Tuesday May 19, 2009

Countdown to JavaOne 2009

Inside the walls of the Planetarium you can gauge people's stress levels quite easily: Are they counting off the days until JavaOne begins, or the number of days until it ends ?

Of course all the sessions are online now, and you should be signing up because some of them are already full. And of course, students get a free pass. And of course who will the special guests will be, in this, the year of the app store ?

Alex Miller posted a nice list of JDK 7 / Java SE 7 talks, and Terrence posted a comprehensive preview of mobility related activities. There's a bunch of JavaFX stuff going on (so much more to say this year), like Jim's panel session, and many, many others.

Hope to see you there !

Monday May 18, 2009

More JSR 292: Angels and Demons

One of the exciting things going on today in the technlogy industry is the proliferation of new computing languages. Another is that the JVM is evolving to run most of them really, really well. Most exciting is how the ideas between the languages are being begged, borrowed and stolen, to the ultimate benefit of developers writing all kinds of applications. The Planetarium has long been a subscriber of the Darwinian notion that diversity spurs innovation.

So it was interesting to see that Sun's own John Rose was at the Lang.NET symposium up in Redmond last month, talking about JSR 292, which you can watch here\*, and giving an interview, which you can watch here\*, about the new work to turbo-charge multiple languages for JDK 7.

And, no doubt, participating in the sharing and borrowing of good ideas with the other attendees.

Frank Wierbicki, Dr Jython, was there too, talking about Jython on the JVM. And there was a crazy rumor that Charlie hacked up an experimental version of the JRuby compiler over the weekend to use JSR 292's invokedynamic bytecode, coming to the JDK 7 builds real soon. Maybe there will be more from Charlie at JavaOne.

\* You'll be asked to install Silverlight to see these vids. Just sayin.

Tuesday May 12, 2009

Mega-store coming to town

Imagine a town where a new store opens on the main street every few months. Sign of a healthy local economy.

Seems to be that way for application stores: There's a smell of new paint over at at Nokia's Ovi store, which recently decided to close its charity branch, ready for its imminent opening, Rim's App World's already had its grand opening (although people are still having trouble finding where it is) and the open-air stalls are filling up down near the tourist information booth in Google's App Market for Android phones. And still, the big success story has been Apple's app store, with its loud, hip music, serving its billion app and making many of its own headlines (and seducing some notable engineers).

But yesterday's news that Vodafone is going to open its own store by the end of this year is like the signs going up at the edge of town that a big box megastore store is opening up against the backdrop of what are starting to look like a collection of small specialty stores: Apple's wildly successful app store has a maximum reach of 31million users. Rim's store caters to only one kind of customer, those with a Blackberry, and so on.

Vodafone's store will be able to open its doors to nearly 300million users, or a billion if you include the ones it can get through Verizon in the US and China Mobile in Asia. And all those millions of shoppers already have a store account there, they just didn't know it. And while technical details are eerily scarce, it appears to be aiming at muliple platforms to do so.

2009 is indeed turning out to be the year of the application store.

Wednesday May 06, 2009

JDK 7 Watch: UI week

It seems the Janitor is not the only one on JDK 7 watch these days.

Last week's JDK 7 build was a GUI flavored one, with a couple of the most visible features added to Java SE 6u10 making it into the JDK 7 codebase. Alex blogged about the addition of Nimbus Look and Feel (did you know which L&F most people like best ?), and translucent and shaped windows are now in. There's also a rumor that JXLayer is nearly ready - this is the handy utility that helps you add effects to composite Swing GUIs, like this, or this.

And you knew that NIO2 is already in the JDK 7 builds, but you might not have known that there are a bunch of samples for it too.

Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Java, JavaFX news round-up

Marking a mask-free return from Mexico, the Janitor returns to a pile of acivity in the Java and JavaFX world.

As Remi noted, invokedynamic, the bytecode centerpiece of JSR 292 has been committed to JDK 7, as have method handles, good job since its on the list for M3, which is the release for JavaOne. And speaking of M3 features, SCTP is now in the latest weekly build. Things are shaping up !

