Wednesday Jan 13, 2010

Java ME MIDP 3.0 in hand

Java ME MIDP 3.0 shipped recently, and the Janitor has already one of the developer phones in his hand as he writes (no jokes about one handed-typing please), complete with battery, clock and Twitter MIDlets and more. No big deal, but its the MIDlet environment that's really changed.

These MIDlets, which can now run concurrently, in the background, can start when the phone boots, can run as the idle screen, and can talk to each other thanks to the new inter-MIDlet communication mechanism, share libraries and respond to a bunch of phone events. And there's a raft of graphically related improvements to jazz up the look, especially on larger screens.

Tuesday Oct 27, 2009

Launch parties for Java ME SDK for Mac and NetBeans 6.8 ?

Last week was a pretty busy one, with the release of Java ME SDK for Mac (early access), and the NetBeans 6.8 beta.

The Java ME SDK is the all-in-one phone to Blu-Ray app development kit, and the news is that its now available on the Mac platform too. Ready for the final NetBeans 6.8 release on December 1st, whose beta has already had a bunch of promising reviews for the new features, like zapping up the JavaFX code editing  and hinting niceties that Tor has often mentioned.

It's strange no-one suggested doing home launch parties for them. They can be such fun !

Thursday Sep 17, 2009

Java ME Watch

...Java ME too has plenty to say.

While some are worrying about which market segment Java ME will rule, the Opera Mini browser, the leading mobile browser, which runs on Java ME phones, shipped a new beta which is getting some great reviews. Like competitor BOLT, which also runs on Java ME phones, it does what seems to be impossible: faster browsing on small devices through cellular networks by using a compression server.

Developers looking into the Swing inspired LWUIT framework now have a book to help them out, while the LWUIT team is looking forward to what's to come in the next version. You can hear one company's experience with LWUIT on the latest Java Mobility podcast.

See more on LWUIT in this new series of short videos on a range of Java ME topics, with shorts on Java Device Test Framework, JSR 290, and  too.

Friday Aug 14, 2009

Java ME: Smart browsing on dumb phones

Think you need a $martphone to browse the web ?

The intriguing BOLT browser should get you to think again (thanks to arch-blogger Hinkmond for the heads up). With desktop-like features like split-screen browsing, feed support, saving web pages, streaming video and accompanied by excellent reviews of its speed even on the most basic phones, how can it do it when all the client requires is the most basic of Java ME APIs: MIDP 2.0, rather than the fancier MSA 2 shipping on the newer Java ME phones ?

The client part (which Bitstream claims has long passed the millionth download mark) of the BOLT browser is just half the story: the heavy lifting is handled on the server through which renders and compresses the data (23:1, if you believe them) ready to squirt back to the phone.

And BOLT isn't the only of this new breed of browser.

Thursday Aug 06, 2009

Java ME: LWUIT Upgrades

For those developers working on apps for today's feature phones, the Java Swing-inspiredLWUIT has long been a good option for making good looking UIs such as these. And its just part of the all-devices-in-one Java ME SDK 3.0.

Last month LWUIT made its 1.2 release with a raft of new features, paying particular attention to a revamped way of inserting style into components and backgrounds, and a newly online designer tool (seems to be all the rage these days).

And, as an open source project, others appear to be doing it with LWUIT too: its been ported to a new mini-Java ME VM called Jelatine, and can be upgraded to display text tfel-ot-thgir.

Monday Jul 20, 2009

Java ME: Bluetooth or NFC ?

Most new feature phones now have Bluetooth, and so most support the Java APIs to allow Java (and JavaFX) applications to drive it. And as you can see in this survey of Java ME tools, all the major development tools for Java ME phones support the APIs too. You may also have noticed some rather naughty uses of it too.

When the phone manufacturers finish up the next version of Java ME for feature phones, more of them will support Near Field Communication (NFC).

Leaving applications that need to transfer things like love notes, wedding invitations, baby photos (possibly in that order) a choice of whether to use Bluetooth or NFC to do it.

Check out this article to see the merits of each approach.

Tuesday Jun 30, 2009

JavaFX: gr8 2 c on fonz

What with the release of JavaFX 1.2 and JavaFX phones on sale to developers, and on view, for example here and here, the fact that the JavaFX language and common APIs are the same whether you are on the desktop or on a mobile device (or a TV set top box) is worth chatting about.

Of course, there are design considerations when creating applications for the smaller screen. And you need to take some care over input methods (keys, mouse, touchscreen). And of course there are times when you want to write an application that uses a feature that is totally specific to the underlying client device.

Like SMS on a mobile phone. So reading this article should give you a really clear picture of how to take advantage of the underlying messaging capabilities on a Java ME phone, and combine it with the fit and finish of a JavaFX UI layer to make a professional SMS client, with all the visual cues and polish that are both desirable and required now in a phone application. And along the way, put together an on screen keyboard with the minimum of fuss.

