November 2000 Java News

Thursday, November 30, 2000

Sun's published JSR-95 J2EE Activity Service for Extended Transactions in the Java Community Process. This proposes to develop the functionality for "flexible ways of composing an application using transactions, with the support for enabling the application to possess some or all ACID properties. Such support should include facilities for supporting business rules, programming rules, and data usage patterns. Long-running applications and activities can be structured as many independent, short-duration top-level transactions, to form a logical long-running transaction." Comments are due by December 4, 2000.

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

I'm pleased to report that yesterday I got my 416K SDSL connection working for the first time. Verizon took two months and two missed appointments to complete their part of the order. My ISP took took two weeks to do their part, and it only took that long, because I was out of town for a week for the Thanksgiving holiday. It's long past time to forcefully break up the local phone company monopolies.

In the next few months I plan to move at least part of this site, onto local boxes in my office that I can control. Since I'll be able to install and configure software on my own serrvers, this will let me make some additions to this site that I've wanted for a long time, particularly SlashDot-style forums. The big change is that I'll be able to run my own database server. However, it will take me a while to get all that in place. In the meantime, SDSL is just fast.

On the other hand, it's not nearly as fast as I expected. It turns out that most of the bottlenecks on the Net (at least the Net as I experience it) or in something other than the local connection. Most of the time the bottleneck's on the server or the client or both, not the pipe between them. Retrieving email is only marginally quicker than with my 56K modem. Neither ibiblio's POP server nor Eudora can keep up with a full-bore mail feed. FTP transfers are about twice as fast. Web sites are a little faster, but I am now more convinced than ever of the necessity for low-bandwidth, simple design. Switching to a connection that's almost ten times faster did almost nothing to speed up graphics-heavy pages with complex designs. The bottleneck there seems to be split between the server and the browser. I still need to try Napster. Otherwise, the only thing I've found that actually seems ten times faster is Usenet News. I can suck down newsgroups far faster than I can read or even page through them. I wonder is this says something about the relative efficiency of NNTP vs other protocols on high-bandwidth connections?

Slava Pestov's released version 2.7p3 of jEdit, an open source programmer's editor written in Java. New features include X86 assembly language highlighting.

Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Sun's released the Java TV API 1.0 Specification. This defines an API for digital television receivers including

An implementation does not yet seem to be available.

Sun's posted the Public Review Draft of JSR 23 JAIN MGCP API Specification in the Java Community Process. Comments are due by January 2, 2001.

Sun's updated the Public Review Draft Specification for the Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) 1.1. So far I'm not sure what's changed, except that the PDF file is three times larger (though that could just be a couple of extra diagrams).

Sun's also updated the Public Review Draft Specification of the Image I/O Framework.

Monday, November 27, 2000

Sun's released version 2.0.2 of the Java Communications API for Solaris/SPARC. This is a bug fix release. This is a standard extension to Java that lets your programs communicate with the serial and parallel ports.

Sun's posted the second early access release of the Java Image I/O API version 0.5 implementation on the Java Developer Connnection (registration required). This API is a pluggable framework for reading and writing images of various formats that will be included in the next update release of Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Version 2.0 of JBoss, an open source Enterprise JavaBeans server, has been released. The new version includes integration with Apache's Tomcat.

Tuesday, November 21, 2000

GnuJSP 1.0.1 has been released. Changes include:

An early Christmas present today: Alligator Descartes has posted the complete text of his almost completed book Java Native Methods in PDF format. The book covers programming with both the Java Native Interface (JNI) and Raw Native Interface (RNI) and discusses topics from basic cross-platform compilation to integrating native rendering into Java applications and integrating Java into executable programs. The book also contains many examples and the full source code to the examples can be downloaded.

Tomcat Project Logo, a cartoon picture of a catThe Jakarta Apache Project has posted beta 8 of Tomcat 3.2. Tomcat is a servlet engine for Apache. This release fixes assorted bugs.

Saturday, November 18, 2000

Sun's posted version 1.1.1 of Java Pet Store, an example J2EE application. This release demonstrates several new features, "including design patterns and better componentization."

Friday, November 17, 2000

ICANN's selected seven new top-level domains:

None of this will do much to change the fact that the whole process is rigged in favor of large multinational corporations.

Sun's posted a release candidate of Java Web Start 1.0 for Windows on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). Java Web Start lets you launch stand-alone Java applications from your Web browser. After it's downloaded the first time, the application can be launched independently of the browser. The applications run in a sandbox and are secure like applets, though the sandbox is a little less restrictive than the one applets get to play in. For instance, Java Web Start applications can call System.exit() and they can read and write files that the user chooses through Open and Save File dialogs (though they can't read an arbitrary file on the hard drive.) As with applets, code signing can be used to loosen the sandbox restrictions. However, they're cached on your hard drive and don't require a new download every time you want to run one. They can also be updated to new versions automatically. Technically, it seems quite easy for developers to implement Java Web Start applications, just put all your files in JAR archives, write a simple XML document describing the application, and set a couple of web server parameters.

Thursday, November 16, 2000

BEA Systems, Inc. has submitted Java Specification Request 94, a Java Rule Engine API, to the Java Community Process. A rule engine is "a sophisticated if/then statement interpreter. The if/then statements that are interpreted are called rules. The 'if' portions of rules contain conditions such as 'shoppingCart.totalAmount > $100'. The 'then' portions of rules contain actions such as "recommendDiscount(5%)'. The inputs to a rule engine are a ruleset and some data objects. The outputs from a rule engine are determined by the inputs and may include the originally inputted data objects with possible modifications, new data objects and side effects such as 'sendMail("Thank you for shopping").'" Comments are due by November 27, 2000.

