December 1999 Java News

Friday, December 31, 1999

Hot on the heels of version 2.2, Slava Pestov has released version 2.3pre1 of JEdit, the popular pure Java programmer's text editor. version 2.3 adds predefined abbreviation expansion, more toolbar buttcons, and assorted user interface improvements and bug fixes. JEdit is released under the the GNU General Public License.

Macintosh Runtime for Java 2.2 EA2 expires at midnight tonight. This isn't really a Y2K failure, just abunch of programmers underestimating how much time would be required to complete the next version. Starting tomorrow users will periodically see a dialog asking them to download a new version of the software.If you ignore the dialog, MRJ will still function correctly.

Steev Coco's released version 1.1 of Seymour, an open source Java IDE written in pure Java but mostly tested on the Macintosh.

Download AWBIBM's released the second beta of the free Aglets Software Development Kit 1.1. Aglets are mobile agents written in Java. JDK 1.1 is required. JDK 1.2 will not work.

Sun's posted an early access release of the PersonalJava Runtime Environment for Windows CE 2.11/MIPS Platform on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). It allows you to run PersonalJava 1.1.1 applets and applications on devices running Windows CE 2.11 on a MIPS processor.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Sun's posted a proposal for archiving/serializing Swing and JavaBeans based GUIs as XML. This may help fix the problem of inconsistent binary serialization formats between JDK versions that's especially troublesome for Swing applications. The proposal includes a sample Bean Builder tool for building GUI code from the proposed XML grammar. JDK 1.3 is required.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

My essay on Free Art? Free Software? got picked up on Linux Today and other sites and mailing lists; and consequently I'm getting a lot of feedback, even in the relatively dead time between Christmas and New Year. I'm on vacation right now myself, so I can't respond to all of it immediately. I should get to it next week (barring the collapse of civilization as we know it). One of my New Year's resolutions is to get discussion forums working on this site; but in the meantime, Linux Today is hosting discussion of the article.

Monday, December 27, 1999

Sun's released version 1.2 of the Java Embedded Server, a small footprint application server for devices like cash registers and photocopiers. This is payware, but a 90-day free trial is available. Version 1.2 adds support for Java 2, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and the latest version of Swing, among other features.

Sun's released version 1.0.2 of the Java Advanced Imaging API for Windows and Sparc Solaris.

Version 1.1.3 of the Java 3D API OpenGL based implementation for Sparc Solaris and Windows.

Sun's posted version 0.95 of the JavaPhone Specification and Documentation in Acrobat PDF format. (At the end of the millenium, don't you think it's about time Sun's engineers and spec writers learned to use HTML like everybody else? Scott McNealy allegedly banned PowerPoint from Sun a couple of years ago. Perhaps it's time he banned Word and FrameMaker as well.) There's also class library documentation in the Javadoc HTML format.

Sunday, December 26, 1999

I've published an essay about some problems I see with Richard Stallman's call for free documentation. I'd be interested in hearing people's reactions and thoughts. Mostly I codified these thoughts while listening to RMS talk at The Bazaar a couple of weeks ago, and then reading a couple of his own documentation efforts for emacs and gdb.

Friday, December 24, 1999

Hot on the heels of version 2.2, Slava Pestov has released version 2.2.1 of JEdit, the popular pure Java programmer's text editor, to fix three bugs. JEdit is released under the the GNU General Public License.

Wednesday, December 22, 1999

I'm away on vacation in New Orleans for the holidays. Updates are liable to a be a little sporadic here until the New Year.

The Apache Jakarta Project has released Tomcat 3.0, the official reference implementation of the Java Servlet API and Java Server Pages.

Monday, December 20, 1999

Version 2.2 final of Slava Pestov's JEdit pure Java programmer's text editor is now available. JEdit is published under the the GNU General Public License.

IBM's alphaWorks has released some Enterprise JavaBeans for its WebSphere Application Server including Company Components, Address Components, Currency Components, and Natural Calendar Components.

Saturday, December 18, 1999

Sun's posted release candidate 2 of the JDK 1.2.2 for Linux on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This release fixes assorted bugs.

Sun's posted final releases of four specifications:

Sun's released version 1.2 of the Java Embedded Server, a small footprint server for use in vending machines, pay phones, copiers, and so forth. It's not clear what the price is. It probably requires a contract with and royalty to Sun for actually shipping a product. However, as 90-day evaluation version is available for free.

Sun's released the Sun BluePrints Design Guidelines for J2EE, an integrated set of documentation and examples that illustrates "best practices" for developing and deploying J2EE compatible solutions. These are supposed to give developers of e-commerce applications examples of component design and optimization, division of development labor, and allocation of technology resources.

Friday, December 17, 1999

Neil Taylor's released the first beta of version 1.2 of Jake, a visual front end to javac, javap, and other Sun command line tools.

