JavaWorld News Briefs

Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing Java world

Microsoft announces "Jakarta" Java technologies

March 12 - Microsoft will ship in mid-1996 a set of Java-enabled technologies, dubbed "Jakarta," that appear to make Microsoft a major player in the Java vendor community.

Announced is Java support for Version 3.0 of the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser (the current alpha release of that version does not yet support Java). The browser will include a built-in just-in-time (JIT) compiler to improve execution performance. Also planned is an integrated development tool for Java, based on Microsoft's Developer Studio product line. Microsoft has committed to integrating the Java language with COM (common object model), Microsoft's standard for interoperation between object brokers and Microsoft's OLE.

Additionally, Microsoft signed a formal Java licensing agreement with Sun, and agreed to develop and maintain the Java reference implementation for all Windows products including NT. A Microsoft spokesman emphasized the importance of the COM connection; JavaSoft president Alan Baratz called the Microsoft commitment to Java "comprehensive." --Michael McCarthy

Borland releases graphical Java debugger, promises just-in-time compiler

A pre-release version of Borland's graphical debugger for Java applications is currently available for evaluation. The Borland Debugger, written entirely in Java, allows developers to easily set and remove breakpoints, step into Java functions, view variables, and even walk the call stack.

The debugger can be used to fix Java applet code locally or remotely across networks on any machine that hosts the Java virtual machine, ultimately offering true, platform-independent debugging. The debugger is among the first in a family of components called Latte, Borland's native Java visual development environment.

Borland's integrated development environment (IDE) fully integrates Sun's Java Development Kit. Borland adds significant value to the kit by letting programmers manage projects, edit code using a Java-syntax color-highlight editor, and then compile, test and debug.

In addition to the Debugger, Borland will soon release its AppAccelerator, a new just-in-time (JIT) compiler. With AppAccelerator, programmers using Windows 95/NT for Java development can achieve a five to 10-fold performance increase in Java applications and applets. Even greater increases in speed can be expected when executing computationally intensive code.

"Having just-in-time compilers for Java is essential for delivering high-performance, cross-platform execution," said Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape. "We're excited about and supportive of Borland bringing this technology to market so quickly."

The AppAccelerator is scheduled to ship in the Borland C++ Development Suite later this quarter. Further, Borland is licensing the AppAccelerator to Web browser vendors and others to help speed up Java applications on a variety of hardware platforms.

Developers can download the pre-release Windows 95/NT version of the Borland Debugger at

http://www.borland.com/Product/java/debugger/downld.html. It expires on March 31. --Max Airborne

Macintosh Web developers still waiting for Java

March 13 -- While Web developers scramble to get in on the Java race, those on the Macintosh team are still stuck at the starting gate. The irony of the situation is apparent: while many of the pages you'll find on the Web were created on the Macintosh platform, Macintosh users can barely view or create Java applets without encountering a mire of bugs and headaches. Fortunately, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Several companies have Java tools in various stages of development, however.

The release of JavaSoft's Java development kit for the Macintosh, currently in beta, is expected by the end of this quarter. Though the kit lacks an editor, a project manager, and a debugger, it's usable by Macintosh developers who aren't afraid of a command-line interface, and developers can view Java applets on the Web via the kit's AppletViewer, independent of their Web browser. The beta release requires a PowerPC processor, System 7.5, and 8 MB RAM, and can be downloaded from http://www.javasoft.com/JD K-1.0/Mac-Beta1/.

An early developer's release of Roaster, a Java development environment from Natural Intelligence Inc., is generating promising reports from developers. "With Roaster, I've found a complete Java development environment," said Sean Doyle of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, a seed tester of the developer's release. "It's the fastest Java tool I have used for prototyping, debugging, and delivering applets." A PowerMac version of the Roaster is available for 99, which includes updates through Release 2. Developers can order, download, and register Roaster DR 1.1 at http://www.natural.com /pages/products/roaster/. Natural Intelligence promises a version for Motorola 68k-based Macs soon, and is working on Roaster Professional, which will create standalone Java applications. Natural Intelligence has also announced its Java consulting division, which offers a variety of cross-platform Java development services.

Symantec (http://www.symantec.com) is about to release Caffeine, a free Java plug-in for users of Symantec C++. Caffeine will be available for the PowerMac from http://www.symantec.co m/lit/dev/javaindex.html. Those who don't already have Symantec C++ can purchase it for 49.95, which includes two updates. The first update will include Symantec Cafe, a full Java development environment with a debugger and class browser.

Metrowerks (http://www.metrowerks.com), makers of CodeWarrior, is promising a May 1996 developer's release of its Java tool suite, code-named Wired. --Max Airborne

JDBC API integrates Java with enterprise databases

March 8 -- JavaSoft has released a beta version of the JDBC API, a standard SQL database-access application programming interface that enables developers to write Java database applications. The API specification is now available at http://splash.javasoft.com/jdbc/ (where the JDBC driver manager jdbc.tar.Z file can be downloaded). The API is available for public review during a 90-day beta trial that will end June 8. Currently 82 pages in length, the API spec will, JavaSoft hopes, be frozen for official release in mid-June.

The World Wide Web provides businesses and consumers access to billions of bytes of unstructured data, but work is still underway to provide seamless access to the trillions of bytes of data stored in conventional databases. "The JDBC API extends the Web by allowing embedded Java applications to access such data," said Alan Baratz, president of JavaSoft. "Our database integration products will provide vital corporate database connections for making the Java Development Environment on the Web an enterprise information access and application platform. JDBC is just the first of several products and services we'll announce over the next year that will lay a strong foundation for the Java Enterprise Platform."

