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- Thursday, April 30, 1998
Eric Carlen's posted a free collection of Java 1.0.2
applets for use in teaching calculus. Graphing
and function parsing packages are included to make development of more such applets easy. Commented source
code and documentation is provided.
- Wednesday, April 29, 1998
Version 0.32 of IBM's Jikes Java compiler for
AIX, OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT, Solaris Sparc
- Tuesday, April 28, 1998
IBM's released the free Aglets Software Development Kit 1.0. Aglets are mobile agents written in Java.
Apple's begun posting the
official Apple Bug Database for reporting bugs in Macintosh Runtime for Java (MRJ).
Some work remains to be done. Only 29 bugs are currently listed.
Netscape's Patrick Beard has posted the first source release of a
Java Communications API implementation for the Mac.
Apple's released HyperCard 2.4 with integrated QuickTime support.
Upgrades are free version 2.3.5 owners.
New copies are $99.
- Monday, April 27, 1998
Live Software has released version 2.1 of the free JRun Servlet Engine
for Apache 1.2 and 1.3 for both Unix and Windows. This version fully
supports JSDK 2.0 and includes the mod_jrun source for easy compiling on
JRun 2.1 supports version 1.1 of the Java servlet API.
- Open Source Books
My request for thoughts on open source books has convinced me that
the open source community has a lot of education yet
to do. Almost no one who responded thought of open source in the sense of freedom to make and redistribute changes.
Almost everyone interpreted it as meaning they
could download the source code from the Internet. Only one person thought of it in the sense that "you may make changes to the source code, and freely redistribute it to others who are also free to make changes and redistribute it."
Books suggested as being open source included
Java Language Specification and Thinking in Java.
For the record, The Java Language Specification is very much not open source.
Sun would have an absolute hissy fit if you tried to change it. In fact they don't even publish the original FrameMaker source
files. Thinking in Java is also not open source even though it's available in its original Word files. I cannot make my own additions and deletions to it and redistribute my modified version.
Merely being freely available in electronic format, even editable electronic format, does not make a book open source. An open source book would have to allow an indefinite number of authors to rewrite and republish the book. So far the only examples I've got of that are Eric Raymond's The New Hacker's Dictionary and the Linux Documentation Project.
- Sunday, April 26, 1998
Sun's released version 1.1.6 of the Java Development Kit (JDK).
As usual it's only available for Solaris 2.4 and later and Windows 95/NT.
This release features
various speed-ups, bug fixes, and the Symantec JIT.
Amazon has announced that they plan to spam me because I was stupid enough
to help them out by filling out a form on their web site saying what I wanted
at their new CD store. No good deed goes unpunished, I supppose. I won't be shopping at amazon
again until they change their policy, and I'll be changing the
affiliate links on this site shortly. In the meantime, I recommend that you don't shop at amazon until they clue into the fact that unsolicited commercial email is NEVER acceptable.
- Saturday, April 25, 1998
In what's merely the latest example of patent idiocy, Microsoft ally
Wang, a formerly innovative company that was almost totally crushed by the PC revolution and has been running on fumes for years, is suing Netscape over a 1984 patent, that supposedly covers:
Fortunately Netscape has announced that it, unlike many other companies, will not give in to such legal terrorism and plans to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.
- Saving web pages retrieved from a server using "Save As"
- Saving files with file extensions and then retrieving the pages and
decoding the files based on the file extension
Mark Ladue's identified eight new hostile applets that exploit various
holes in Netscape 4.0.4 and 4.0.5. Among other things these hacks allow an applet to create class loaders, fill the client's hard disk, and/or
crash the browser. Most are Netscape specific; that is, they
don't affect IE or HotJava.
- Stumbling Blocks
This past week I taught a two-day, hands-on Introduction to Java seminar. This gave me the opportunity to see what real stumbling blocks Java novices, both experienced and inexperienced programmers in other languages, encountered when starting out. Here's what I found:
- Far and away the single most common
and most confusing problem was working with the wrong file. Students routinely saved files in the wrong directory, forgot to compile files, forgot to save files they had changed, forgot to change the HTML file that loaded an applet, and more. This applied to both experienced and inexperienced students alike. The most important debugging technique I taught them was to type all the files involved at the command line prompt and see if they really contained what was expected. Netscape's sporadic inability to reload a changed applet,
even with shift-reload,
exacerbated the problem because you weren't always sure whether the student or Netscape was at fault.