In JavaFX-land, some of the early developer sketpicism seems to be modulating towards something altogether more positive, as well as some unprompted feedback to rival RIA technologies. Of course the latter comparison is with the Swing of 5+ years ago: today it looks much different. And the mysterious paranormal JavaFX goings on continue. Weird.

And perhaps prompted by the release of another milestone of the PhoneME project (open source Java ME for phones implementation...), and the all-in-one Java ME SDK 3.0, the Java ME SDK team now has a group blog.

Wednesday Apr 15, 2009

Swing, ImageUploader, Trees

A cute little newish project you may not have seen is the ImageUploader project over at java.net. Its a cross-platform Swing application (screenshot) for selecting images to upload, as the name hints at, complete with drag and drop from native file explorers, roll-over effects, image preview. When the time comes up upload multiple files, it POSTs them over to a URL, complete with reassuring progress indicators. Its under BSD, and even the Janitor could easily check the repo, compile it in NetBeans and have it running within minutes.

Nice, especially as an applet, if you need image upload on your website.

Of course it has a customized version of JTree. Something not commonly available on mobile phones, unless of course, you include LWUIT in your application, in which case, its relatively easy to build down off the LWUIT composite Container model and build your own, as you can see explained in detail here.

Tuesday Apr 14, 2009

Multiple JVM Languages at JavaOne 2009

It's a good thing that the work to turbo-charge the JVM for multiple languages will make it into the JDK 7 builds in time for JavaOne, because as Roberto blogs, there's another scripting showdown planned. Last year they duked it out over a Twitter client (JRuby took the prize), what should it be this year ?

There are also great sessions planned each of the contestants in the Script Bowl 2009: representing Clojure, Jython, Groovy, JRuby, Scala.

And, to better understand how these all run, and can run better on the JVM, in a dual play on 'rebirth' and a period in european history starting in 15th century Italy, where scholars were noted for their pursuit of multiple skills, as typified by Lenonardo DaVinci, John and Brian are lining up an interesting talk on the Renaissance JVM.

(Check out the JavaOne session catalog yourself here)

Monday Apr 13, 2009

JDK 7-watch: NIO2

One of the features on the plate for JDK7, and incidentally, one of the features that has already made it into the weekly builds is the new NIO2 API.

NIO2 speclead Alan Bateman blogged late last week in some detail about features like the new filesystem api, and how the bread and butter of this new API is the Path class and the DirectoryStream interface for operations on file directories, like for performing a file search efficiently. And at last there is a way to get notifications when something in the filesystem changes.

Tuesday Apr 07, 2009

Java Card Readers

Smart cards, being small tamper-resistant integrated circuits stuck on plastic, have long been adopted early in Europe. From the first mass deployment on prepaid phone cards in France in 1983, and Carte Blue chip-and-pin cards in 1992, to the wave of popularity of SIM cards in GSM phones in Europe throughout the same decade. Whether the familiar gold-plated contact smart card, or the newer contactless RFID cards used on metros round the world (and coming soon to your credit card, if you dare !), Java Card is the primary application model.

But just as the information stored on a smart card is so difficult to prize off without permission, its surprisingly difficult to find good technical articles on Java Card. Which is why the Planetarium is a fan of the Java Card 3.0 series Eric has been blogging over the last few months or so.

From the shock of a servlet running on a smart card, why Java Card needed to evolve, the connected vs classic profile in Java Card 3, to last week's the detail on how Java Card has evolved from version 2.2, its a great read ( contactless or otherwise).

Friday Apr 03, 2009

Friday fun: Pie and Performance

If you're in need of a fun way to get to grips with JavaFX, then take a look at this oddly diverting extra-sensory game-cum-viral-thingy. The Janitor isn't cool enough to really understand yet, but you need to write JavaFX code and wear cool t-shirts and figure out stuff.

And just for fun, check out who's got the bragging rights for JVM performance on multi-core servers with Intel's Nehalem chip: is it IBM's J9 or Sun's HotSpot and the $500 riding who has the best open source credentials.

