News Briefs (11/01/96)

Keeping you abreast of the ever-changing Java world

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JavaBeans specification finished early

JavaSoft has completed the JavaBeans application programming interface (API) specification ahead of schedule. JavaBeans is a compact component architecture that allows developers to write reusable components once and run them anywhere. The completed JavaBeans specification incorporates contributions from a broad range of companies, including Baan Company, Borland International, CI Labs, Corel, Informix, IBM, JustSystem, Lotus, Netscape, Novell, Oracle, ParkPlace-Digitalk, Silicon Graphics, SunSoft, Sybase, Symantec, and Visual Edge.

Apple and IBM are working with JavaSoft to ensure two-way interoperability between JavaBeans and OpenDoc applications, providing seamless migration to client/server apps. And JavaSoft has taken great pains to ensure that JavaBeans run seamlessly inside ActiveX containers on Windows platforms as well.

Developers can begin initial development using a subset of the JavaBeans architecture that is compatible with the already shipping JDK 1.0.2. JavaBeans will be compatible with the forthcoming JDK 1.1 and future releases. In December 1996, JavaSoft will release a preliminary JavaBeans Development Kit that will include a test container, JavaBeans class files, sample JavaBeans code with source available, and early documentation. JavaSoft will host a developer event in Long Beach, CA, on November 6, 1996.


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Asymetrix's SuperCede features native Java compiler

Asymetrix just announced the beta release of SuperCede for Java, an integrated development environment for Java that features a native Java compiler for Windows 95 and NT. Using "Flash Compiler" technology, this compiler helps Java applications execute at the speed of applications written in C++. While not giving a specific time-frame, Asymetrix plans to add other platforms to the native Java compiler support.

Besides the native compiler, SuperCede for Java includes a Debug Scratch Area, which lets developers enter arbitrary Java expressions -- including function calls -- and evaluate them immediately. Developers can modify application code while it is running; by pressing an Update" button, modifications take effect immediately in the executing application. With the Backtrack feature, developers can fix a problem with a currently executing method, pop the stack frame, and then execute from where the method was called, allowing changes to be tested without having to restart the program.

Pricing for SuperCede is not yet available. The beta version can be downloaded free of charge from Asymetrix's Web site.

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Latte acquires a new name and is readied for release

Borland International has renamed its Latte Java application development tool Open JBuilder and has announced that a prerelease version will be ready by the end of December. Open JBuilder is a development environment for creating Java applets and applications. This set of visual, component-based development tools includes a reusable Java Beans component architecture as well as scalable database connectivity.

Open JBuilder will be available in beta by late December, with final release in early 1997. Borland has not yet determined pricing for the product.

Open JBuilder fact sheet:

Press announcement on Open JBuilder:

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NeXT announces WebObjects 3.0 and server-side Java

NeXT Software announced WebObjects 3.0 -- the latest release of NeXT's application server environment for developing dynamic Web applications. It brings a graphical development environment to the Web. With version 3.0 developers will be able to replace HTML forms with applets that interactively communicate with the WebObjects application server. It will no longer be necessary to redisplay Web pages in order to show users modifications. Only the applet is refreshed, which means a fast response rate.

WebObjects 3.0 features a suite of integrated development tools, including: WebObjects Builder, a graphical development environment that provides drag-and-drop application development and binds client-side components to server-based enterprise applications; Database Modeler, a point-and-click user interface that creates database schemas and brings them into the application server environment; Project Builder, a project development organizer that allows developers to create and manage reusable objects; and interactive client component support, which allows users to communicate with the WebObjects application server.

WebOjbects 3.0 will be released in November, and the Java integration of the servers will be out in December.

NeXT also announced that, starting in December, developers will be able to write WebObjects Enterprise applications entirely in Java. The company will ship this server-side Java integration -- codenamed French Roast -- shortly after it releases WebObjects 3.0. The Java extension to WebObjects Enterprise 3.0 will be made available to WebObjects 3.0 customers free of charge through NeXT's Web site.