- Experienced students hated not being able to see what
was going on behind the scenes in the class library. They refused to believe
that applet methods would be invoked by the runtime when they needed to be.
They insisted on approaching programs as flow charts with a well-determined flow of control. Inexperienced students, by contrast, had no problem with this.
- Friday, April 24, 1998
IBM's alphaworks has released Install Toolkit for Java,
a free Java application for creating installer programs which are themselves
Java programs and can install both Java and non-Java programs.
What would an open source computer book look like? Would publishers buy it? Would readers? I know of one such book, Eric Raymond's The New Hacker's Dictionary.
Are there others? Send me your thoughts.
- Thursday, April 23, 1998
A new mailing list for experienced users of JFC/Swing
is now in business. To subscribe send a blank message
This list is not for people just getting started with Swing.
JavaBeans components are now eligible for 100% pure Java certification.
Sun will restructure by replacing five semi-autonomous operating
companies (SunSoft, JavaSoft, SMCC, etc.)
with seven product-oriented divisions: computer systems,
microelectronics, Solaris software, Java software,
customer services, networked storage, and consumer/embedded
- Wednesday, April 22, 1998
Version 0.31 of IBM's Jikes Java compiler for
AIX, OS/2, Windows 95, Windows NT, Solaris Sparc
An updated version of Speech
for Java, IBM's partial implementation
of the Java Speech API that
supports all European language
versions of ViaVoice and the JDK 1.2 beta
is also available.
- Tuesday, April 21, 1998
Sun announced that Java Plug-in, nee Java Activator, will ship on April 30.
Apple's promised to make it available on the Mac. This is an increasingly crucial technology as both Netscape and Microsoft are backing away from Java support in their browsers. Mozilla includes no Java (thank Sun's greedy, proprietary, closed source attitude for that) and Microsoft will no longer include Java in the minimal install of IE 5.0.
- Monday, April 20, 1998
Sun's released the second alpha implementation of the Java 3D 1.1 API
to registered members of the Java Developer Connection.
Sun's posted a generic non-Windows/non-Solaris version of HotJava 1.1.2
in addition to their usual Windows and Solaris versions.
- Sunday, April 19, 1998
Sun's released the Java WorkShop 2.0a Extension. This
adds JFC and servlet support to Java Workshop 2.0.
- Saturday, April 18, 1998
ORO, Inc. has released version 1.3.6 of their networking class
library, NetComponents. This version adds some
socket factory classes to enable custom socket features like SSL
and fixes various bugs.
IBM's alphaworks has updated XML for Java, a validating XML parser Java class library.
follows the most recent releases of the DOM and namespace specifications,
includes XPointer support, and fixes various bugs.
Live Software has released the second beta release of JRun
Server Pages (JSP). Among other features, this release adds "taglets"
that create new HTML tags via servlets.
Live Software also released the final version 2.1 of
JRun Servlet Engine
for Microsoft's IIS and PWS servers. JRun 2.1 supports version 1.1 of the Java servlet API and is required for JSP.
Beta versions of JRun 2.1 for other platforms are available now.
Non-betas for other platforms will be released over the next couple of weeks.
- Friday, April 17, 1998
Netscape's released a version of Communicator 4.0.5 for Windows 95/NT and Unix
that includes built-in Java 1.1 support (no patch required).
Apple's posted version 2.0.1EA3 of the Macintosh Runtime for Java Software Development Kit.
MRJSDK includes the various JDK tools like javac
missing from MRJ 2.0. This release adds MPW versions
of the JDK tools and various other improvements.
- Thursday, April 16, 1998
For my next book I need screen shots of a Cyrillic web site
with Cyrillic text in both the text and the graphics.
If you're in charge of such a site and you'd like it to be featured in the book,
please drop me a line.
Because IDG is overrun with lawyers, you'll need to be willing to
sign a two page permissions letter full of silly legalese before
IDG will let me publish pictures of your site.
