Horse to the Water
Will a free office suite on the web revive applets?
I forget where I noticed -- I think it was in the Java Posse's show notes while setting up a link to them for something else yesterday -- that ThinkFree Office is now available in a free applet version.
Seriously. This is how many things that how many people have been asking for for so long? Office in Java, like Corel tried and failed to do in the late 90's? Office as a free, available-everywhere web application, as famously (and incorrectly, natch) reported by Slashdot to be an imminent result of the Sun-Google deal? A totally useful end-user app written in Java? A non-trivial applet?
You'd think this would get more notice than it's gotten.
Granted, I'm a little skeptical, only because I'm a former ThinkFree Office user. I paid up for a one year subscription a while back. I wanted to believe.
And then it corrupted my presentation for the 2002 O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference.
And the next summer, I discovered that it couldn't actually do slideshow mode on Mac OS X, which kind of hosed plans to use it for my MacHack/ADHOC 2003 presentation.
But hey, it's free. So I went to the web page, set up an account, and loaded up the word processor. They have some very amusing loading screens that cycle through as the JARs are being downloaded for the first time. Here's a sample:
ThinkFree Office Online is now launching. The first time you run this application we need to store some stuff in your Java Virtual Machine (JVM). You only need to do this the first time, since the JVM stores the data. The next time you launch this application, it will launch just like any other desktop application.
Depending on your network, it may take the program a few seconds or several minutes to launch. But, like we said, those Sun programmers were really smart to develop the JVM so that we can cache the application.
The JVM allows us, and many other Java software developers, to write code that can be run in a web browser on many different platforms - Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. It also provides security for safe code execution.
Seriously, could Sun buy this kind of advertising if it tried?
And to appreciate what's being accomplished, the JAR download was far faster -- two minutes on my Dual 1.8 GHz G5, seven minutes on a 450 MHz G4 Cube -- than installing MS Office from a CD or downloading and installing OpenOffice. So think about that: Java is the fastest, least hassle option for installing an office suite.
I didn't have a lot of time to play, but I did notice that it got all of my local fonts and offered a WYSIWG font menu (nice!), and was amenable to my pasting in an image and then typing text in front of it, something that often tortures word processors that have to recompute wrapping and repaint constantly (read the description of Swing's GapContent to get an idea of how to deal with these challenges).
More importantly, since TFO and I haven't had a good history, I loaded in one of the conference presentations that I made with NeoOffice to see if TFO could handle it. Here's what it looks like on the Cube:
And the full-screen slideshow mode works. Running as an applet.
GJ guys and gals. Looks like ThinkFree has finally pulled it together.
Now let's see if anyone notices, or if people continue to try to rewrite Office as an AJAX app.
In Projects and
with the JDK Community nearly a year old, Ray Gans has an update on Where we are with the JDK Community. This blog thanks everyone who's participated, discusses community goals, and reveals some statistics about membership, downloads, bug reports and contributed fixes. It also links to a new JDK Community Survey about the community's presentation and activities.
In Meet GELC's New Executive Director, Robert Stephenson writes: "Tuesday morning, the Global Education and Learning Community (GELC) and Sun Microsystems announced that Dr. Barbara Kurshan had accepted the position of Executive Director of the GELC. What follows is a brief interview I did with Bobbi Kurshan."
In Also in
Dion Almaer, formerly of TheServerSide.com, asks Aren't you bored of Java frameworks? I am. "Back in the day, I was the first person to know, and care about version 2.6.1 of FooBar, the open source framework that does everything that you need. For one, as editor-in-chief of TheServerSide, it was my job to be on top of things. For two, I actually cared. The playing field was fun, there was a lot of innovation. It was a brave new world. Fast forward to 2006, and I am the anti-framework releaser. If I never see 'YetAnotherMVC 1.2 Released' announcement on TSS and others, it will be too soon."
In an excerpt from Maven: A Developer's Notebook, authors Timothy M. O'Brien and Vincent Massol help with Getting Up and Running with Maven. Dive right into this introduction to learn how to install Maven, kick off your first build, and start investigating its features for integrating with IDEs and source control systems.
Jacob Hookom has a look at The Unified EL from the Trenches in today's Weblogs. "A lot of people are taking note of the new EL-API-- what does it mean for JEE? Is it just for JSF and JSP? What kind of future does it have? What does a VariableMapper do for me? Why doesn't it have Feature X?"
Masoud Kalali offers
A New Module for Netbeans IDE , an statistical CVS Reporter:
"This is a New NetBeans Module which helps you gather statistical information about your CVS and view them in two different charts. Its features will comply with VCS Report in its first versions."
Repost: Using JAAS with JSF, Ed Burns writes:
"Here's another re-post of an Engineer's Sandbox entry that got sandbagged. This excerpt shows how the extensible design of JavaServer Faces can be used to allow JAAS to provide authentication to a JSF Web application."
In today's Forums,
program slows down after upgrade to 1.5.0?
"I recently upgraded to JDK 1.5.0 and this program I was working on suddenly slows down tremedously to the point where it just hangs. The strange thing is that it only happens at times; sometimes, when I run the program, it works perfectly fine, then the next time I run it, it just hangs when it loads and I can't even do anything with it. This never happens when I was using JDK 1.4.2."
foxdeathis looking for a
"I am a semi-newbie to JAI. I have been pouring over all of the examples and searching the internet like a madman. Does anyone have a clear example of how to do contrast? I have heard a lot of different methods (lookup table multiplying bands by constant, the rescale operation, etc). I am basically looking for something simple that runs very fast. I need to provide a slidebar control that will allow a user to adjust the contrast easily."
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Will a free office suite on the web revive applets?