WebObjects 3.0:

NeXT's server-side Java:

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Proprietary versions of the JVM may hurt platform portability

As licensees develop their own versions of the Java virtual machine, Java itself may lose one of its best selling points -- its portability.

Although most companies are staying with the original core API, there are some exceptions. Visix Software created a proprietary JVM so that it could incorporate its own object-oriented class libraries because, according to a spokesperson for Visix, Sun's class libraries are inadequate.

Natural Intelligence created its proprietary Roaster VM to give it more control over licensing its VM to third parties. Roaster has been licensed to Apple.

Asymetrix developed its own VM in Java's native mode so it could make it run 10 to 50 times faster than Sun's version; speeds are made possible by the Flash Compiler, an Asymetrix technology that compiles Java code into machine code native to the platform on which the VM is running.

If fully proprietary versions that bear no relation to Sun's core APIs continue to develop, different run-time environments will be necessary to support the variant implementations. That means Java will no longer be cross-platform.

Sun's response has been to work with third parties to improve the performance of its JVM, reduce its memory footprint, and add new class libraries. It also plans to implement the JVM in silicon.

Original story: Information Week

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A passport to building multitier, enterprise applications with Java

Passport IntRprise, from Passport Corp., is a development toolset for creating both scalable applications that can be deployed on the Internet and traditional client/server applications that are run on standard networks. One set of code is used both types of applications. IntRprise was designed for highly interactive, event-driven applications inwhich messages must be passed among asynchronous and/or synchronous modules. Targeted at enterprise computing, IntRprise offers persistent session connection through Passport application servers as well as checkpoint/restart of an application if a system should fail.

Applications using IntRprise can be built once to run on the Web and then simply linked, through a tool called Just-Re-Link-it, to run as a client/server application.

With Passport IntRprise, users have the option of giving their applications a Java-based thin client -- one that does not have application logic on it but that is fully functional. When applications are accessed, only new or modified information is passed across the 'Net, meaning that users don't have to spend time waiting for downloads. Java is used as the windowing system for displaying applications over the Internet; this reduces bandwidth requirements while speeding up response times.

IntRprise supports Windows 3.1, NT, and 95, all Unix versions, network computers, and Java. It is browser-independent. Currently available in beta versions, it will be released in December for ,995.

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Symantec offers first look at Visual Cafe for PowerMac

Symantec is now previewing Visual Cafe for PowerMac -- the first Visual Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool for visual Java development on PowerMac, letting Mac-based developers use Java to develop applets. Key features include Java-specific RAD Visual Tools; an extensive component library of prebuilt Java components; a WYSIWYG Java form designer; an Interaction Expert to let users easily specify interactions between visual elements using drag-and-drop capability; a full-featured project management environment; a fully integrated graphical debugger that includes data browsing, call stack, and thread monitoring capabilities. Also included are a high-performance native compiler and an integrated just-in-time compiler speeding up Java execution by up to 15 times.

Visual Cafe Preview Release 1 for Power Macintosh is available now for download. The final product, expected soon, should retail at 00. Registered Symantec Cafe users will be able to buy Visual Cafe for Windows 95/NT and Power Macintosh direct from Symantec for 9.

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JavaSoft unveils redesigned Web site

JavaSoft's Web site has undergone a welcome facelift designed to improve ease of navigation and physical appearance and thus allow visitors to better find the information they seek. Prior to the redesign, JavaSoft says the most popular queries were "Where can I find" questions. The redesigned site boasts a new search capability and a cleaner, more elegant and visually appealing layout.

The updated site also makes more use of Java, but strives to do so only in ways "that would add obvious value to our visitors' experience." The main menu employs Java to display submenus, but visitors can alternatively choose a non-applet menu.

Included among the links to resources are key sites such as the JARS applet review site, EarthWeb's Gamelan applet repository, and JavaWorld magazine.

