today's fastest implementations of Java run on the Intel Architecture." Performance tuning can produce a huge effect on application performance. Not widely known outside the developer community, applications created with the platform-independent approach of Java still rely on virtual machine code, which must be adapted to each individual processor type.

"Because Java is playing a key role in applications for computing, Intel is providing the best computing environment for Java," said Pat Gelsinger, VP/GM of Intel's Desktop Products Group. "Businesses can accelerate their use of multimedia through exciting Java applications and, at the same time, be assured they're getting top Java performance from the solid Intel Architecture their computing systems are already built on."

"Java Performance" white paper:

Other test results:

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JStream Java-compresses files

JStream introduces its JPress Document format (JPD), a cross-platform Java document format capable of compressing a 10.2 megabyte FrameMaker file to a 311 kilobyte JPD file. The file format works with JStream's WiredWrite publishing application, which allows users to produce long, highly stylized, pure Java documents with a compact size.

The JPD consists of three parts:

The technology used in creating the dictionary (which compresses the unique words in the document rather than transferring every word as part of an ASCII stream) and the Java-based style runs (which compresses each style into one or two bites rather than using the memory-intensive SGML or HTML tags) results in documents as small as one-tenth the size of their HTML or PDF counterparts.

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Netscape's Directory SDK now supports LDAP

The Netscape Directory Software Development Kit (available now) lets developers build applications that access networked directory data through the standard Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP, RFC 1777). The SDK includes the Java-based Directory IFC, developed jointly with NCware Technologies.

The SDK features:

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Sun's segmented Java strategy draws support

Sun Microsystems' segmented Java strategy, which debuted at JavaOne, has vendors lining up to support Java on various platforms, including Bull HN and Curtis Mathes.

Bull HN Information Systems has decided on the Java Card API and Java technology as its operating environment for multi-application smart card-based systems. Bull has also licensed the Java Applet Environment, the Java card API, and the JavaOS operating system from Sun. Bull officials said the company will extend the Java Card specifications past smart-card applications to its terminals and point-of-sale devices. The focus will be on formal security validation, key management, and systems integration. Alain Couder, president of Bull Personal Transaction Systems, said, "Our objective is to provide the highest security level required for any payment scheme, while leveraging the flexibility and interoperability provided by Java."

The Curtis Mathes Holding Corp. has also decided to leverage the flexibility of Java by licensing it for its coming implementations of uniView products. uniView appliances (which deliver Internet services such as email and Web surfing, and communication services such as speakerphone and fax) connect to your television or come installed on the company's sets. Although uniView can already run Java apps, the company wants to add Personal Java capabilities to its devices. Patrick Custer, Curtis Mathes CEO, said becoming a Java licensee opens up "enormous opportunities."

Original story:

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Forrester Research claims ActiveX/Java speeding past CORBA

Forrester Research's report, "Objects on the Net," points out that programmers have become frustrated waiting for The Object Management Group to come out with CORBA-compliant software, and are moving on to simpler architectures such as Microsoft's Common Object Model and Sun's JavaBeans model.

In the survey, CORBA had achieved only a 14 percent penetration rate in Fortune Magazine Top 1000 companies, primarily because large companies are moving away from building heavy-duty, company-specific applications and toward low-cost, disposable components.

No penetration rates were given for Java or ActiveX.

Original story:

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With Edgeworx VBA, who needs Java?

Antares Alliance Group has introduced Edgeworx, an intranet development tool that veers from the Java path for building network applications. Edgeworx lets developers build intranet applications using Microsoft's Visual Basic for Applications and supports the DCOM distributed computing protocol. Is this just a marketing strategy?

Casey Green, product manager for Edgeworx, says VB is more mature and stable than Java. And, Antares didn't want to compete with the plethora of Java tools already on the market. "Despite the tremendous industry hype behind Java, the fact is there are orders of magnitude more Visual Basic developers today than there are Java developers. When it comes to building Web applications, why would these people want to abandon the feature-rich VB environment they know for Java? The answer is they don't want to -- and they won't."

Edgeworx is aimed at developers who are building back-office applications. Edgeworx applications run on Windows 95 or NT 4.0. Differing from Microsoft's VB, Edgeworx's form builder is meant for designing network applications, while VB's is geared toward desktop applications. To build an intranet app, the developer drops ActiveX controls onto the form. Commonly used components can be saved in a reusable ActiveX library.