To ensure that applications are portable between various JDBC drivers, JavaSoft is also developing a JDBC compliance suite, targeted for release in June. The compliance suite will verify whether each tested application conforms to the highest levels of Java compatibility. Also slated for June is a reference implementation of JDBC for the Microsoft ODBC interface.

"We've created JDBC to encourage adoption of an industry standard for developing open, portable, platform-independent database solutions," said Jim Mitchell, vice president and general manager of JavaSoft's software systems group. "We are actively working with database, tools, and driver companies to make JDBC flexible without compromising performance."

Several companies currently developing for the JDBC API include: Borland International, Gupta Corp., IBM (for its DB2), Informix Software, Intersolv, Object Design, Open Horizon, OpenLink Software, Oracle Corp., Persistence Software, RogueWave Software, SAS Institute, Visigenic Software, and WebLogic. --Kieron Murphy

Alta Vista indexes Java applets

March 13 -- Alta Vista, Digital Equipment Corp.'s widely used Web search engine (http://altavista.digital.com), is now capable of seeking out Java applets embedded in World Wide Web pages.

According to Digital, Alta Vista already has indexed more than 24,000 pages that feature Java applets. The company said Alta Vista locates applets whether or not they are mentioned in a Web page's text, something Digital says other search engines can't do. Alta Vista also can help Java developers track the number of Web sites using their applets or linking their pages. --Max Airborne

Rogue Wave's JFactory provides visual application builder for Java

March 13 -- RogueWave has released JFactory, a visual application builder and code generator for Java. JFactory enables developers to quickly create applications by dragging and dropping typical controls such as buttons, list boxes and menus. JFactory is derived from RogueWave's zApp Factory application builder.

JFactory, which includes project management, testing, and code generation, can create both stand-alone Java applications and applets designed to run in Java-compliant Web browsers. The product permits incorporation of a third-party editor, debugger, and compiler.

JFactory runs on Windows 95, Windows NT, and Sun Solaris, and is available for an introductory price of 95. http://www2.roguewave.com/. --Max Airborne

Nutmeg libraries simplify Java development

March 6 -- Thought Inc. has announced Nutmeg, one of the first commercial class libraries available for the Java language. The product is downloadable for evaluation purposes at http://www.thoughtinc.com.

According to Thought, Java can still require a great deal of time spent on low-level programming tasks. One of the areas where this is especially true is in the area of list management. Since Smalltalk has long been known as a powerful language for applications such as lists, Thought has modeled Nutmeg, a set of Java Classes, after the Smalltalk Collection Class library. Nutmeg includes classes to manage arrays of information, indexed collections, ordered and sorted collections, sets, and even dictionaries. Users can also define Smalltalk- or Java-style error handling, as well as programmer-defined sorting criteria (and in many areas, error handling and object selection blocks).

Student copies of Nutmeg are available for 9 (a binary license only). Corporate pricing is expected to be 95 per seat for the binary release and 95 per seat for a source code license. Both zip and tar files (for Windows and Unix) are available for general download. These classes have been designed to work with Windows, OS2, Mac, or Unix JDKs. Applications written with Nutmeg should run with any Java runtime environment. --Kieron Murphy

Java-based GUI Web publishing system available

FutureTense (http://www.futuretense.com) recently announced the industry's first Java-based Web publishing system. FutureTense Texture is a Windows 95-based Web authoring tool and Java-based viewer/applet that lets graphic designers create WYSIWYG Web documents without writing HTML or Java code. Texture documents can be viewed with any Java-enabled browser on Windows, Macintosh or Unix. A viewer applet is automatically downloaded by the browser.

"As the first Web publishing system to use Java, FutureTense Texture lets designers create visually rich, highly-interactive Web publications quickly and easily," a JavaSoft spokesperson was quoted as saying. "We believe FutureTense Texture is the first of a new generation of powerful, trailblazing tools -- based on Java -- that will dramatically improve all aspects of Web publishing."

FutureTense Texture will ship in the second quarter of 1996, at a special introductory price of 95. It will be available at launch for the Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT. The company also promises a Macintosh version. --Max Airborne

Java opens mainframe to access by Web browsers

March 13 -- Java, the current hottest technology, has been tapped by one vendor to perform the most old-fashioned -- but some would say among the most important -- of computer duties. OpenConnect's OC://WebConnect server software gives Java-capable Web browsers access to mainframe data via 3270, 5250, NVT and VT220-type terminal emulation. The product converts standard data flows into HTML/Java data flows (and vice versa), permitting multi-session, multi-protocol access to existing business applications.

"OpenConnect chose Java as a key component of this new product offering because it provides a solution set to a wide range of interoperability issues," said George W. Macintyre, OpenConnect's Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Where forms-based HTML/TN3270 packages fail due to difficulties with common HTML implementations, such as handling real-time host updates to user screens, or finding a user's browser address on the network, "the OpenConnect Java approach means that users have a true bidirectional connection to their host systems."

Java-enabled browsers can download an evaluation copy of OC://WebConnect at http://www.oc.com/WebConnect. --Max Airborne

Java SNMP package enhances network management

1 2 Page 1
Page 1 of 2