Monday Jun 29, 2009

Java ME Defragmentation

For those of you concerned about Java ME fragmentation, you were probably pleased about the creation of JATAF - a group of mobile companies (and Sun) getting together to try to sort out the issues of differences in implementation, quality, and performance that even the best API specs can't always iron out.

Such organizations often flirt with an excess of hot air, but happily, this organization is taking a practical approach - by basing their efforts around collecting up a big set of tests that plug into a test framework that originated in a Sun testing product called JDTS for mobile devices that can run its 12,000 or so tests on Java ME mobile devices and that's been around for quite some time. Such tests assume API compatibility, which is what the JCP requires, taking testing to a deeper level by probing the other implementation qualities such as reliability and performance.

One step that made this possible was the open sourcing of the test framework, the Java Device Testing Framework from the Sun product. So now folks can sign up to JATAF and submit tests into the framework for all to use. There's over 70 already. You can read more at Terrence's blog, or listen in to the latest Java Mobility Podcast.

Wednesday Jun 03, 2009

JavaOne, Day two: Mobility and more !

Is it hump day already ? Day two: all about smaller devices !

More App Stores

The day started out with a keynote by Sony-Ericsson, who, guess what, are opening an app store for Java ME apps ! Together with the previous day's announcement from Verizon opening up their application developer model to Java ME, and of course Sun's new Java Store, the Planetarium's prediction that this is the year of the app store, really is coming true !

JavaFX Mobile 1.2

JavaFX Mobile developers are getting that performance boost as part of the JavaFX 1.2 release (20% in runtime perf, about 1/3 reduction in compiler output). And of course all the other goodies like the cross device UI controls.

Eric showed great new JavaFX apps at the Sun Mobility keynote: ReallyMe for social proximity, and PayPal (pictured) for mobile payments.

JavaFX Mobile Phones

Sony-Ericsson wrote a Twitter client (perhaps not as good as this one) live in their keynote and deployed it to three of their JavaFX phones, including those running WindowsMobile and SymbianOS). Best of all, JavaFX Mobile 1.2 phones are on sale at JavaOne, some even got hurled at the Mobility Keynote.

Java ME

The testing framework Java Verified goes into open source, and plays a central role in the new anti-fragmentation initiative JATAF (behind which Orange and Vodafone threw their support today), Java ME 3.0 SDK running on a MAC is on show at Java Utopia, and the recent PhoneMe milestone 4 release.

And in preview for the end of the year....

JavaFX (running on embedded Java SE on Linux) seen running on a new Qualcomm smartbook, the JavaFX TV platform running on the LG TV.

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 !

Thursday Apr 30, 2009

Two kinds of Java ME on TV

What with the doubling of disc sales, better quality players (and even ones that will rent the movie for you...), increased availability and rumored inclusion on the Mac, its easy to think of the only Java apps you'll see on your TV will be the ones that come on a BluRay disc. (And you can create them in the recently released all-in-one Java ME SDK)

But not so !

This excellent article on the Java programming environment for TV set-top boxes is a reminder that other kind may be interactive TV apps that arrive down the wire from your cable operator as you watch a show. The OCAP Java API for settop boxes encompasses bound applications that are closely tied to the TV channel you're looking at: Sports scores and team records, integrated on-screen celebrity gossip, to unbound ones that have nothing to do with any particular TV channel: live gaming, TV listings...  And it has much in common with the Blu-J APIs for Blu-Ray apps have much in common: the CDC profile as a base, the Xlet component model and lifecycle and so on.

Another Java string to your bow in an economy that values them ?

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.

Thursday Apr 16, 2009

Java ME SDK 3 released for Java (and JavaFX) developers

Yesterday, the new all-in-one Java ME SDK 3.0 was released, which folds in all you need for developing Java apps for phones, settop boxes or Blu-Ray discs into one SDK, as regular readers will already know.

Other than tidying up the hitherto multiplying SDKs (and including LWUIT !), there's a nice consequence for JavaFX developers too: you can use it to see where the hot spots are in your mobile app are.

As Michael writes, just turn on the profiler in the JavaFX Mobile emulator before you run your app, and use the Java ME SDK to analyse the output. If you've used the profiler in NetBeans or VisualVM in the JDK you're sure to recognise it.

One of the attractive things about using JavaFX for mobile apps is that the JavaFX layer papers over some of the cracks of what in mobile Java circles has come to be known as device fragmentation. Fragmentation not in the sense of phones are falling apart, but in the differences in the capabilities of the Java ME devices (e.g. screen size, is there a GPS chip ?) that can give developers a somewhat bumpy ride when writing Java ME apps for multiple devices. (There are even tools specially for this).

But with JavaFX, sticking to APIs the Common Profile, you'll always know where you are.

Wednesday Apr 15, 2009

Swing, ImageUploader, Trees

A cute little newish project you may not have seen is the ImageUploader project over at 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.

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.

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