Sun's named Greg Papadopoulos. Chief Technology Officer.
fills the position vacated by Eric Schmidt
when he left to lead Novell a year ago. The CTO is responsible
for evaluating Sun's technological
investments as well as directing Sun
Laboratories and various advanced development
Netscape's begun releasing Windows source code for Raptor,
their next generation rendering engine. (Unix and Mac porting
efforts are needed.)
Some day (but not today) this is supposed to support
CSS, HTML 4.0, XML, and various other cool things.
Microsoft's released input method editors (IMEs) for Japanese
and Korean for Internet Explorer 4.0 for Windows 95 and NT.
These let you enter Japanese and Korean text in email and forms from IE 4.0.
Of course since Microsoft's web site runs on Windows NT and IIS
instead of Apache and Unix, it's almost impossible to get through to the site to actually download these products.
- Wednesday, April 15, 1998
JavaWorld has reviewed their three top choices for JavaBeans books
including my own JavaBeans: Developing Component Software in Java.
Bottom line: they like it. Thanks JavaWorld!
Sun's released the Collection API for Java 1.1. (Previously it was only available in Java 1.2.)
Mizutori Tetsuya has released the first beta of JICGlue 1.0.
This is a Macistosh-native library Java wrapper class library to
read from the Internet
Config Extension database. JICGlue requires MRJ 2.0 and
Internet Config 2.0.
ActiveState (a joint venture of Dick Hardt and O'Reilly & Associates)
has released a visual debugger for Perl
on Windows 95 and NT.
Perl Debugger is U.S. $95 payware.
Multiple copies are available at discounted rates.
- Tuesday, April 14, 1998
Netscape, Sun and IBM have submitted a specification for
Precision Graphics Markup Language (PGML) to the W3C.
This is an XML application for using 2D
vector graphics on web pages. PGML is based on the PostScript imaging model
with some additional features to make it suitable for use on the web..
Macromedia's released a public beta of Flash 3.0. Upgrades are $99, a bit pricey for a technology nobody actually uses.
Macromedia has also published the Flash file format
so others can implement it. It has not yet been submitted to
any standards organizations. Macromedia also announced plans to
license the Flash player source code.
- Monday, April 13, 1998
Live Software has released JRun 2.1b4 for Apache on Unix and Windows and Microsoft's
IIS and PWS servers on Windows.
JRun adds Java servlet support to existing web servers.
Version 2.1b4 features a new administration interface that uses
- Saturday, April 11, 1998
Sun's released draft 0.6 of the
Java Speech Grammar Format (JSGF). The 1.0
specification for JSGF and the rest of the Java Speech API
is targetted for mid-1998.
Userland's released Frontier 5.0.2b8 with better support for XML.
- Friday, April 10, 1998
IBM's alphaworks has released several new products including:
a profiler for Windows 95 and NT that uses a modified 1.1.5 VM to show you
object population, messages, garbage collection, CPU bottlenecks, thread interactions, deadlocks, and memory leaks. Jinsight can also take
repetitive execution behavior and boil
an API and framework for
software agents that
communicate over the
Internet with KQML, the Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language.
- PKCS11 API for Java, a Java adapter for RSA Data Secirity's native Cryptoki
cryptographic token library and API for Windows 95 and NT.
- RDF for XML
an implementation in Java of
the RDF XML application for describing, categorizing, rating, and
- Shared Data Objects,
a Java framework for sharing typed data among multiple machines across a network.
Netscape's released beta 1 of their Messaging Access SDK.
This provides C and Java APIs
for SMTP, POP, and IMAP4
- Thursday, April 9, 1998
Sun's released the second beta of JavaPC 1.0 to registered members of the Java Developer Connection. JavaPC software enables Java 1.1
applications to run directly on top of DOS.
The W3C has elevated MathML to recommended
status. MathML, the Mathematical Markup Language, is an XML application
for embedding equations in web pages. The W3C's testbed browser Amaya 1.2a public beta
supports MathML to some extent. Amaya is available for
Linux, Solaris, AIX, OSF/1, and Windows NT and 95.