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Centura presents Java apps at the click of a mouse

Centura Web Developer automatically generates Java applets from traditional client/server applications at the click of a mouse. These applets created with Centura have easy access to a large number of data sources, such as Oracle, DB2, SAP, CICS, TUXEDO, and numerous other databases.

According to Helmut Wilke, European vice president of Centura Software, "Centura Web Developer develops Java code transparently from a powerful and proven development environment, offering a unique path from traditional client/server technology to new Web-based applications."

Centura's Java generation will be available as part of Centura Web Developer at the end of 1996.

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CommTouch lets Java VMs keep in e-touch

CommTouch Software has parlayed its Pronto96 Internet E-mail software into the Java world with Pronto Java. Pronto Java provides a powerful, compact email solution for both the Internet and intranets, and it runs on any Java virtual machine (JVM), including network computers, PDAs, PCs, Macs, and Unix workstations.

Pronto Java can run as a standalone email client or as a Java applet. Using capabilities of the Internet Mail Access Protocol (IMAP4) standard, Pronto Java can store email folders on servers so messages can be saved even with a diskless client.

Pronto Java will be available December 1996 for 9 per single-user copy, with substantial discounts for quantity purchases.

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Java CORBA: Problems on the horizon

IBM, Netscape, Oracle, and Sun are betting on the Object Management Group's CORBA to help customers distribute Java-based applications over the Internet, by accepting CORBA's key communications component -- the Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP). But Microsoft's version -- a new open version of ActiveX/Distributed Component Object Model -- may beat them to the market.

Some developers are looking to mix Java objects with different vendors' ORBs, so they can develop ways for IIOP-compliant objects to access legacy databases and exchange information across intranets and the Internet. Currently, though, those who want to use specific-vendor CORBA-compliant ORBs have to write a version of the Java applet for each one -- because there's no standard for mapping CORBA's descriptive language to the Java programming language. Since that one key mapping standard won't be resolved until next year (proposals are due in December 1996), the companies that put their eggs in the CORBA basket may find that, at least for now, their system will not work as smoothly as they might have hoped.

Right now, three companies sell Java ORB products: Sun, Iona, and Visigenic Software. Each is expected to sell its version as the standard.

Original story: Network World

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EarthWeb and Sun join forces

As part of a strategic alliance between EarthWeb and Sun, JavaSoft has endorsed Gamelan as the only official resource directory for Java. EarthWeb and JavaSoft will collaborate on developing editorial content, promoting Java, and adding information resources for the Java development community. The two companies expect to link their Web sites as a sort of enhanced Java information repository.

Gamelan was founded in October 1995, serving as the central place for Java resources and other emerging Internet technologies. EarthWeb develops Java software and next-generation Internet services. Its EarthWeb Chat is used by approximately 10,000 Web sites worldwide, making it one of the most widely used Java products today.

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Insignia brings Windows-Based apps to Sun's JavaStations

Insignia Solutions and Sun Microsystems recently agreed to collaborate to define a set of thin client specifications based on the X Window System and Java standards. The first result: the NTRIGUE X client for Java. This new client is an applet designed to let Sun's new JavaStation network computer run Windows applications via an NTRIGUE server, and is optimized for high performance over LANs and intranet environments or via remote access, including over the Internet, according to Insignia.

Sun is bundling Insignia's X client for Java on its new JavaStations to give its users the ability to run Windows 95, Windows 3.x and Windows NT applications, while Insignia plans to implement the technology in its own server products.

"We've had a long-standing and very successful relationship with Sun, and are very excited about this latest development," said Robert P. Lee, Insignia Solutions' president and CEO, referring to the alliance. "Our tradition of platform impartiality, a principle that defines the very essence of Java, makes our work with Sun on this project especially appropriate."

