April 2000 Java News

Sunday, April 30, 2000

Sun has submittted JSR 67, Java APIs for XML Messaging 1.0, to the Java Community Process. According to the proposal,

"This specification will describe Java API's designed specifically for the exchange of XML business documents such as, invoices, purchase orders, and order confirmations....This JSR does not aim to define either XML messaging standards or XML schemas for particular tasks. These networking and formatting standards belong in networking standards bodies such as Oasis or IETF. Instead this JSR aims to define standard Java APIs to allow convenient access from Java to emerging XML messaging standards, such as the emerging ebXML Transport/Packaging & Routing standard."

Review closes on May 26, 2000.

Saturday, April 29, 2000

IBM has posted a preview release of the JDK 1.3 for AIX.

Sun's posted beta 3 of J2ME CLDC, a Java virtual machine and class library for the PalmOS, on the Java Developer Connection (registration required).

Friday, April 28, 2000

IBM's alphaWorks has released a new version of the Bidi-RichEdit Control for Java, a styled text editor which supports multiple languages, including English, Arabic and Hebrew. This release fixes some bugs and spiffs up the demo program.

Thursday, April 27, 2000

Sun's posted a new beta of the Java Cryptography Extension 1.2.1 on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Despite the minor version number upgrade, this release features a major change in functionality designed to lock out unapproved cryptography providers; for instance those who provide strong cryptography to citizens of countries outside North America. I recommend, you do not upgrade.

I forget who said that "The Internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it." But whoever said it, it 's still true. The latest route-around is Freenet, a distributed, secure, anonymous, peer-to-peer Internet infrastructure for distributing information. What's most unique about Freenet compared to competitors Napster and Gnutella is the complete lack of any central authority that can be sued, injunctioned, subpoenaed, bombed or otherwise coerced into censorship. Freenet is an ongoing open source project being developed in Java. Java programmers with a knowledge of network programming and/or cryptography are actively solicited to help out.

By the way, as near as I can tell this has nothing to do with the old Cleveland Freenet (and other Freenets) that closed October 1 last year. Cleveland Freenet was a crucial development in its time, that introduced a lot of people to the Internet, BBSs and online communication. I supposed the growth of the commercial Internet eventually swamped it. However, its founders and maintainers are definitely some of the unsung heroes of the Internet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4.2, an open source programmer's editor written in Java. This is a bug fix release.

Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Chris Kelley's released JConfig 2.0, a $99 shareware cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Unix) native code class library that adds many much requested features to the core Java API. Among other features, JConfig allows you to:

Sunday, April 23, 2000

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4.1, an open source programmer's editor written in Java. This release fixes a major bug in 2.4 final.

Saturday, April 22, 2000

Sun's submitted a Java Specification Request for the Java2 Micro Edition Remote Method Invocation Profile (J2ME RMI Profile). Review closes May 5, 2000.

IBM's alphaWorks has released the first version of Bridge2Java, a Java Native Interface based library for using Windows-based ActiveX controls from inside Java programs.

Friday, April 21, 2000

Tek-Tools has released Kawa 4.0, a $129 payware Java IDE. Upgrades from previous versions are $39. Version 4.0 integrates "selected capabilities of CodeWright editor". The JVMDI debugger can now view variables in hexadecimal. Also, the workspace and projects are now stored in XML.

Tek-Tools has also released the $199 J-Forge Ultra 3.0 JavaBeans based GUI Builder. A 30-day free evaluation is available.

Thursday, April 20, 2000

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4pre7. This release adds fixes some bugs and some minor new features.

Wednesday, April 19, 2000

Ben Mesander has found a minor (IMO) security hole in Internet Explorer 5.0 for the Mac using Macintosh Runtime for Java 2.2. The effect is that applets are sometimes allowed to connect to remote network hosts they shouldn't be allowed to connect to. This bug has been found and fixed in various other browser virtual machines repeatedly over the last several years, but it seems that VM and browser vendors keep reintroducing it.

The Jakarta Project has released TomCat 3.1, an open source implementation of the Java Servlet 2.2 and JavaServer Pages 1.1 APIs. Version 3.1 adds many new features and bug fixes.

IBM's alphaWorks has posted a new version of VisualTestCoverage, a Visual Age tool for measuring how well test cases exercise different parts of your code. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Tuesday, April 18, 2000

The Java Apache Project has released the Java Apache Mail Enterprise Server (JAMES) 1.0. This is a very interesting idea. It's a 100% pure Java Mail Server which introduces Mailets. The idea is to do for email what servlets do for the Web. You can use maillets to automatically process and reply to email messages using the full power of Java. Doubtless, there's prior art somewhere, but I haven't heard of it. I think this has a lot of promise, and of course it's free software and open source.

Sun's released version 1.0 of the JavaPhone API Specification. This API is an extension to PersonalJava for telephony devices like as wireless smart phones and Internet screen phones. It includes:

The spec is available in PDF and Microsoft Word format.