Source code is available so it may compile or be portable to other Unixes.
This version of Amaya does not support Java.
Real Software's released a free public beta of REALbasic
DR1r31b, a $99.95 payware Visual
Basic like environment for the Mac that can optionally
compile to Java byte code.
- Wednesday, April 8, 1998
Which cover do you prefer? Vote for your choice at O'Reilly.
- Tuesday, April 7, 1998
Sun's posted version 1.1 of the Java Shared Data Toolkit
on the Java Developer Connection.
Dave Harris has released Pixie under the GNU
LGPL. Pixie is a
vector graphics file format intended for use on the web. The project
includes a Java application that converts Windows metafiles to
Pixie and a Java applet that displays them.
Pat Gunn's Mozilla FAQ list lists various
compiled versions posted to the net, among other things. Compiled binsaries are currently available for Linux/x86 2.x ELF with glibc,
Don Park's SAXDOM Java package for implementing the Document Object Model (DOM) API using the Simple API for XML (SAX) has been updated to support the March 18 DOM specification.
- Monday, April 6, 1998
Digital Think has published my latest online course, Introduction
to Object Oriented Design ($325 with a money back guarantee).
This course grew out of my
experience teaching Java and Object Oriented Analysis and Design
to programmers who had never worked in an object oriented language
before. I noticed that my students kept making the same obvious
(to me at least) mistakes in how they structured their classes.
It rapidly became clear that merely teaching Java syntax and
APIs was too concrete, while teaching traditional methodologies
like CRC cards and use-case modeling was too abstract. Both of
these are important, but there's a piece missing in between
them. This course is that missing piece.
This course is unique in that it focuses on how one properly designs a class instead of merely the low-level syntax one uses to write the class.
For example, instead of focusing on how you declare a field private or public or protected, the emphasis is on deciding which fields should be private or
public or protected. As another example,
you won't just learn what inheritance is or
the keywords needed to implement it. Instead you
learn why inheritance is used,
and when you should and should not use it.
The course itself is language independent, and makes heavy use of UML style diagrams to document design decisions. Sidebars provide specific implementations of the examples in both C++ and Java. Beta testers were extremely enthusiastic about the course, and were surprised at how much they learned, thus proving that this is really material that's simply not taught in traditional books and courses.
- Sunday, April 5, 1998
Aliweb's got a compiled version of Netscape 5 for Windows as does rixsoft. Neither is particularly stable.
Has anyone posted a compiled version for Solaris or the Mac?
- Saturday, April 4, 1998
Netscape Communicator and Navigator 4.0.5 are now available for Macs,
95 and NT, and Windows 3.1.
Some of the initial 4.0.5 archives were corrupt, but the problem
should be fixed now. If you downloaded it before today
(Saturday) you might want to replace your copy with a new
download. This is primarily a 4.0 series bug fix release. Netscape claims
Java is 30% to 50% faster in this release on some platforms. This
is not a compiled version of the 5.0 released in source form
from mozilla.org earlier
this week. (I'm still looking for a compiled copy of that, by
- Friday, April 3, 1998
that updates the database access components
Live Software has released ServletDebugger, a $195 payware
class library for testing and debugging Java servlets.
This library works in conjunction with an IDE debugger, so I've got a strong suspicion it only really works on Windows.
JForge 2.1 is a
free GUI builder
that uses Java Foundation Classes.
JForge is written in Java and should run on any platform that
supports the JFC. This release fixes assorted bugs and works with AWT components.
- Thursday, April 2, 1998
Sun's released the first implementation of the Java Media Framework 1.0 for Windows and Solaris. JMF supports a variety of sound and video formats including AIFF, WAV, MIDI, Quicktime, MPEG 1, AVI, and a few others.
It requires Java 1.1.
- Wednesday, April 1, 1998
Check out the new Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol 1.0
(but don't forget what day it is). RFCs 2325 and 2323 are good reading too.
The first beta of Sun's Java Wallet is now available for Solaris and Windows
to registered members of the Java Developer Connection.
If anyone knows where I can find a compiled executable of Netscape 5 for any platform,
could you please drop an email to email@example.com? Thanks.