March 1998 Java News

Tuesday, March 31, 1998
Netscape has posted the source code for the first pre-alpha of Communicator/Navigator 5.0 on for Mac, Windows, and Unix. This is source only. Compiled executables are not available.

Apple's released QuickTime 3.0 for MacOS 7.0 and later and Windows 95 or NT. It requires a 68020 or later Mac with 8MB of RAM or a PowerMac or 486DX or later with 16 MB of RAM. MPEG-1, 3D, and various effects do not work on 680x0 Macs. DirectX 3.0 or later and the latest DirectDraw and DirectSound drivers are recommended on Windows.

QuickTime 3.0 supports many more file and compression formats, adds various MIDI instruments and effects, and supports streaming audio and video over the Internet. QuickTime 3.0 Pro is an optional $29.95 upgrade that adds various editing, saving, and copying capabilities as well as simple playback.

Monday, March 30, 1998
The W3C's released a new draft of the Document Object Model Specification. DOM is a platform-neutral and language-independent programming interface for dynamically accessing and modifying the content, structure and style of documents. DOM offers a set of classes that represent HTML and XML elements, a model of how these objects can be combined, and an interface for accessing and manipulating them.

The W3C has also elevated Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 to proposed recommendation status.

Sunday, March 29, 1998
Symantec's released Visual Cafe 2.5 for Windows 95 and NT. Upgrades from 2.0 and 2.1 are free online. Upgrades from 1.x are $99.95.

The latest revision of XML linking working draft is now split into three pieces, linking mechanisms, addressing mechanisms, and design principles.

The first working draft of Namespaces in XML has also just been made available. This proposal is on a fast track to proposed recommendation status unless major problems are uncovered.

Saturday, March 28, 1998
Sun's posted the third early access release of the Java Activator. This release adds a JIT and support for Solaris X86, JFC 1.1, and proxy servers. You'll need to be a registered member of the Java Developer Connection to download it.

A preview edition of from Seybold and O'Reilly features a very useful annotated version of the XML specification.

Friday, March 27, 1998
StarNine is shipping version 3.0 of the popular $499 payware Mac-hosted web server, WebStar 3.0. (Upgrade price is $199 for 2.0 owners, $299 for 1.0 owners.) Version 3.0 adds support for HTTP 1.1 and Java servlets.

Macromedia's posted the first public beta of FireWorks for the Mac and Windows. Fireworks is a general-purpose web graphics tool.

You may have better luck downloading Cosmo Player 2.1 for the Mac if you try SGI's ftp site. The file on the web site may be corrupt.

Thursday, March 26, 1998
Sun's posted the first alpha implementation of the Java Communications API for Solaris and Windows on the Java Developer Connection. The Java Communications API lets your Java programs talk to serial and parallel port devices like printers and modems.

SGI's released the first alpha of Cosmo Player 2.1 for the Macintosh. This release is quite buggy and really only for Mac users desperate for VRML.

Borland's released the 1.0.1 update of JBuilder (standard and professional editions). This is a performance and bug fix release.

DropMain 1.1 is a postcard-ware drag and drop wrapper for Java programs under Apple's Macintosh Runtime for Java (MRJ). It's designed to run Java programs that expect to read arguments from the command line. Since the Mac doesn't have a command line, arguments are taken from the names or contents of files dropped onto the program.

Wednesday, March 25, 1998
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald H. Whyte issued a preliminary injunction ordering Microsoft to remove the Java-compatible logo from Internet Explorer browser and its Java SDK, pending a full hearing in September. Microsoft has annonuced its intent to comply with the order, thought it may yet appeal. Although, Microsoft may ultimately win this one, such a preliminary order indicates that the judge thinks it more likely that they will not.

This is the more minor of the two suits Sun has outstanding against Microsoft. The more major one, involving Microsoft's right to use and modify the Java source code and API, is still up in the air.

Separately, Sun has decided that they don't like HP cloning embedded Java after all; and they're beginning to grumble about a possible lawsuit. The specific argument Sun is pushing is that HP is allowed to create a full implementation of Java, but not a subset of Java such as EmbeddedJava. In other words, Sun, and only Sun, is allowed to create subsets of the language.