Insignia Solutions (related press release, data sheets, and so on):

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Novera previews Java-based network software platform

An "intelligent network software platform" is coming soon from Novera Software. Written entirely in Java, this platform will be able to deploy large-scale applications across enterprises in a single bound. The company is already on its second round of beta testing of the platform and is shooting to ship by the middle of November. The platform is designed for large companies building intranets and for software developers creating intranet tools. It will enable users to extend large-scale, Java applications to any operating system. The platform will also support Microsoft's ActiveX technology.

Novera announced (without details) that Corel has signed on as its first customer.

Original story: PC Week

Novera information:

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Navigator 4.0 to add Symantec's JIT compiler

For Navigator 4.0, Netscape has licensed Symantec's new just-in- time (JIT) Java compiler, touted by Symantec as "by far the fastest JIT compiler on the entire planet." (Microsoft swears it makes the world's fastest JIT compiler for Java.)

Borland International is reportedly not very happy with the decision. Until version 4.0, Borland had supplied Navigator's JIT compiler of choice. A Borland official said, "We are a licensee of their technology, and they of ours. How they use it is up to them."

Original story: InfoWorld

Symantec JIT info:

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Microsoft delivers SDK for Java

In another attempt to envelop the Java market, Microsoft unveiled the Microsoft Software Development Kit (SDK) for Java, which lets developers run any Java application on the Windows 95 or Windows NT operating system using the Win32 virtual machine for Java. Developers can integrate new or existing native code with Java applications and integrate ActiveX controls and Component Object Model (COM) objects written in any language with Java applications. The product can also create stand-alone Java applications that do not have to run in a browser.

The SDK (which includes Java class libraries, utilities, documentation, sample source code, and the Win32 virtual machine) can be used with the Visual J++ development tool or any Java development tool. Expect tighter integration with Visual J++ during the product's next major release.

With the currently available SDK, you can build international applications with Unicode support and create 3-D graphics applications in Java with access to DirectX hardware acceleration technology. In addition, developers can package multiple Java applications into a single compact file.

Borland International, Metrowerks, and Powersoft have announced that they will incorporate the SDK and the Win32 virtual machine into their Latte, CodeWarrior, and Optima++ products, respectively.

Original story: PC Week

Microsoft SDK for Java:

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netOS 2.0 features improved Java performance

HDS released the second generation of its network computer operating system, netOS 2.0, which provides a new PC-style interface, tighter Windows NT integration, improved Java performance, and the ability to run Windows applications over the Internet.

netOS 2.0 is available immediately in HDS's @workStation line of business network computers, and is available under license to other manufacturers to enable them to manufacture application-specific network computers for a variety of target markets.

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Beta of Java software developer kit to be released for NetWare

Novell will release a beta version of a software developer kit (SDK) for Java that includes the Java virtual machine for NetWare and a just-in-time compiler for faster running code. Using the kit, Java developers will be able to author distributed applets on NetWare without writing NetWare Loadable Modules (NLMs). (NLMs are considered a difficult development platform.)

The general-release Java SDK is due the first week of December. Novell has pledged that third-party development tools will work with the NetWare iteration of the JVM. The Java SDK will be available to developers registered in Novell's DeveloperNet program.

Original story: InfoWorld

SDK for Java:

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OneWave links Java and legacy systems

OneWave has upgraded its Enterprise development environment with the launch of version 2.2, which includes new support for Java. With version 2.2, customers can extend a Java applet to quickly and easily access line-of-business applications running on companies' legacy and client/server systems, from any intranet or Internet platform.

OneWave Enterprise 2.2 allows organizations to integrate data and transactions from existing business systems, such as SAP, Baan, PeopleSoft, and Illustra, all with an interactive Java interface. With OneWave Enterprise 2.2 developers can leverage existing technology and reduce software development time and costs through customizable software components that integrate back-end systems. It simplifies access to them through a variety of front-end options. Version 2.2 uses standard Internet protocols, component-based, object-oriented technology, and a scaleable multi-tier architecture.

