Java News from Thursday, August 19, 2004

Release early; release often. Stefan Matthias Aust noticed some problems using XOM beta 1 with Java 1.5 when the standard Xerces was not in the CLASSPATH so I've posted beta 2 to fix the problem. I would appreciate it if people could test this in both Java 1.4 and 1.5 without having any parsers besides the JDK bundled parsers in their classpaths. There are some pretty skanky hacks behind the scenes to make this all work seamlessly between different parsers and JVM versions, and I've stumbled across at least one major bug JDK 1.5 while implementing this. (Sun promises me the bug will be fixed in their next drop. For the moment, XOM uses a Sun-suggested work-around so it should still work until the underlying bug is fixed.)

While I was at it, I've used TagSoup to make the JavaDoc well-formed (possibly valid, I haven't checked) XHTML. tagsoup-0.9.7.jar is now bundled with the complete distributions. However it's only necessary to build XOM, not to run it.

None of the public APIs have changed in any way. All beta 1 and alpha, code should still run without a recompile.

IBM has posted a beta of Cloudscape 10.0, a relational database written in Java and designed for embedding in Java applications. IBM is preparing to donate Cloudscape to the Apache Software Foundation for eventual release as open source under the name "Derby," but source code does not yet seem to be available.

The Apache Jakarta Commons Team has released Commons Attributes 2.1, an open source library that "enables Java programmers to use C#/.Net-style attributes in their code."

Joshua Bloch and Gilad Bracha have posted the second proposed final draft specification for JSR-201, Extending the Java Programming Language with Enumerations, Autoboxing, Enhanced for loops and Static Import. This describes most of the changes to the core language in Java 1.5 (with the exception of generics). It's not immediately obvious to me what's changed since the last draft. I've done a little work with autoboxing and the enhanced for loops lately. I've decided I like enhanced for loops, but I'm still undecided about autoboxing. Also, kudos to the working group for the doing the spec in HTML instead of PDF. :-) If only they'd just post the damn files on a regular web site, instead of making you download a ZIP archive. :-(

Nathan Fiedler has released version 2.25 of JSwat, a graphical, stand-alone Java debugger built on top of the Java Platform Debugger Architecture. Features include breakpoints, source code viewing, single-stepping, watching variables, viewing stack frames, and printing variables. Version 2.25 adds a close-all-but-this menu item to the tabbed views popup menu and fixes some bugs. JSwat is published under the GPL.

The Big Faceless Organization has released the Big Faceless PDF Library 2.2.5, a $700 payware (more if you want support) Java class library for creating PDF documents. The $1300 Extended Edition adds the AcroForms support, digital signatures, and the ability to import and edit and existing PDF documents. Version 2.2.5 reduces memory usage and fixes bugs. Java 1.2 or later is required.