Monday, April 17, 2000

Ben Spink's released version 1.0 of CrushFTP, his $20 shareware FTP server written in Java.

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4pre6. This release adds fixes some bugs and adds several new features including:

Sunday, April 16, 2000

No news. Just two questions today. First, I'm in the market for a new X86 sub-notebook to handle the increasing amount of speaking I'm doing. I think I've settled on the Fujitsu LifeBook S-4510. However, I was wondering if anyone had experience getting this thing to work with Linux? It is not one of the listed models in the Linux Laptop FAQ, probably because it's a little too new. If you do have any comments on this machine, please drop me a line at elharo@ibiblio.org. Thanks.

The second question is addressed to any design pattern experts in my audience. Would you consider it accurate to say that the java.net.URL class uses the Strategy design pattern, as defined by the Gang of Four, in which protocol handlers are the strategies and the URL class itself serves as the context through which the different strategies are selected? If this isn't an accurate description, is there any standard design pattern which you think the URL class does follow? Again, replies to elharo@ibiblio.org. Thanks.

Saturday, April 15, 2000

Yesterday afternoon, Sun posted JDK 1.3, Release Candidate 3 for Windows 95/98/2000/NT 4.0, on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Solaris or Linux builds are still not available. This release fixes about a dozen bugs.

Peter T. Mount has released version 1.1 of retepPDF, a Java class library for creating PDF files from any aplication that can print.

Friday, April 14, 2000

Sun's posted JDK 1.3, Release Candidate 3 for Windows 95/98/2000/NT 4.0, on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Solaris or Linux builds are still not available. This release fixes about a dozen bugs.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that some Microsoft engineer or engineers as yet unknown deliberately put a backdoor into as yet unidentified Microsoft software that could allow access to IIS hosted web sites. This software is probably the FrontPage server extensions. The quick fix is to remove the dvwssr.dll file from all systems. The permanent fix is to replace IIS with Apache and Windows with Linux. Details from the bugtraq mailing list.

One silver lining to this mess: it should definitively lay to rest the "security through obscurity" snake oil a lot of commercial vendors have been pushing lately. This incident thoroughly vitiates the recent PR campaign claiming source secret software is somehow more secure than open source software. Something like this could never have happened with open source software, or if it did it would have been found almost immediately. This incident demonstrates that buying software from large, multinational corporations with billions of dollars in revenue and market capitalization does not protect you from deliberately engineered, malicious security holes. (AT&T also did something like this in the early days of Unix.) The only plausible solution is to demand full and open source code for all applications that run on secure systems.

Sun Microsystems reported its third quarter (fiscal year) results yesterday including:

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4pre5. This release adds some minor new features and bug fixes.

Thursday, April 13, 2000

The final release of Enhydra 3.0 is now available. Version 3.0 supports the Java Servlet API 2.2 and Java Server Pages 1.1. It also adds load balancing, a WML DTD, dynamic recompilation of XMLC, a more robust DODS, cookie-less sessions, enhanced multiserver administration, better JBuilder support, and many bug fixes.

Sun has submitted Java Specification Request 65 Concise Object-Array Literals, to the Java Community Process. In essence, this is an obscurely named request to add variable length method argument lists to Java, such as are used by the printf() family of functions in C. This would be done by allowing literal arrays within method arguments, and automatically promoting primitve data types like int to the appropriate type-wrapper class like Integer. I can imagine some uses for this functionality, though at the same time I'm not sure I'd really want to add the extra complexity to the language. Furthermore, this encourages weaker type checking than I'm comfortable with. Review closes May 3, 2000.

From the "What goes around comes around department", we note that Amazon is now being sued by Intouch for infringing Intouch's patents on allowing consumers to preview music over the Internet. One stupid patent lawsuit deserves another. Read more on news.com.

IBM's alphaWorks has updated the Beanery to fix assorted bugs. The Beanery is a wizard-tool for creating Java beans.

Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Sun's released the Java Look & Feel Graphics Repository , a collection of 16x16 pixels and 24x24 pixels icons, designed for use in Swing toolbar buttons. Personally, I think these are rather ugly, and could only pass muster on a Unix system. Windows and Mac users are accustomed to much more polished icons.

MirrorWorlds has posted an early access release of a GPL'd Transport Neutral Encoding Format (TNEF) mail attachment decoder API for Java. TNEF is the format used in winmail.dat files sent from Microsoft Outlook as an email attachment. These classes can be used to decode such winmail.dat files.

Kevin A. Burton has released version 0.03 of Alexandria, a CVS/JavaDoc/Source code/Documentation management system meant for use within open source projects. The backend is implemented in XML driven by Ant, Xerces, and Xalan. Definition of source code is done within XML and then transformed through XSLT into various HTML files and a master build.xml file which is used to drive Ant. Ant attempts to download various CVS repositories and then builds Javadoc. Projects currently available from the system include:

Optimizeit 3.1 Professional, Intuitive Systems' $449 payware code profiler, has been ported to Solaris. It is also available on Windows. A Linux port is planned.

Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Frederic Lavigne has written Skin Look and Feel, a Skins package for the Java Platform that lets Java developers use GTK and KDE themes in their Swing applications. However, you might want to read Skin Cancer for a cautionary thought about such technologies before downloading it.

Matthias Pfisterer's released version 0.2.0 of Tritonus, an X86 Linux implementation of the Java Sound API 1.0. Tritonus is published under the GNU Library Public License. Tritonus supports

Applese has released CockTail 1.1 Standard Edition, a Java GUI Builder. JDK 1.2 or later is required.

IBM's updated their EJB Common Business Components for WebSphere to fix a few bugs and allow the five pieces to be downloaded separately from each other. These five pieces are:

Monday, April 10, 2000

Sun's posted an interesting article about how applets in email can be used to violate your privacy and track which messages you read (though I don't think that's the moral they were trying to get across). According to Barry Sohl, director of technology for RadicalMail.com:

We do a lot of tracking, so that we know everything that goes on in the body of the email. We can tell who sends out a newsletter, how many people opened it, how long on average they looked at or listened to it, if they clicked to purchase something, what percentage of people purchased it, if they passed it along to others -- all kinds of information.

In other words, they want to send you ads and look over your shoulder as you're reading them. The solution to this problem is fairly straight-forward:

Sunday, April 9, 2000

Slava Pestov has released JEdit 2.4pre4. This release adds

Tim Endres has released version 2.91 of ICEMail, a GPL'd email client written in Java and based on the new Java Mail API. This release adds internationalization, bug fixes, column sorting, and a few other small features as well as bug fixes.

Saturday, April 8, 2000

Sun's posted draft 1.0D of the JavaTV API Specification.

There's a major glitch on java.sun.com right now. The main home page has been replaced by the lawsuit information page. The rest of the site seems intact though. Somebody probably just uploaded the wrong index.html to the main directory. Lord knows I've done that often enough. If anyone knows the phone number of the right person at Sun to fix this, could you please give them a heads up?

Matthias Pfisterer's released version 0.1.92 of Tritonus, an implementation of the Java Sound API for Linux. This version adds:

Friday, April 7, 2000

Sun posted several new Java Specification Requests over the last few weeks including:

Sun's posted Java 3D 1.2 beta 2 for Windows and Sparc Solaris on the Java Developer Connection (registration required).

Sun's also posted the Java HotSpot Server VM 2.0 Release Candidate 2 for Windows on the Java Developer Connection. This version is allegedly 30% faster than version 1.0.

There are lots of new and updated products from IBM's alphaWorks today including:

Thursday, April 6, 2000

I'm back from my trip to London for the Xephon XML in the Large Organization event. I'll be spending most of today catching up on email and news that piled up while I was running around the globe for the last three weeks. For the most part, this wraps up my "Spring Tour". I do have trips planned to Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Atlanta over the next few months, however. I'll post more details about those here soon.

Sun's posted release candidate 2 of the JDK 1.3 for Windows 95/98/NT on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This release fixes assorted bugs and tunes performance overall.

Sun's released version 1.0 of the Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP) 1.0, a standard extension for Java 1.1 and later. This spec is mostly comprised of three parts, two of which are obsolete. The first part is SAX1. The second part is DOM Level 1. The third part comprises classes for locating and instantiating parsers. SAX1 and DOM1 are both obsolete (for instance SAX1 doesn't have any explicit namespace support) so I recommend that most programmers using Java to process XML simply jump straight to SAX2 or DOM2 via Xerces-J, and ignore this release. In fact, Sun has already started a new Java Specification Request for the Java API for XML Parsing 1.1 that updates JAXP to SAX2 and DOM2. Why they couldn't wait and do it right the first time, I'll never know.

As usual the spec is only available in PostScript and PDF formats, not HTML. Scott McNealy did a good thing when he banned PowerPoint from Sun. Now if we can just get him to ban FrameMaker as well, maybe we can get some specs written in HTML that people can actually read.

Jens Alfke has posted the third release of Rich Chocolaty Goodness, a component library that extends Java's Abstract Window Toolkit (not Swing!) to provide access to much more of the Mac Human Interface. This release adds tooltip support and fixes a few bugs.

Netscape's posted Netscape 6 Preview 1, a bleeding-edge pre-beta that supports direct display of XML+CSS in the browser. The Windows version (and possibly the Linux version) supports Java 2 via the bundled Java plug-in from Sun. This is based on the Mozilla source code, and is available for Windows, Linux and the Mac. Lots of bugs have been reported up to and including crashing systems and deletion of old bookmark files, especially with the Macintosh version. Exercise extreme caution before installing. I don't recommend this for production systems, only for non-mission critical CPUs used for testing beta software.

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

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Copyright 2000 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified April 14, 2000