The JavaOne show in San Francisco saw a raft of commitments to Java from Sun's ISV?s and rivals. Just about everyone in IT, even Microsoft, likes Java, and few are anything less than enthusiastic.
There was the occasional sour moment, most notably when Microsoft refused to support the 100% Pure Java initiative, claiming that Sun hadn?t invited it to join the rest of the industry?s big boys before briefing the press.
Sun denies this, but unsheathed its own stiletto by demonstrating the much talked about security flaw in Active X. It claims that the loophole could allow a hacker to access private user files, and if users want to download software from the Internet,it?s much safer to use Java than Active X.
Elsewhere in the conference, a round up of announcements saw Microsoft porting its Win 32 API to Java, and the APIs assume the form of Java class libraries. Soon to be integrated into Microsoft?s forthcoming Java Virtual Machine, Win 32 on Java offers a new version of Visual Basic, Vegas, which generates native Java byte-code as easily as native Windows code.
Some companies say they want to get out of the Windows paradigm, evolved and dominated by Microsoft, but most users and developers expect that Windows will be around for a long time, and good cross-platform systems are welcome additions. Industry expectations are that Microsoft will announce a stop-gap product including VB to Java conversion as early as May, at the TecEd conference.
IBM, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and Novell are joining forces to ramp up developer training on Java, absolutely essential if Java is to build a groundswell of user support. The Java Education World Tour ?97, the largest joint developer roadshow in the history of IT, arrives in London on April 22, providing information on the latest advancements and demonstrating how to develop and deploy Java-based Internet and Intranet applications.
The tour, providing training for 100% Pure Java applications, encompasses eight European cities, with additional seminars in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. The London Arena Exhibition Centre in Limeharbour is hosting the UK event, and registrations are via the Web at http://javaworldtour.sbexpos.com or on 0800 890172. Seminars are #60 in advance, #90 on the day, and developers registered on existing IBM, Netscape, Novell or Sun programs can claim discounts.
Sun and Novell issued a joint statement extending their existing relationship to include marketing and software development. Novell pinched Sun?s technology chief as its new CEO, Web and Java enthusiast, Eric Schmidt, but if anything, that unorthodox move seems to be laying the foundations for an even closer relationship.
Novell is continuing to deliver Java APIs through Novell IntranetWare and Novell Directory Services; and the two companies talk of streamlining joint developments and simplifying network management and maintenance through Novell?s network services. Aiming firmly at Internet-led developments, Novel has a lot to gain from Sun after the continuous Microsoft bruising of the past few years. Its new Java-based administration system, Houston, should integrate Novell and other admin products into a single entity, achievable because it is 100% Java-compliant.
Borland joined in the Java party, previewing Version 3.0 of the Delphi application development environment and discussing its forthcoming architecture for managing objects across diverse platforms. Due this quarter, Delphi 3.0 includes the Multitier Distributed Applications Services (MIDAS) with three request brokers for managing objects. Borland says it is a common workbench targeted at RAD with a two-way tools architecture , shared SQL tools, native database drivers and a shared component model. Zack Urlocker, vice president of management commented that Borland wants to deliver one major product per quarter, and Delphi 3.0 will be succeeded by Jbuilder for building Java apps, followed by IntraBuilder, designed to generate Server-based Web applications.
Hewlett-Packard threw its hat in the ring, saying that a new Just-In-Time compiler for HP-UX makes it the fastest Unix platform available, outstripping Java?s own progenitor, Sun Microsystems. The compiler is claimed to run Java applications 13 times faster than pure interpreted code from a Java virtual machine, and Sun is claiming benchmark leadership, saying it has a 30% lead over the market leader, Sun?s JIT compiler. Both Sun and HP have still to catch up with the non-Unix world, with Microsoft and Netscape streaking ahead in terms of Windows NT and Java. The new compiler can be downloaded from HP?s Web site.
Lotus Development Corp and JavaSoft say that Lotus? InfoBus technology is serving as a standard for information sharing between JavaBeans, network and personal computers. Sun?s CEO, Scott McNealy, commented at the JavaOne launch that: ?Lotus? InfoBus technology makes a strong contribution to the Java platform. Our adoption of InfoBus is a big step forward for the entire Java community. The more developers that implement InfoBus, the bigger the benefit.?
Demoed back in January at Lotusphere 97, Infobus requires no additional programming to share and exchange information , enabling more rapid development of Java and Intranet applications for client and server environments. The key advantage is that with no programming, the cost of deploying database access applications is vastly reduced. By assembling applications with JavaBeans and Infobus, a database access JavaBean can retrieve information from a relational database and publish it on the InfoBus, making it accessible to other JavaBeans for display or processing. InfoBus locates the correct source for the data and provides automatic updates to other JavaBeans as the data changes. Expected to be ready for review by late May, InfoBus will become part of the Java Developers Kit, and the first release of the InfoBus APIs will be included in the next version of the developers kit.
IBM held out a Java branch to Active X developers when its Taligent subsidiary announced a JavaBeans migration tool for Active X, due to be licensed by JavaSoft. Included in the VisualAge Webrunner, it treats Active X control as input, and it generates conventions while Java Bean code skeletons are put in place for developers to create JavaBeans components. The skeletons may be logic filled and protected from Active X to make a pure Java environment.
Visual Age for Java, now in open beta program, incorporates the first commercial delivery of Javabeans Development Kit 1.1 from JavaSoft. It offers a complete development environment, says IBM, including a new editor, debugger, browser and class libraries for constructing 100% pure Java applications. The BeanMachine authoring tool is aimed at Web development, offering a wider array of Java-based multimedia tools, and the VisualAge Webrunner toolkit.
John Swainson, general manager Application Development, IBM Software, commented: ?Our customers want e-business solutions that help broaden their reach to the Net. This announcement extends VisualAge?s capabilities to the Java programming environment, enabling customers to visually construct Web-ready applications and extend existing information assets to the Net.?<> IBM says it will adopt JavaBeans as the component model for all VisualAge development tools, kicking off with VisualAge for Java Standard Edition. Available from June for NT, Windows 95 and OS/2, no pricing details until then. BeanMachine should ship this spring and Webrunner is scheduled for the summer. Again, no pricing.
Meanwhile Apple?s need and enthusiasm for Java grows daily. It is now advising developers to ramp up and prepare for writing applications in Java, saying it plans to have a Java set ready for the developer release of Rhapsody, due in the third quarter. More promises that further announcements are imminent.
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