JavaWorld News Briefs (5/15/96)

Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing Java world

Inferno competes with Java

The Bell Labs division of Lucent Technologies Inc., a spinoff of AT&T Corporation, unveiled Inferno, networking software for delivering interactive media. Inferno runs on many different networks, including the Internet, cable TV, satellite broadcasts, and telephones, and allows differing devices across different operating systems to communicate with one another.

Inferno consists of its own programming language, called Limbo, network APIs, and its own operating system. (Java's operating system, Kona, is still in the works. See below). Aimed beyond the Internet and the Java market, Inferno's lightweight OS requires only a megabyte of memory to run, making it useful for hand-held units and a wide array of other devices, such as TV set-top boxes, game consoles, and video phones. According to the company, Inferno is "a research project to build a network operating system for [the] new world" of interconnectivity between the entertainment, telecommunications, and computing industries.

Inferno was made available for licensing last week, although Lucent has not revealed the names of any licensees. According to the company, Inferno is meant to complement Java, and is likely to support Java in the future. http://www.att.com/press/0596/960506.chb.html.

New Java OS to be announced

Hoping to gain momentum in the network appliance software market, Sun Microsystems is gearing up to announce Kona, the company's lightweight Java operating system, before or during the JavaOne developers conference (May 29-31 in San Francisco). Kona is designed for use in embedded applications with Internet terminals and other small or portable devices. Kona licensees are expected to be revealed next week, sometime before the conference, and will likely include Oracle and other Java licensees that have indicated their interest in creating devices that run Java applets.

Sun also is developing network appliance hardware, technology that Sun and other companies are positioning to compete with the PC as a lower-cost alternative method of accessing Internet services, as well as microprocessors designed for running Java applets. The microprocessors, picoJava, microJava, and ultraJava, are being developed for various communications technologies, including cellular phones, consumer games, computer peripherals such as printers, and powerful multimedia programs.

Adobe moves to standardize the Web with Java

In an effort to improve the quality of online publishing and grab a piece of the Internet market, Adobe Systems, Inc., makers of popular graphics and publishing software, announced 2-D imaging technology that will allow Web publishers to use print-style graphics. Sun has agreed to license and distribute the technology, code-named Bravo, with Java. Bravo will allow a standard look to be displayed to all Web surfers, regardless of computer hardware and operating system.

"The limited graphics that characterize the World Wide Web today are due to the lack of a rich, efficient graphical development environment." said John Warnock, chairman and CEO of Adobe Systems Incorporated. "The combination of Adobe "Bravo" and Java will deliver a new scalable, device- and platform-independent framework that promises to span the desktop, the Internet and the emerging network appliances. This will enable developers to create platform-independent, graphically rich applications that will significantly enhance the visual experience on all platforms."

In a related announcement, Adobe and Microsoft have agreed to combine their type font technologies in order to develop a standard for the Internet, dubbed OpenType. The two companies have competed over font technology for years.

Adobe also announced several other Web-related products, including Vertigo, a Web-authoring tool based on Bravo; Web Presenter, a Web presentation graphics tool; and PrintMill, a tool for managing network printers from a Web browser. For more details, see "Adobe takes on the Internet" in this month's News & Views.

Jamba allows true WYSIWYG Java creation

Aimtech Corporation introduced Jamba, a visual authoring tool for creating Java applets and applications. Jamba gives Web developers a WYSIWYG page layout environment to drag and drop Java objects. These objects are assigned content (such as animation, graphics and audio) and actions without programming or scripting. Jamba will be available in June for Windows 95, for a price of 95. The company promises Windows 3.1 support sometime this summer. Users can download a beta version of Jamba from the company's website: http://www.aimtech.com.

Java books multiply

As part of its Nutshell series of handbooks, O'Reilly has released Java in a Nutshell, a complete quick-reference guide to Java. The book contains descriptions of all the Java classes and their related calls, as well as an introduction to important Java concepts. The Nutshell handbook will be followed by the publication of a complete series of Java documentation books. The first of these, Exploring Java, is due for release this week. For an except from the book, check out O'Reilly's Web site: http://www.ora.com/info/java. Java in a Nutshell: A Desktop Reference for Java Programmers, by David Flanagan, 418 pages, ISBN 1-56592-183-6, 9.95 (4.95, special introductory price).

In other Java book announcements, MIS Press has released Java Programming Basics, a book and CD-ROM. An excerpt and selected programming examples can be found on the Web at http://www.pencom.com/javabasics/. Java Programming Basics, by Edith Au, Dave Makower, and Pencom Web Works, ISBN 1-55828-469-9, 4.95.

JDK 1.0.2 release fixes some security bugs, not all

JavaSoft announced general availability of the Java Developers Kit (JDK) version 1.0.2 for SPARC/Solaris, x86/Solaris, Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT, and MacOS. Version 1.0.2 fixes several of Java's latest security problems, although the famed DNS-spoofing problem is still under investigation. Further details about what's changed since the 1.0.1 release can be found at http ://java.sun.com/java.sun.com/products/JDK/1.0.2/changes.html. The kit can be downloaded from http://java.sun.com/java.sun.com/products/JDK/1.0.2/index.html.

Operating systems to incorporate Java

Javasoft has made agreements with OS makers to embed Java directly into many popular operating systems. Under the terms of the agreements, JavaSoft will provide to each OS licensee the Java Virtual Machine and Java Class Libraries. Each licensee will become a provider of the Java implementation for their platform and will expose Java as binaries in the operating system, providing ready access to developers. Among the companies that intend to embed Java in their operating systems are Apple Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Ltd., IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Silicon Graphics, SunSoft, The Santa Cruz Operation (SCO), and Tandem Computers Inc.

