This is the year that Java enters the mainstream computing environment, claimed Alan Baratz, president of Sun Microsystems JavaSoft division on the opening day of the Java One show in San Francisco. ?1996 was the year of the client,? he told an audience of over 10,000 developers. ?1997 will be the year that Java will go beyond the client.?
To that end, the third Java One show was characterised by a barrage of announcements of new and upgraded products from Sun and its partners which executives from Sun claimed demonstrated that Java had challenged the accepted definition of computing. Sun chief executive Scott McNealy boasted: ?The rules of the game are changing. Java is now the force driving computing and Sun is the force driving Java.?
Java architect James Gosling used his opening keynote to explain one of the major product announcements of the conference: a new suite of Java Foundation Classes developed jointly by Sun, IBM and Netscape. The finished classes include JavaSoft?s Abstract Windowing Toolkit,. development tools from IBM and Netscape?s Internet Foundation Classes. A developer release will be available by the end of May with full release scheduled for the end of the summer.
Among the other products featured at the show were a batch from Sun?s SunSoft arm which announced version 2.0 of its Java Workshop development environment; Java Workshop Professional, which ties Workshop 2.0 and Java Studio together; and Java Plan, a development tool for enterprise scale applications, now available for Solaris.
For Web designers and content providers, Sun launched Java Studio, an authoring environment for creating Java software without having to write any code. Java Studio contains a WYSIWYG HTML editor which allows developers to create or edit content directly from the Web page environment.To boost its distribution, Corel will package Java Studio with Corel Office for Java.
Meanwhile Sun?s Microelectronics division said it has signed four Java chip deals with consumer electronics firms to embed the technology in a variety of commodity products. Toshiba will produce mobile NCs; Semicon will develop Internet Tvs; Thompson Sun Interactive is tackling set-top boxes; and Rockwell Collins will handle cellular phones.
?Imagine a smart phone that flips open to reveal a small computer screen that allows you to jot down notes, surf the Web and also provides directions to the nearest Italian restaurant,? said Chet Silvestri, president of Sun Microelectronics. Deliverable products should begin to appear in the final quarter of the year.
Also towards the end of the year Sun will release JavaPC, a suite of software which the company claims will convert ageing Intel Pcs into Ncs running Java applications, Windows and DOS. JavaPC will feature HotJava Views, which will offer email, scheduling software and Internet access. In the US, JavaPC will retail for under $100.
Lotus InfoBus technology will be used by Sun as the standard mechanism for information sharing among Java Beans. Infobus will be bundled in future releases of the Java Development Kit with effect from the beginning of next year.
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