Edgeworx is priced at 99, and can be downloaded from Cybersource at

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NetCaster push software to go in next Communicator release

Netscape's latest attempt to wrest the definition of push technology away from Microsoft has taken the form of NetCaster, a push client component that will be available with the fourth beta version of Communicator Web client, coming soon. Netscape also has lined up 20 publishers to provide content for NetCaster, including, CNN, and CBS Sportsline. NetCaster will support 10 channels for corporate use, according to company officials.

IS managers don't see the amount of pushed information as an issue -- they are more concerned with how to control that information. "Too much of a good thing affects productivity," said Richard Lester, VP of information services for Associated Grocers. "I'm going to control this pretty tightly by setting up a fairly narrow funnel and actually passing judgment on each piece."

Netscape's answer is the AutoAdmin component in Communicator Pro and a separately available Administration Kit that will let IS managers preconfigure and lock down Communicator preferences and channels.

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IDC says by the year 2000, Internet spending will top 2 billion

A new report from IDC says user spending on Internet/intranet products and services will explode from about 8.5 billion in 1996 to 2.4 billion in the year 2000. These numbers exclude products and services for which Internet and intranet access is a secondary use.

In 1996, spending amounted to:

By 2000, it should be:

.1 billion for Internet access1.3 billion
.5 billion for PCs6.2 billion
06 million for network computers5.4 billion
.2 billion for servers3.2 billion
.5 billion for network equipment0.3 billion
16 million for software2.2 billion
.5 billion for services3.7 billion

The key conclusion from this data is that the Internet and intranets are replacing the PC as the engine for IT market growth.

Here are definitions in the context of the report.

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HDS lowers cost of NC devices while raising performance

HDS Network Systems has introduced a number of changes in its NC products. The company has reduced prices of its @workStations by as much as 25 percent while increasing performance by as much as 30 percent.

Design and manufacturing processes have affected the changes, according to company officials. Part of the design changes include an upgraded RISC processor and a redesigned motherboard.

Thanks to the redesigns, the entry-level NC model, the @workStation Basic, has a 30 percent higher performance level than the version it is replacing, at a cost of 99 for 8 megabytes of RAM. The @workStation Prima has been reduced from 99 to 99. The @workStation Supra-66 has been reduced from ,299 to ,099. Any @workStation models with 21-inch, high-resolution monitors have been reduced by up to 00.

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Java performance on NCs not up to speed

Network Computing magazine reports Java performance on NCs was lacking when compared to Java on Pentium desktops. Their reason: Navigator includes a just-in-time (JIT) compiler that improves applet performance by dynamically compiling the Java bytecode into native code for the machine you are running on. Many NCs employ general-purpose processors. The fix: In the future, Java-based NCs are expected to start using Java processors that'll run Java code natively, outstripping the performance of today's JIT compiler-optimized chips.

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NetAcquire Java Toolkit available from Real Time

Real Time Integration delivers the NetAcquire Java Toolkit, a dev kit that allows Java applets to acquire, process, and update real-time analog and digital data over an Ethernet network, communicating with NetAcquire server hardware that contains analog-to-digital conversion hardware.

NetAcquire is an intelligent data-acquisition system that extends the cross-platform architecture of Java "write once, run anywhere" systems by adding hardware I/O capabilities. "Using the RTI Java Toolkit dramatically reduced the development time of our satellite test system -- nothing else offered a cross-platform user interface to real-world signals," reported Thomas Leisgang, project manager at Space Systems/Loral.

The NetAcquire Java Toolkit contains Java classes that provide stream-based communications with one or more NetAcquire servers. These classes handle all the low-level details of network I/O, flow control, and error handling. Complete distributed NetAcquire applications can be created with fewer than 50 lines of Java code. The bytecode files for completed applets can be uploaded to the NetAcquire integrated Web server, making applets immediately available across the enterprise. Access control is also available using configurable password protection. The Java Toolkit also provides sample applications and applets including real-time data charting.

The NetAcquire Java Toolkit supports Netscape Navigator 3.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, and Sun Microsystems JDK 1.0.2. It is priced at 95. NetAcquire data acquisition and control hardware is priced at ,495.

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