Beta 4-1 of Colt 1.0 is now available. Colt The Colt distribution provides an open source infrastructure for scalable scientific and technical computing in Java that contains data structures and algorithms for offline and online data analysis, linear algebra, multi-dimensional arrays, statistics, histogramming, Monte Carlo simulation, parallel and concurrent programming.

Version 0.1.81 of Tritonus, a GPL'd implementation of the JavaSound API for X86 Linux, is now available. This release can write .au files, adds clips for esd, and fixes assorted bugs.

Thursday, December 16, 1999

Sun's released the first beta of version 2.0 of the server-optimized HotSpot virtual machine for Windows. This beta requires JDK 1.2.2. Sun claims a 30% performance improvement over version 1.0.

Sun's also posted version 1.0 of the Java Transaction Service (JTS) specification. According to Sun,

JTS specifies the implementation of a Transaction Manager which supports the JavaTM Transaction API (JTA) 1.0 Specification at the high-level and implements the Java mapping of the OMG Object Transaction Service (OTS) 1.1 Specification at the low-level. JTS uses the standard CORBA ORB/TS interfaces and Internet Inter-ORB Protocol (IIOP) for transaction context propagation between JTS Transaction Managers.

A JTS Transaction Manager provides transaction services to the parties involved in distributed transactions: the application server, the resource manager, the standalone transactional application, and the Communication Resource Manager (CRM).

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Sun's posted the first public review draft of version 1.2 of the PersonalJava specification. Comments are due by January 7, 2000.

Sun's also released a beta of Java Access Bridge for the Microsoft Windows 1.0. This product allows Windows based Assistive Technology to get at and interact with the Java Accessibility API. This release adds an installer, fixes some bugs, and adds a couple of things to the API. The installer only really works under Windows NT.

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of the Bean Scripting Framework that adds support for VBScript/JScript/PerlScript on Win32 platforms. The Bean Scripting Framework is an architecture for incorporating scripting into Java applications and applets.

Monday, December 13, 1999

Romain Guy's released version 2.6 of his Jext programmer's editor with many new features and bug fixes. Jext is written in pure Java.

Saturday, December 11, 1999

IBM's alphaWorks has released the first iteration of CPreProcessorStream, an InputStream for people writing parsers that need C/C++ preprocessing; that is, #include, #if, #define etc. Correct me if I'm wrong, ut wasn't the preprocessor one of the C obfuscations Java was supposed to save us from? About the only plausible use I can imagine for this would be if you were writing a C or C++ compiler in Java, and why would you want to do that?

Friday, December 10, 1999

I'm afraid I missed most of the Java Business Expo due to a brief bout with the flu. By the time I was feeling better, all I had to time to do was see the Penn and Teller show (lots of fun) and make a brief pass through the show floor. The floor was noticeable for the large number of booths filled with engineers talking to customers about real products as opposed to flashy light shows and booth bunnies. I really wish I had more time to chat with more vendors.

The one thing I did had time to look at that looked worthy of further investigation was JVision, a $99 payware tool for reverse engineering Java code into UML diagrams. The Linux version is free, and all version are free for academic use. I've needed something like this for my books and courses for a while now, but everything I've seen up till now cost four figures or more (a price point where I just rule the product out of consideration.) It's available on Linux, NT, and Solaris. There's a 30-day demo available. I'll try it out and let you know what I think.

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new copy of their IRC Client for Java just to extend the expiration date to June 30, 2000. (Wouldn't it be easier just to release one that doesn't expire?)

Thursday, December 9, 1999

Borland's released JBuilder Foundation for Linux, Solaris, and Windows. This is a free beer, pure Java IDE based on Java 2.

Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Sun has officially withdrawn Java from the ECMA standardization process because the ECMA refused to be used as a rubber stamp for whatever Sun chose to submit and insisted on retaining control of the standard. Earlier, Sun pulled out of the ISO process for the same reason. Sun is adamant in its refusal to allow anyone but Sun to have any authority or control over Java. They are willing to listen to companies or individuals who have good ideas (as long as they aren't Microsoft or Bill Gates, in which case Sun won't even listen) but it simply refuses to put itself in a position where anybody else can make it put something in or take something out of Java against Sun's expressed wishes. This effectively ends any hope of a Sun-supported, de jure Java standard. The ECMA is debating whether or not to go forward without Sun's participation.

One of the main purposes of de jure standardization like that performed by the ISO, the W3C, the IETF, the ECMA or many other groups is precisely to remove control of a technology from any one company or individual. In so doing the standardized technology becomes available to many people and organizations on a non-discriminatory basis. This helps drive the adoption of the technology. Unfortunately, Sun has never understood or accepted this. It continues to view standardization as nothing more than a check list item for marketing of a Sun-owned, proprietary technology.

