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Drop the Bomb

Posted by editor on December 14, 2005 at 1:44 PM PST

Sun's big announcement at ApacheCon

Tim Bray offered a mid-day keynote at the second day of ApacheCon, with a set of four slides, each with a single term:

Derby - Dropping a major piece of news on the conference, Bray said that Sun would be redistributing the Apache Derby all-Java database as Open Java DB. In this form, it will soon become prominent thorughout the Java realm, being added to Sun's Java Enterprise Server products (including GlassFish), picking up support in the form of a NetBeans plug-in, and more. But he stressed the point that a small, all-Java embeddable database has profound utility not just for the enterprise developer, but in all sorts of Java applications. There's a compelling argument here, even for the J2SE desktop developer -- depending on your persistence strategies, lots of preferences, properties, and flat files might be things you could replace with an easily-embedded database.

Threads - Showing off a new multi-core chip - 8 cores with four threads on one chip - he pointed out the growing importance of concurrent programming. Moore's Law lives, but not in the form of the 8 GHz CPU's that might have been expected by now. We still get double the transistors every 18 months, but now we need to use them in the form of concurrent threads. Critically, Java's support for threads is excellent -- far better than that provided by some rival languages -- although a show of hands suggests that those few who really had done serious concurrent programming found it remarkably difficult to master. This skill-set seems likely to become more important in the future.

Beyond Java - Bray said he'd been reading Bruce Tate's controversial Beyond Java and recommended it highly to the audience. While he thought Tate "went off the rails" (get it?) with some of his conclusions, he said that it was important to understand the capabilities provided by emerging technologies such as Ruby, Rails, continuation servers, etc. Like Tate, Bray noted the importance of separating the Java language from the Java platform, and the emergence of languages like Jython and JRuby that run on the JVM, providing them with all the benefits we typically associate with Java, such as platform-agnosticism, security, performance, etc.

Thanks - Finally, Bray offered his thanks to the Apache community for all their work and their remarkable accomplishments. Many people's livelihoods now depend on the various Apache projects. "Thanks," he concluded, adding, "don't screw up."

In Projects and

Bernt Johnson's blog Open Java DB covers the ApacheCon announcement that Apache Derby will be redistributed by Sun as "Open Java DB" and integrated into many Java projects, including the GlassFish J2EE application server. NetBeans will also get a plug-in for working with Open Java DB. More information about Open Java DB is available in a Sun press release.

The XML Schema Object Model (XSOM) project is "a Java library that allows applications to easily parse XML Schema documents and inspect information in them." It's a helper for applications that need to work with XML schema, and comes in two versions - a J2SE 5.0 version that uses generics, and a J2SE 1.4 version.

David Van Couvering has more on the Derby announcement in today's Weblogs. In
Apache Derby as Local Web Cache: "At the keynote at ApacheCon today we demonstrated how Derby can be transparently loaded via the Web browser and be made available to client-side JavaScript to store web application data locally on the client machine."

Technology in use: APT + JAXB = persistence.xml, Sahoo writes:
"Java Persistence API specification requires that for portability reasons, the persistence.xml file should contain the list of managed persistence classes. In this article, I shall show you how a simple program can be written using JAXB and APT to automatically generate persistence class list and update persistence.xml."

Doug Kohlert notes a tutorial to help you
Create a JAX-WS 2.0 Web Service and Client in Minutes: "Bobby Bissett has written a white paper entitled "Building JAX-WS 2.0 Services with NetBeans." This is an excellent white paper for those wishing to get started using JAX-WS."

There are a few days left to join the fun of's Holiday Photos 2005. Send us a photo -- real or PhotoShopp'ed -- of what Duke is up to for the winter holidays.

The Beyond Java discussion in the Book Club brings up an important new webapp concept in today's Forums.
Chapter 8: Continuation Servers
begins with an introduction:
"A new class of web servers called continuation servers is starting to make some real noise. A continuation server uses a programming construct called the continuation to keep enough information about a request to be able to completely reconstruct the context. In technical terms, a continuation saves the execution environment, including the call stack. In practical terms, using continuations in a web server lets the server maintain context for you, freeing you to program in a more natural way."

conal is wondering about
Faster alternatives to Math.sin etc? "Java/JVM would be a more appealing platform for games and visualization if it offered trig functions that run faster, at the cost of some precision. The Mustang speedups are helpful for trig, but there's a speed limit imposed by the (laudable) accuracy specs, at least when running on x86. Rather than have programmers stick with C/C++ to get fast trig, I suggest that Java add additional static methods (say, called "fastSin", etc) that perform the equivalent of what one gets in C, in terms of speed and accuracy. I'm guessing that many people have run into this problem when trying to stay with 100% pure Java. Is something like what I'm suggesting already planned? Has it been discussed and decided against? Are there other possible solutions?"

In Also in
Java Today
it may sound simple at first, but Andrew Davison's book excerpt Killer Game Programming in Java: A 3D Checkerboard, Part 1 delves into important issues for developing 3D graphics in Java. "Checkers3D illustrates many of the common, and sometimes tricky, aspects of programming with Java 3D. For example, the 3D scene is displayed using the Java 3D Canvas3D class, which must be integrated with Java's Swing components. All Java 3D applications require a scene graph, and Checkers3D shows how to add basic shapes, lighting (ambient and directional), and a background."

Time to get Fit? "Fit (Framework for Integrated Tests - is a tool for expressing application acceptance tests using tables, and one that solves a fundamental need in software development: capturing business rules in an easily accessible and executable form." In The Framework for Integrated Tests (Fit), Mario Aquino shows how Fit's table-based acceptance tests are simple enough to be written by anyone, even customers, which engenders greater collaboration between developers, customers, and other stake-holders.

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Sun's big announcement at ApacheCon