OneWave Enterprise 2.2 is available now.

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Corel Office for Java to run on Microware's OS-9

Corel has chosen Microware Systems' OS-9 system software for use in its Java-based products. In a cross-licensing agreement, Microware will return the favor by licensing the Corel Application Framework (CAF) and offering Corel Office for Java software as part of a single-source software solution for customers.

This alliance allows Corel and Microware to incorporate cross-platform compatibility into low-cost Internet-enabled appliances.

Microware OS-9:

Corel Office for Java:

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ObjectShare spearheads ParcPlace-Digitalk's Java efforts

ParcPlace-Digitalk has formed ObjectShare Systems Inc., an independent division designed to spearhead the corporation's Java market activities. ObjectShare's mission is to provide developers with both best-of-breed tools and a broad range of components.

Parts for Java is the flagship product from ObjectShare. Released in July, it is a visual development tool for use with Java that provides developers with: a fully visual Java development environment; the ability to explore, construct, and understand Java code; and an easily extensible system for adding new Java components to the development toolkit. Parts for Java facilitates the rapid creation of Java applets and applications by simply dragging, dropping, and linking components, which eliminates the need for complex Java coding.

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Pencil Me In schedules your life in Java

Using the Netscape Open Network Environment (ONE), Sarrus Software has developed a pure Java version of its Pencil Me In software -- an enterprise scheduling product. Sarrus chose the Netscape ONE platform for its extensive library of Java objects. Pencil Me In Web Edition is a full-featured, Java-based scheduling solution with an open, object-oriented API. Written entirely in Java for platform independence and seamless integration with corporate intranets, it combines an open, scaleable scheduling server with an intuitive calendar interface. And it uses a standard SQL database as its data store.

Netscape ONE is a standards-based platform for creating a new generation of network applications that unifies into a single platform the standards of the Internet, such as HTTP, HTML, LDAP, and Java, and a tool chest of open, cross-platform technologies. Netscape ONE combines Javascript 1.1 (an enhanced Java-scripting environment); Java-based Netscape Internet Foundation Classes; and support for a distributed object model based on the Internet Inter-Orb Protocol (IIOP) standard with Netscape's leading line of Java-based clients, servers, and tools.

Pencil Me In information:

Netscape ONE:

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Sun, EPS, and USPS deliver Java Internet application

Sun and Enterprise Productivity Systems (EPS) are working with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to deploy a new Java-based electronic forms application called Web Forms -- to support bulk mail services that generate billions of dollars a year in revenue.

Web Forms lets customers easily and quickly generate and submit bulk mail acceptance forms via software they download from the Internet. It provides the USPS and its customers with several important benefits: time and money savings due to built-in intelligent functions that help to create error-free forms and to speedily submit forms electronically; Web Forms software can be downloaded from all available platforms.

The U.S. Postal Service will beta test the first Java-based postage statement application with select business customers in early November, with general availability on the Internet scheduled late in 1996. All 13 versions of the service's current postage statements will be available on the Internet by mid-1997.

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Symantec's Visual Cafe Pro adds database functionality to applets and apps

With Visual Cafe Pro from Symantec Corp., users will be able to develop applets and applications that connect to relational databases. This rapid-application-development tool provides wizards for creating forms automaticall on top of existing database tables. It also allows users to create standard Web forms and tables. Visual Cafe Pro enables the quick and simple creation of forms by dragging and dropping fields to database forms.

The following are a few of the features planned for inclusion in Visual Cafe Pro: dbANYWHERE Workgroup Server; a local relational database engine; 100% JDBC-compatible API with support for open standards; the Java extension API; and wizards for easily creating applets and applications that bind to database tables.

Visual Cafe Pro is designed to run on Windows 95 and NT and is planned for release in December. It will be priced at 99.