Another kind of mockery that lives in fable is speed mocking predictability: here's an interesting interview on the Java Real Time System.

Thursday Apr 02, 2009

Java ME news from CTIA

The wireless industry likes to get most of its big conferences over with before summer starts. Following MWC in February (when JavaFX Mobile was released), its CTIA Wireless this week. No JavaFX announcements (you'll need to wait for JavaOne for those), but some interesting updates for Java ME developers.

Mostly focussed around applications: but there are a couple of notable Java handsets. Kyocera's new handsets are described as 'innovatively timed for today's challenging economy' aka cheap (or worse, affordable). Maybe they will save the economy, or maybe they are just after the next billion mobile consumers. Samsung showed off the follow up to its blockbuster Instinct phone, and its sparkly Impression phone, whose screen has now passed the radiation test.

AT&T kicked off its apps beta store, kind of a pre-season sale warehouse for what's going to hit its real app store later. Or what's not, if developers don't like it. And Sprint opened up its phones for developers, sort of.

Yahoo previewed its mobile makeovers for Java phones, and there was a dizzying slew of announcements of other Java apps that didn't stay in Vegas.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

JavaFX Flavors

Not flavors as in a taste test (btw there were about 1600 entries just in the first week), but flavors as in languages.

Kenji posted a nice example of how to dynamically change the locale of a JavaFX application. Using the java.util.Locale class from Java. Calling Java classes from JavaFX is of course very easy, but there are occasional gotchas to watch for.

And javafx.com is expanding on the international scene, with new portuguese and chinese editions.

If you need a deeper morphing of your JavaFX application travels the world, perhaps you should give the UI elements Skins. This article gives a nice introduction to skinning UI controls in JavaFX, even though it takes more than 5 mins to read.

Tuesday Mar 31, 2009

JDK and JRE Watch

Latest in a regular series from Java SE-land is a roundup of goodies from the last week.

You probably saw that Java SE 6 Update 13 shipped last week. Despite some wild headlines, this was bugfix release with some important security issues addressed. And a notable fix of this bug in the draggable applets feature, a sign that this feature is getting more of a workout.

Next Java SE 6 Update is 14, in early access, which most notably includes the Garbage First collector to play with.

This more predictable garbage collector is one of the features of the upcoming JDK 7, of which Martin did a nice overview, including the modularity work of Jigsaw (see API doc here).

As is the multi-language support: John posted a patched Java compiler and Netbeans for people to try out dynamic types, method handles, and invokedynamic features of the DaVinci Machine Project which are due to be put into JDK 7 builds for JavaOne.

Project Coin closed its slot today. Joe has been posting regular updates on the proposals for small changes to the Java language for this project. It's a much quicker way to get up to speed than the lively mailing list.

In other language news, there's an update to the Checker framework, which is a great way to try out the current state of the Annotations on Java types JSR 308.

Alex posted an update on the bugs fixed in the Swing App Framework, and is looking for input from Swing developers. SAF is due to go into JDK 7 late August.

And, did you want to come to JavaOne for free ?

Monday Mar 30, 2009

Planet Cast Two: James Gosling on Java and JavaFX

Tune in to the second in the Planet Cast podcast series with a conversation (~35 mins) with James Gosling all about what get's him excited, starting with an impromptu poety reading, but mostly all about what's going on in with Java and JavaFX.

From Garbage First, through modularity in Java, multiple languages, Swing and JavaFX, this is a must listen episode from the man who started it all.

Listen or download here. (Friendlier means coming soon).

Friday Mar 27, 2009

Searching for Java ME

It's good to see companies focussing on what new products to ship rather than buyout rumors (the Planetarium never gets distracted by those).

Like the new Yahoo! mobile coming in May, which will update the rich client apps for Java ME phones. Like Google does. And rather than letting others do it for them.

Or if you are reading the Planetarium in russian, Yandex, the largest russian web portal (putting the 'ya' in index), getting its mail and IM apps onto Java phones too.


A blog all about Java in all its flavors on all client platforms from smartcards to desktops and everything inbetween.


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