In my opinion, Sun doesn't have grounds for such a suit unless whatever as yet unrevealed license agreements exist between Sun and HP specifically prohibit HP from doing this. However, whatever the legal realities are, this is one more piece of evidence that Java is not open in any real sense; that it is a proprietary product controlled and owned by Sun Microsystems; and that Sun will sue anyone who does something with Java that competes with them.

O'Reilly & Associates has launched a new Java site at that features daily dispatches from JavaOne, and interviews with various of their authors.

Tuesday, March 24, 1998
JavaOne gets under way today. Expect the hype engines to go into full gear. Sun has released a lot of alphas and betas at the show. The first major release at the show is beta 3 of the JDK 1.2 for Solaris and Windows 95/NT.

Sun's also released a new Java Heap Analysis Tool based on JDK 1.2b3 -Xhprof files that can inspect objects in a running Java program.

Also on display is the first alpha implementation of the Java 3D API for Solaris and Windows. This requires JDK 1.2 beta 3. For Solaris, it requires a 24-bit frame buffer and Solaris 2.5 or later.

The second beta of the Java Cryptography Extension 1.2 is now available and requires JDK 1.2. It is currently available only to residents of the U.S. and Canada and anyone else who can convince Sun's web server that they're in the U.S. or Canada. (Blame Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and George Bush for this brain damage.) This release now supports message authentication code (MAC) extends the implementation of Diffie-Hellman in to support key agreement between an unlimited number of parties.

The first preview release of JavaServer Pages (JSP) for the Java Web Server running on Solaris or Windows 95/NT is now available to registered members of the Java Developer Connection. JSP seems to be a fancy version of server-side includes.

Finally, the official release of JavaMail 1.0 is now available. This is a standard extension to Java 1.1.4 and higher that supports client side IMAP and SMTP. It is also currently available to U.S. and Canada residents and anyone else who can convince Sun's web server that they're in the U.S. or Canada though this restriction is likely to be lifted soon. (Blame Sun's lawyers for this brain damage.)

Apple has posted a developer release of QuickTime for Java, a Java API and interface to the native QuickTime multimedia engine on the Mac and Windows.

Monday, March 23, 1998
The first alpha release of Bill Laforge's Coins now serializes booleans, byte arrays, ints, longs, and strings.

Sunday, March 22, 1998
The Connection Factory has published MusicML, an XML DTD for sheet music, along with a Java 1.1 applet that displays MusicML files.

Saturday, March 21, 1998
David Megginson has posted suggestions for fixing various problems with the SAX Java/XML API. Comments are requested.

Friday, March 20, 1998
Sun's released version 1.1.1 of the Java Web Server.

Be is shipping the $99.95 BeOS release 3 for Pentium PCs and some PowerMacs.

Thursday, March 19, 1998
Version 5 of the JDK 1.1.5 for Linux has been released.

IBM's alphaworks has released the first version of TSpaces. I don't feel as though I quite understand what TSpaces does or how it does yet, but it does sound interesting and worthy of further investigation. According to IBM, TSpaces is

a set of network communication buffers called tuple spaces and a set of APIs (and classes that implement the API) for accessing those buffers. TSpaces allows heterogeneous, Java-enabled devices to exchange data with little programming effort. The package includes server software that implements the buffers and client software for accessing the buffers.

TSpaces provides group communication services, database services, URL-based file transfer services, and event notification services. With its small footprint, it is ideal for bringing network services to small and embedded systems; for example, it brings the power of the network to palm devices, making them full-fledged network computers capable of controlling printers and other networked devices.

For the client, being connected to TSpaces is like having the perfect assistant: TSpaces acts as a reminder service, carries out any tasks that you assign to it, reports incoming messages and delivers outgoing messages, and notifies you of any events in which you're interested. By adding additional client applications, TSpaces can be used as a universal print service, email service, pager service, remote control service, and so on.

Wednesday, March 18, 1998
IBM's alphaworks has released the first alpha implementation of the Java Speech API for Windows 95 and NT. This version supports voice command recognition, dictation, and text-to-speech synthesis. It requires the payware IBM ViaVoice Gold.

Sun's released the JavaBeans Activation Framework (JAF), a standard extension to Java 1.1. JAF lets JavaBeans programmers dynamically determine the type of an arbitrary piece of data, encapsulate access to it, discover the operations available on it, and instantiate JavaBeans components to perform those operations. For example, if a browser loaded a Quicktime movie, JAF should find a bean that can play the movie. JAF is allegedly a cross-platform JAR file, but in keeping with Sun's lip-service only approach to cross-platform issues this release has only been tested on JDK 1.1.4 for Sparc Solaris and Windows 95/NT.