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Stingray Software announces Objective Grid 1.2

Stingray Software has released an update to Objective Grid 1.2, its Visual C++/Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) tool. The update includes a 300% performance increase, new control-type support, and OLE drag-and-drop support.

Objective Grid 1.2 includes the following new cell types: Rich Text Format Edit, a control based on the Win32 RTF edit common control that gives users a choice of fonts and text size in a single Objective Grid cell; Masked Edit, a control that allows developers to restrict data entry on a cell-by-cell level, which makes data entry easier; Colorwell, a cell type that lets developers place a Windows 95-style pop-up color selector in a grid cell; and Progress Cell, which shows users the status of an operation in a grid cell.

Objective Grid 1.2 is shipping now and costs 95; this price includes full source code and 60 days of technical support. Customers who already own Objective Grid will receive the update for free. Subscriptions to Objective Grid are available for 95 and include three updates and one year of technical support.

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Pure Atria supports Sun's Java enterprise computing with ASQ toolset

Pure Atria announced it will provide automated software quality tools (ASQ) that support Sun's Java enterprise computing. The toolset will make it possible to build complex, distributed intranet applications on Unix systems. The tools are designed to help software development organizations that are moving to Java manage software versions and tests, track changes and defects, and test application performance and scalability. The ASQ toolset consists of ClearCase, PureTestExpert, PureDDTS, and PurePerformix/Web.

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Rogue Wave ports Java products to new JavaOS

For its current and future Java tools, Rogue Wave has pledged support for the JavaStation and the new JavaOS. The current Jtools, Jwidgets, and Jmoney will all be available on the JavaOS before the end of the year.

Rogue Wave has developed a beta version of Object Factory For Java, a rapid application development (RAD) tool that runs on Solaris. Object Factory For Java provides a code generator that integrates a GUI builder with relational database access through a three-tier architecture. The implementation is in the Java language on the client side, with Rogue Wave's DBTools.h++ providing native database access from the middle tier.

Object Factory For Java runs on Windows and major Unix platforms, producing code that runs on these platforms and on the new JavaOS. It also supports major relational databases, making it a good tool for large, complex, distributed applications for industries such as telecommunications and financial services.

Object Factory For Java is planned for release in the first quarter of 1997. Pricing has not yet been established.

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MindQ eases path to Java and Visual J++ with two new CD-ROMs

Two new CD-ROMs have been added to MindQ's "Java Programming Series." Hands-on Java Programming Using Microsoft Visual J++ and Java Programming and Core Class Libraries help programmers and software developers who are familiar with the Java basics build new skills through real-time interactivity. The two CDs follow MindQ's first Java CD-ROM -- An Introduction to Programming Java Applets.

The CD-ROMs teach users through interactive code examples, video, narration, hyperlinks, on-screen simulations, online help, glossaries, and hands-on, step-by-step exercises. Immediate feedback is given, and there is an option of additional instruction. Newly-learned skills can be applied directly to actual applications.

The CD-ROMs require an 80486- or Pentium-based personal computer running Windows 95 or Windows NT, SVGA video, double-speed or faster CD-ROM, 8 megabytes of RAM, and 3 megabytes of hard-disk space. A sound card and speakers are recommended. Point-and-click links to Internet sites require Internet access.

Java Programming and Core Class Libraries costs 9.95, and Hands-on Java Programming Using Microsoft Visual J++ costs 9.95.

Hands-on Java Programming Using Microsoft Visual J++:

Java Programming and Core Class Libraries:

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ObjectSpace's Java Generic Library (JGL) bundled with Visual J++, CodeWarrior

ObjectSpace has agreed to include its Java Generic Library (JGL) with Microsoft's Visual J++ Java Development Environment. The JGL, a comprehensive set of reusable containers and algorithms for Java, has more than 11 data structures and 75 generic algorithms.

In another announcement, ObjectSpace and Metrowerks have agreed to include the JGL with Metrowerks' CodeWarrior Java Development Environment.



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