Sun's released an early access version of its Java API for XML parsing on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This mostly consists of SAX, DOM, a few utility classes, and Sun's XML parser (formerly known as Java Project X).

Sun has announced but not yet posted Release Candidate 1 of the JDK 1.2.2 for Linux on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Sun seems to have real trouble keeping their different web sites in sync. It's becoming routine for one site to announce and link to a product on another site before the other site has actually made it avaialbe for download. I'd say this happens at least once a week. Update: The files are there now. The problem may have been a bad link from the main JavaSoft home page.

The package itself seems to be based on the Blackdown JDK and the Borland JIT, with assorted additions and fixes from Sun. It's for X86 Linux only for Linux kernel 2.2.5 and glibc 2.1. Meanwhile, the Blackdown Project has posted release candidate 3 of its JDK 1.2.2 port to Linux. glibc 2.1.2 is required for the Blackdown JDK.

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

Sun's released version 1.0 of the Java Secure Socket Extension (JSSE). JSSE implements the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) in Java. It provides for data encryption, server authentication, message integrity, and client authentication. Java 1.2 is required. Both U.S. and Global (weak encryption) version sare available.

Monday, December 6, 1999

Microsoft has not sold Visual J++ to Rational as I erroneously reported here a couple of days ago. Rational will, however, be producing its own Java compiler which can be integrated with Visual Studio. Whether Microsoft will upgrade Visual J++ on its own is still up in the air, though, as today's quote of the day indicates.

Unfortunately this also means that Visual J++ is likely to continue confusing users and presenting its own corrupted form of Java. Several people did write in to tell me what they liked about Visual J++. The letters clarified the problem. Developers, especially Windows developers, like the IDE part of Visual J++. When these J++ developers come to me with problems, it's invariably because of the poor virtual machine and class libraries Visual J++ uses. On the other hand, when I see problems with JBuilder, Visual Cafe, or other IDEs, the problem is invariably the IDE itself, not the underlying VM or class libraries.

Sun has responded to the bug report I filed last month about content handlers. They say that this is a duplicate of Bug 4191147 and is fixed in the next release - kestrel.

The Apache Project has started posting nightly builds of the Tomcat Servlet Engine for Apache. When stable, Tomcat will become the reference implementation for the Java Servlet 2.2 and JavaServer Pages 1.1 Technologies

Saturday, December 4, 1999

Sun's posted version 1.0.1 of the Java Advanced Imaging API implementation. (Think Photoshop or GIMP written in Java.)

IBM's alphaWorks has released ATM for Java, a class library that allows Java programs to use AAL5 sockets and request QOS. The APIs are based on the Java ATM API working document by the ATM Forum's Service Aspects and Applications. Since this library is based on native code (Java's core networking library doesn't get below the transport layer.) it's only available for 95, 98, NT and OS/2.

AlphaWorks has also released DocFile, a group of Java classes for accessing Microsoft OLE2 DocFile archives using pure Java.

Friday, December 3, 1999

According to an article by Neil Fawcett on Microsoft is selling Visual J++ to Rational Software (the three amigos company best known for UML and Rational Rose). Apparently, Visual J++ proved too troublesome for Microsoft's product line in the face of the various lawsuits. Visual J++ is not a clean room implementation of Java, and I doubt Rational can separate out the parts that are covered by the license with Sun from those that aren't (though if they did manage to rip out the Microsoft VM and replace it with the Sun VM that would certainly be a major step forward). Still, since Rational isn't Microsoft, Sun probbaly won't feel as compelled to bash them about the head for every minor deviation from the specification, so they may have an easier time developing it and moving it forward. In my experience it was the worst of a bad crop of IDEs. It certainly caused more problems for my students and readers than all other IDEs combined. Maybe Rational can finally do something about that.

Thursday, December 2, 1999

To test and debug some example programs for my next book, I need an account on a Unix system (preferably Solaris) with Java 1.1 or later that's connected to the MBone and receives SDP announcements. I'm not going to be doing any heavy multimedia streaming audio or video, just some simple text based multicasting and reception. If you know of an ISP that can provide this via remote shell access, please let me know. I'd be happy to pay usual ISP fees to get this done. Alternately, if anyone has their own box they'd be willing to let me borrow an account on, you can get your name in the acknowledgements and a free copy of the book when it's done. Please send any suggestions to me at Thanks.

Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Beta 4 of Colt 1.0 is now available. Colt is an open source infrastructure for scalable scientific and technical computing in Java. It contains, among other things, efficient and usable data structures and algorithms for off-line and on-line data analysis, linear algebra, multi-dimensional arrays, statistics, histogramming, Monte Carlo simulation, and parallel and concurrent programming.

You can also read the news from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November if you like.

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Copyright 1999 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified January 6, 2000