Sun's also posted a release candidate of InfoBus 1.1. InfoBus defines an architecture for JavaBeans to exchange structured data such as arrays, tables, and database rows.

Tuesday, March 17, 1998
Network Solutions will stop collecting a 30 percent government mandated surcharge on domain name registrations beginning April 1. This will drop the price of a domain name will drop to $35 per year.

Sun has received civil investigative demands from the U.S. Justice Department and some of the states investigating Microsoft's business practices.

JForge 2.0b12 is a GUI builder that uses Java Foundation Classes. This release has too many changes and bug fixes to list. A few old features are broken in this release so save a copy of the previous version before installing.

Monday, March 16, 1998
Live Software has released beta 2.1b3 of its free JRun servlet engine. This beta adds support for Windows Apache 1.3, Unix Apache 1.2 and above, and Netscape Enterprise 3.5 servers. It also includes a new administration application written in Java with JFC 1.1.

The W3C has released version 5.1j of Libwww, a general-purpose implementation of HTTP 1.1 with persistent connections, pipelining, smart output buffering, and persistent caching. Libwww is written in C for Unix ansd Windows.

IBM's alphaworks has released a new version of their High Performance Compiler for Java, a Java to native executable compiler for AIX, OS/2, and Windows 95/NT, that moves the Java run-time services and core Java classes into DLLs, thus producing much smaller executables.

ORO's NetComponents 1.3.5 handles non-standard server replies better. It also has new ProtocolCommandEvent and ProtocolCommandListener classes for monitoring or logging server commands and replies.

Steve Lawson's Jipe 0.86.2 is another free Java IDE.

Sunday, March 15, 1998
JavaHand's DynaView 1.1 is a $30 payware JFC/JDBC based GUI client for SQL databases.

Saturday, March 14, 1998
Sun's posted the March 98 release of the Beans Development Kit. This release features various small changes and improvements including a scrollable bean pallette in the BeanBox that can hold more than the previous limit of 16 beans at a time.

Netscape released a new version of the Netscape Signing Tool (the program formerly known as "zigbert") for Windows 95 and NT and most Unixes. This release includes JAR file creation, signing of inline JavaScript, and the ability to generate test certificates that don't require paying a fee to a certificate authority.

Netscape also announced the free Netscape Client Customization Kit (CCK) to allow ISPs, OEMs, and others to create and redistribute customized versions of Communicator and Navigator. It should be available online soon.

Metrowerks has released beta 7 of version 1.2 of its Code Warrior Java compiler for both Mac and Windows.

Friday, March 13, 1998
Apple has confirmed that their VM will continue to support RMI and JNI, the recent announcment with Microsoft not withstanding.

Bill Laforge has posted a web page devoted to his XML based serialization scheme Coins, now available separately from axtp.

Thursday, March 12, 1998
Cafe au Lait made's top ten list.

Microsoft's released the first public beta of version 3.0 of its Java Software Development Kit for Windows. The two new keywords in this VM are multicast and delegate, both of which are used as method modifiers like static and public. In the future, these keywords will allow Microsoft's new Windows Foundation Classes (WFC), a Windows dependent competitor of JFC and JavaBeans, to support a delegation event model without using adapter classes as JavaBeans must. Two more new keywords will appear in Visual J++ 6.0 in a few weeks to enable conditional compilation. Microsoft is dropping further development on AFC in favor of WFC.

Bottom line: Java programmers writing cross-platform software can and will ignore WFC and the new keywords. C++ programmers writing Windows programs will finally be able to start using Java for real work.

Apple and Microsoft have announced plans to "converge" their VMs for the Macintosh. Apple's buggy Macintosh Runtime for Java will incorporate various Microsoft technology like the Microsoft debugging interface and security zones. Apple's JDirect native API interface will grow closer to Microsoft's J/Direct.

These are all minor changes. The main impact is that development of Microsoft's own Java VM will cease. Since Sun stopped developing for the Mac over a year ago, and most independent VM vendors including Netscape have also halted their VM efforts, there will be essentially one source for Mac VMs, Apple. That worries me.

