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Easy Money

Posted by editor on October 13, 2006 at 9:06 AM PDT


More just-pick-it-up-and-use-it Java stories

On Wednesday, I talked up a couple of Java apps -- the Podcast-smoothing Levelator and the work-in-progress game Freetar Hero -- where the point was not that they were written in Java, but that they solved a problem for someone. This is a tremendously good sign because these apps are gaining attention for what they do, and the fact that they're in Java is a little-noticed implementation detail. The developers used Java because it was a good tool for the job (even if they did have to go native for the media stuff), which more or less confirms what a lot of us have known for a long time: Java's plenty fast, and gets you plenty far.

Interesting side-note: I heard from a Levelator developer who said that that Levelator is basically a Java GUI wrapped around an existing command-line app, a project undertaken to make it more palatable to more users. Remarkably, the Java GUI was written in a single weekend. And remember, they ship for multiple platforms this way.

Today, we have another interesting story, which comes to us by way of the Wall Street Journal. The story The Nights of Networking talks up a massively-multiplayer online game called "RuneScape". The game is free at its introductory levels, and charges a small fee for advanced levels and better customer support. The article suggests the company is making $50 million a year from RuneScape, and that the company's executives believe the company to be worth $500 million. And a big part of that is thanks to Java and its ability to deliver a strong end-user experience. As the article points out:

RuneScape's achievement has been to win over more casual game players. Many of them don't play other MMOGs, some of which carry subscription fees of as much as $15 a month. One of RuneScape's attractions is that it's written in Java, a programming language that allows games and other software to be run through ordinary Web browsers. Players can also start playing within seconds after registering and downloading the game over a high-speed Internet connection, even on older PCs. By contrast, the rich graphics and sophisticated software behind World of Warcraft come on multiple CDs that users must purchase and install.

The simplicity-of-installation story is something I blogged about back in March, noting how ThinkFree Online's launcher (and JVM caching) got you up and running with an office suite much faster than installing Microsoft Office or OpenOffice.org from CD. Again, more functionality, less hassle. Why isn't this story getting out?

Personally, big ol' swords and sorcery isn't quite my bag, but I soooo wish Maple Story had taken the Java approach instead of being IE-for-Windows-only (blech, barf, wretch). Maybe the next casual MMOG will follow RuneScape's lead. 850,000 paying users and $50 million a year is nothing to sneeze at!


Also in Java Today,

JSR-202, the Java Class File Specification Update, has issued its proposed final draft. This JSR describes the changed class file format of Java SE 6, including both a revised description of the format and a diff file showing the specific changes. "The main difference is the introduction of a new verification scheme based on type checking rather than type inference. This scheme has inherent advantages in performance (both space (on the order of 90% savings) and time (approximately 2x)) over the previous approach. It is also simpler and more robust, and helps pave the way for future evolution of the platform."

The Free Java Lectures page bills itself as "two semesters of College-Level Java--for free", offering a comprehensive introduction to Java over the course of 28 sessions, from basic language concepts up through commonly-used libraries like servlets, JSP's, and Struts. Each lecture is a presentation file in .pps format, which can be opened with OpenOffice.org.


Chris Campbell shows off techniques for Easy 2D/3D Mixing in Swing in today's Weblogs. Specifically, he covers "how to use Swing, Java2D, JOGL, and Timing Framework together in your applications... Silly demo included: source code, webstart links, and all..."

Joshua Marinacci peels back the covers on SwingX-WS's mapping component in
NASA Maps in your Swing App:
"In addition to the photo demo we created in Aerith, there are lots of cool things you can do with easy to use geo-mapping. The overlay API lets you draw anything you want on top of the map, including waypoints and geo-polygons."

Jacob Hookom sees a possible need for a
RJS API For Java:
"I've been knee deep in development, using AJAX here and there when necessary. One thing that I found lacking was what Rails users call "RJS" in the Java API for JavaScript generation over AJAX."


The latest java.net Poll asks "How many open-source Java projects have you contributed code to?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for current tallies and discussion.


In today's Forums,
swpalmer argues for the seriousness of JComboBox bug in
Re: Horrible JComboBox regression in b99 with WindowsXP L&F:
"Is EVERYONE going to work around this issue by writing thier own renderer? What about applications that are already deployed that will simply start running with a new JRE? This breaks ALL Swing apps with a JCombobox running the Windows Look and Feel. It's a big deal. I consider it a show stopper without the slightest hesitation... but I've done my part... I reported it, watched it get fixed, watched it get broken again in the very next build (though I wasn't testing frequently enough with JDK6 to notice until it was already reported again here)... and now I've voted for the bug and added my comments"

zambizzi would like to see a more authoritative guide to SSL use in GlassFish, writing in the thread
Re: Problems w/ SSL for https:// access:
"Now that Glassfish has a Wiki, is there any chance of a Sun engineer or someone else "in the know" of posting some very _complete_ and simple instructions on getting a Verisign cert working? You'll notice throughout this thread that there are three or four external resources referenced which, I'd assume would be working instructions (if I could get it to actually work.) A mixture of blogs, forums posts, and 3rd. party hacks is not, IMO, a very good set of instructions for a task such as this."


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