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Posted by editor on June 19, 2006 at 11:37 AM PDT

The new "Java Today" section

You'll notice a small change on the front page today, something that's been in the works for a little while. The "Also in Java Today" and "Projects and Communities" section have merged into single "Java Today" section.

The thinking here is largely pragmatic -- the old P&C's were difficult to write and produce. Aligned side-by-side, the two items needed to be about the same length to avoid ugly layout problems, which limited what could run each day, as some items would naturally need more time to explain while others were short and sweet. It was also difficult to fairly allocate attention to the various communities, as some are naturally larger and more active than others: trying to deny this fact led to lengthy searches to find news from communities that just aren't very active or inclined to broadcast their activities (which, yes, is a problem in itself that needs to be addressed, but let's save reprising that discussion for another day).

The new section is of arbitrary length and composition, so it gives the editor (me) more freedom to let each item run as long or as short as it needs to. It also feels like less of a dodge when I link to off-site material as it relates to an on-site community. For example, much of the activity in the portlets world is happening over in the Apache Pluto project (the reference implementation for JSR-168 and JSR-286), so it was debatable in the old layout whether that should go in "Also in Java Today", the de facto "off site" bucket, even though it's of primary importance to all the Portlet Community members. Another example would be the Mac Java Community, where a lot of what matters to that community is not just the projects here on but also what's happening at Apple: new JDK releases, their tutorials about Mac-specific stuff, news about the ongoing Intel migration and whether that affects JNI, etc.

It's very important for us to get the word out about news in your projects and the communities as a whole, and that's material we definitely want to feature in the "Java Today" section. If you're doing a new release, let your community leader know so he/she/they can put it on the community page, and/or drop me an e-mail at cadamson [at] oreilly [dot] com.

Kicking off the Java Today section with an off-site item about on-site activity,
Java Posse podcast episode 62 is a group interview with Richard Bair, Romain Guy, and Joshua Marinacci of the Swing Labs team. In this hour-long discussion, they talk about how Aerith works and what's holding up the code, the JavaOne GUI "makeover" session, examples of great-looking Swing applications, competition from SWT, and the future of the Swing Labs project.

Ethan McCallum takes on the small app server in the feature article What
Is Jetty
. Describing Jetty's big features and small size, he says "
this article, I'll offer some ideas on why you'd want an embedded servlet
container, explain the basics of Jetty's API, and show how to use its XML
configuration to trim your Jetty-specific code to a minimum."

The Java Web Services and XML Community rethinks a language discussion by author Elliotte Rusty Harold: "Eliminating final is a nice article by Elliotte Rusty Harold. It is in interesting exercise to take his arguments about arguments to method calls and apply them to the slightly higher level of web interfaces and loosely-coupled applications (including applictions distributed over time). What technology fits in to this level like no other? Schematron."

Artem Ananiev talks about Improved top-level icons support in Mustang in today's Weblogs.
"Prior to Mustang developers could specify a single icon image for every Java frame. This image was then displayed in the frame's titlebar, in the system taskbar and other places. However, some situations require images of different sizes, and this made the specified image be scaled so it looked very ugly. Now in Mustang you can set several images to represent frames' and dialogs' icons."

Greg Murray passes along an Ajax announcement in
Sun Joins Open AJAX Alliance and Dojo Foundation:
"Big news today from Sun. We have joined Open AJAX Alliance and Dojo Foundation. So what does this mean for Java developers?"

The conference report JBoss World 2006 covers Gregg Sporar's experiences at the event.
"JBoss World 2006 was a very worthwhile event. Some comments on what I saw and heard, with photos included."

In this week's Spotlight, an opportunity for you to get top-tier advice about Ajax. "The latest Ask the Experts session is on the topic of Ajax support in Java. During the week of June 19 to June 23, you can post your Ajax-related questions to the SDN and have them answered by Greg Murray, Sun AJAX architect and Java Servlet Specification lead, Mark Basler, senior software engineer, Java BluePrints team, and Carla Mott, community lead, Project GlassFish."

In today's Forums,
sdo tries to keep readers out of trouble in the discussion Re: detect idle thread:
"Perhaps I'm reading into the question, but the phrase 'from another thread' makes me think the question is really: 'How do I know if a thread is idle so that I can call Thread.stop() safely.' The answer to that question is never; it is never safe to call Thread.stop(). Even if you 'know' that the target thread is idle, it could wake up at the same time the stop method is called, acquire some state in the VM, and cause errors when it is stopped."

[Incubator Project Proposal] Docking Framework, jm7 writes:
"I have extracted the Window System API of NetBeans in order to run it without the whole platform and would like to propose it as a new incubator project. I think that there will be a lot of interest for this project since I already have received many emails asking me to release the code and offering their help. The point is that their is actually no Docking Framework as good as this one, both open source and commercial."

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The new "Java Today" section