For more details, see "Java jumps to operating systems" and "Java in OS to ease cross-platform development" in last month's News & Views.

TRiMARK brings Java to the insurance industry

TRiMARK Technologies announced TRiMARK Connections, the insurance industry's first application to incorporate Java technology. Through the use of Java, TRiMARK Connections enables an identical user interface to both intranet and Internet users. In addition, a significant benefit of the Java implementation is the portability of application functionality across platforms; simplifying the current process of software distribution and administration.

"Given the complexity of the insurance industry's distribution channel, Java is an ideal platform to deliver the breadth of required functionality while providing the desired portability, ease of distribution, and software version control required," said Mark Palmer, president and CEO of TRiMARK. "We believe the Internet represents a significant opportunity to insurance providers to drastically improve customer service, accessibility to information and, therefore, the opportunities to increase sales."

Drag-and-drop Java comes to Windows

SourceCraft has released NetCraft, a visual development environment that generates fully compliant Java source code on Windows 95 and NT. Netcraft is designed to ease the transition to object-oriented development for 4GL programmers. The product is free of charge, and available from SourceCraft's Web site: http://www.sourcecraf t.com:4800/about/netcraft/.

Dynamo incorporates Java into database-driven dynamic documents

Art Technology Group introduced Dynamo 2, the first open Internet application engine based on Java. Dynamo 2 allows Web developers to create and deploy scalable, high-volume, and database-driven Web applications requiring dynamic HTML page generation and personalized content. A comprehensive development framework based on open standards, Dynamo 2 lets Web developers embed native Java code into HTML files to extend server-side functionality. Java code is compiled on the server to customize every page -- everything from the visual characteristics of the page to behaviors of traditional client-side Java applets. http://www.atg-dynamo.com.

Development tool introduces Java to financial and engineering applications

Thought Inc. announced CinnaMoney, an advanced class that enables Java developers to create applications that perform accurate financial and engineering calculations. CinnaMoney has built-in conversion routines to turn Java data types into CinnaMoney objects, and integrates with Thought Inc.'s Nutmeg classes. An evaluation copy can be obtained from the company's Web site: http://www.thoughtinc.com.

Tool links Java to ODBC databases

Sun's JavaSoft is preparing to announce a tool to link Java applications to databases that support Microsoft Corp.'s Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) interface. The software is a bridge that allows Java developers to work only with JDBC (Java Database Connectivity interface) to build database applications that can also access ODBC data, the most common format for corporate data storage. The bridge is compatible with existing ODBC drivers. The tool is currently in beta, and will be available in June.

Natural Intelligence partners to develop Java database connectivity tool

Natural Intelligence Inc. and EveryWare Development Corp. announced a strategic partnership, which will begin with development of Java database connectivity software. The software will allow programmers to query and retrieve ODBC data from databases such as Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server and Informix. The software will be shipped free with any purchase of Roaster DR2, Natural Intelligence's development environment for Java, or Tango 1.5, EveryWare's Web application development tool. http://www.natural.com/, http://www.everyware.com/.

Natural Intelligence also recently announced a partnership with QuarterDeck, makers of WebSTAR (formerly known as MacHTTP), a Macintosh Web server. The company is developing a Virtual Machine plug-in for WebSTAR that will allow Java applets to execute on the server via the WebSTAR Server API.

Roaster release delayed

Natural Intelligence Inc. will release Developer Release 2 of its Roaster Macintosh Java development toolkit this week. Version 1.0 was originally scheduled to ship during Apple Computer Inc.'s World Wide Developer's Conference, in San Jose, Calif. Instead, the company decided to put out a second developer's release, and has scheduled Version 1.0 for summer's end of this year. http://www.natural.com/.

Oracle's Power Browser supports Java

Oracle announced a beta version of its Power Browser 1.5, which adds Java support. The software also includes a Web Server, an integrated BASIC scripting environment, and support for third-party applications called Network Loadable Objects, as well as Database Wizard to help developers create database-enabled Web applications. PowerBrowser currently runs on Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and Windows NT. The current production version is 1.0, and PowerBrowser 1.5, with support for Java applets, is in beta. Oracle promises Macintosh and Unix versions in the future. Download the software from http://www.oracle.com/products/websystem/powerbrowser/html/.

Paradigm Exchange announces Grinder Java development tool

The Paradigm Exchange announced Grinder, an integrated Java development environment. Grinder features a graphical Java class hierarchy browser with point-and-click source code editing, compiling, debugging, and Java applet and application testing in one environment. The product also auto-generates HTML tags for Java applets. The software is in development, and is free until June 30. http://www.tpex.com/grindovr.htm.

CodeWarrior incorporates full Java support, plans to add ability to create ActiveX Controls

Metrowerks announced that its CodeWarrior development tool now includes full support for Java. According to the company, the product's Java byte-code interpreter is optimized for the Power PC. Java is directly accessible from the CodeWarrior IDE, which includes full source-level debugger support for Java. CodeWarrior's Java products include an electronic edition of "Learn Java on the Macintosh" by Barry Boone with Dave Mark, six Apple Guide files featuring interactive tutorials, online reference material, and sample applets and applications.

Metrowerks also announced plans to add support for Microsoft's ActiveX in CodeWarrior, while Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.0 will include Metrowerks' Java Virtual Machinehttp://www.metrowerks.com.

New version of HotJava browser available
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