The first beta of the leJOS open source virtual machine for the Lego Mindstorms RCX has been released. This derived from the TinyVM. Features added include:

Sun's released the Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition, v 1.3.0_01 FCS for Linux, Windows, and Solaris. This is a bug fix release of the JDK 1.3. The only significant new feature is support for the recently released Netscape 6 in the Java Plug-In.

Wednesday, November 15, 2000

The Jakarta Apache Project has posted beta 7 of Tomcat 3.2. Tomcat is a servlet engine for Apache. This release fixes numerous bugs.

Sun's posted the Maintenance Review Draft Specification for JSR-909 Java Specification Participation Agreement to the Java Community Process. As usual this is in PDF format. Most changes are editorial and do not substamntially affect the meaning of the agreement. The one exception is the elimination of the clause stating "You agree to pay a pro rata share of the actual cost of auditing the Process for developing the Specification for which you are a member of the Expert Group. Such costs are estimated not to exceed U.S.$50,000 for the entire Expert Group." Review closes on December 12, 2000.

Sun's also posted the Public Review Draft Specification for JSR-55, the Certification Path API. This defines a provider-based API "for creating, building, and verifying certification paths (also known as "certificate chains")." Review closes on December 8, 2000.

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Sun's posted a beta of the Java 3D API 1.2.1 on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). This is mostly a bug fix release, with a few extra example programs and optimizations.

Netscape 6.0 has been released, for Linux, Windows 95 and later, and MacOS 8.5 and later, though the FTP servers seem to be more than a little overloaded right now. This is the first release version of Netscape based on the Mozilla source code. Among other features, it supports direct display of XML documents with attached CSS style sheets.

Monday, November 13, 2000

Sun's posted the Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) DNS Service Provider 1.2 Technology Preview 2 and JNDI DSML Service Provider 1.2 Technology Preview 2 on the Java Developer Connection (registration required).

Thursday, November 9, 2000

I've posted corrected version of the notes from all the talks I gave at SDExpo East last week including:

I'm leaving today for San Jose. Friday night at 6:30 P.M., the Hewlett Packard Symphony Orchestra will be playing my wife's composition Minnesota Swale at the Oakroom Auditorium on the HP campus in Cupertino. The public is welcome. Sunday, I'll be talking about The Bleeding Edge of XML at XML DevCon. Updates may be a little slow here until I return on Monday.

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

We live in interesting times. Just yesterday I was reading about possible massive and systemic vote fraud in Florida and today I wake up to find out that the Florida election is too close to call, and may in fact decide the next president of the United States. I just hope whoever loses this one has the brains to insist on and the power to force a complete, open and public review of the workings of all parts of the voting process, including the source code of all software used and the design of all hardware used to collect and process ballots. Anything less leaves this election open to real suspicion of voter fraud.

Version 27.97 of Jacob is now available. Jacob - The Java Commando Base, is a Java browser and project manager for Emacs. This version is published under the GPL for the first time.

Sun's posted the first early access verison of the M Project on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). The M Project is

an early access, prealpha, use-at-your-own-risk-only prototype implementation of an XML-based messaging system. It is based on work currently in progress as part of the ebXML initiative... The overall goal is to provide a prototype for discussion of a messaging system for use in "B2B" systems. These "B2B' scenarios are generally conceived of as involving two or more business entities communicating via the Internet (TCP/IP). In particular, a JavaTM application developer should be able to easily communicate with other business entities which have agreed to adhere to specifications which the ebXML initiative has put forth by working with a set of simple Java interfaces.

Metamata's released version 2.0 of their namesake Metamata Java 2 debugger. There's a free-beer personal edition, and payware pro and enterprise editions.

Borland's released JBuilder 4 Foundation, the free-beer version of their Java IDE written in Java.

Eazel has posted the second Preview Release of Nautilus, the GNOME file manager for Linux.

Monday, November 6, 2000

It's time to catch up on various specifications making their way through the Java Community Process. First up is a new submission from IBM, JSR-92 Localizable Text. This proposes an EJB infrastructure for translating language neutral information in an object "from anywhere in a distributed network. When the object is formatted the Locale, TimeZone and language neutral information is sent to a server where the translated text is assembled from Resource Bundles." I support localization, but this proposal sounds a little complicated for my tastes. I'd prefer something simpler. The review for this JSR closes on November 13, 2000.

Next, the Public Review Draft Specification for JSR-47 Logging API has been published. As usual it's a PDF file. Review closes on November 29, 2000.

Finally, Sun's posted the proposed final drafts of the JSR-000053 Java Servlet 2.3 and JavaServer Pages 1.2 Specifications.

Sunday, November 5, 2000

The MASS Laboratory at Seoul National University has released version 0.9.1 of the open source LaTTe virtual machine for Solaris 2.5 or higher on UltraSPARCs. LaTTe is a research prototype derived from Kaffe 0.9.0 for the study of dynamic (just-in-time) compilation techniques. Its features include:

Jack Jansen's released MacPython 2.0, a port of Python 2.0 to the Mac.

Slava Pestov's released version 2.6 of jEdit, an open source programmer's editor written in Java. New features include better I/O, a Virtual File System browser with favorites and FTP support, dockable windows, improved printing, context sensitive bracket matching that ignores brackets in string literals and comments, multiline abbreviation expansion, a jEdit command line, and various user interface improvements.

Friday, November 3, 2000

Sun's posted an early access release of the J2EE Client Access Services Table Bridge (J2EE CAS) on the Java Developer Connection (registration required). J2EE CAS allows native Windows applications to access entity Enterprise JavaBeans components deployed on an application server using the ActiveX Data Objects API. Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or 2000, the Microsoft Data Access Components 2.1 (or later) is required.

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

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Copyright 2000 Elliotte Rusty Harold
Last Modified December 7, 2000