While Mac users long ago became accustomed to single-source software, Apple's proven inability to ship a reliable VM in a timely fashion doesn't leave one with a lot of hope for the Mac platform as a reasonable place to do Java development. And with Apple abandoning one technology after another as the months go by, one really has to wonder how long it will be before Java on the Mac follows OpenDoc and the Newton into oblivion.

The perhaps over-broad patents Open Market was recently granted for secure Internet transactions are now available from IBM's patent server. The Open Market patent numbers are 5724424, 5715314, and 5708780.

Wednesday, March 11, 1998
Bill Laforge of the Open Group Research Institute has been updating Coins several times a week. Coins is an architecture and classes for serializing Java objects to XML. It's definitely worth checking out, though it's less than stable right now.

Live Software has released of first beta (2.1b2) of its free JRun servlet engine for Apache. This beta supports the JDK 1.2 Servlet API, persistent session tracking capability, and servlet pooling.

Tuesday, March 10, 1998
New Atlanta's released version 1.1b2 of their ServletExec for MacOS, Solaris, and Windows. ServletExec adds Java servlet support to many popular web servers. This release fixes various bugs in 1.1b1.

Microstar Software Ltd. has released version 1.1 of its free Java-based XML 1.0 parser, AElfred. A SAX driver is included. AElfred is designed for use with aplets so it 1.0.2 compatible and allegedly small and fast. (I haven't personally tested those claims myself.)

Monday, March 9, 1998
Bill la Forge of the Open Group Research Foundation has begun work on a JavaBeans replacement called Coins that uses XML instead of object serialization, and does not rely on generating glue code to link components together. Coins is available as a self-contained part of axtp.

Clemens Lahme has released version 4.10 of JavaNCSS, a Java lines of code counter. This release fixes some minor GUI problems.

Version 0.30 of IBM's Java compiler Jikes fixes various bugs.

Sunday, March 8, 1998
James Clark has released version 1.3 of SP and version 1.1 of Jade. SP is a free C++ toolkit for SGML parsing. Version 1.3 adds better support for XML.

Jade is an implementation of the DSSSL style language. Version 1.1 adds experimental support for XSL and XML

Saturday, March 7, 1998
James Clark has released version 0.2 of XP, a non-validating XML parser written in Java 1.1.

An unofficial version of Swing 1.0 repackaged for the Mac is available from Use at your own risk.

Friday, March 6, 1998
Netscape's posted an initial draft of their source code license for Communicator.

The San Jose Mercury is reporting that the next version of Microsoft's Java SDK will add two new keywords to the language. Does anyone know what they are?

API2Mac 1.2b1 will make javadocs usable on the Mac by renaming the html files and adjusting the html links to work around the 32 character maximum filename length of the MacOS.

CSFactory has released JDiff 2.0d1. JDiff is a free GUI diff application written in Java 1.1. Version 2.0 uses an improved diff algorithm and supports directory comparisons and user-configurable options for fonts and colors.

Thursday, March 5, 1998
Sun's released the documentation for version 1.1 of the Java 3D API. An actual implementation of this API is due at JavaOne.

Transcripts of the recent Senate hearing at which Gates, McNealy, Barksdale, et al testified are now online.

Wednesday, March 4, 1998
JForge 2.0b11 is a GUI builder that uses Java Foundation Classes. This release adds a tree layout andd other features and makes some cosmetic changes.

Tuesday, March 3, 1998
Sun's released the third beta of the Java Activator. This release adds proxy server support, a just-in-time compiler, JFC 1.1, and support for Solaris x86.

Sun has also released a reference Implementation for version 2.0 of the Java Card API. This allows programmers to write, test, and debug smart card applets on a normal PC or workstation.

Monday, March 2, 1998
Sun has released version 1.2 of the Java Telephony API (JTAPI) specification.

Sun's also released version 1.0.1 of the PersonalJava specification.

I've made some minor updates to the notes for Week 5-Applets of my Introduction to Java Programming course.

Sunday, March 1, 1998
Javasoft's posted the first beta of JavaPC, their program for turning an old non-Windows DOS PC into a Java NC, on their ftp server. The web pages haven't been updated yet.

JSci 0.762 is now available. This update removes the native methods.

You can also read the news from January or February if you like.

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Copyright 1998 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified Wednesday, April 1, 1998