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Crashing By Design

Posted by editor on April 27, 2007 at 4:54 AM PDT

How realistic is small-party ME development?

One of the books I've long thought someone should publish -- we occasionally kick it around among the O'Reilly editors, but have never found a suitable author -- is Java Deployment. The idea behind this book would be all about how to get your code up and running for your users. Probably the simplest case is all the EE spec-compliant webapp containers, where a common system of deploying WAR files to WEB-INF directories is pretty well understood. Things get trickier for Java SE, particularly on the desktop, as nobody in their right mind is going to suggest end users be expected to type java on the command line (heck, the Classic Mac OS didn't even have a command line!), and the double-clickable JAR has proven only modestly useful, still unable to support obvious needs like custom application icons. No wonder there are "double-clickable makers" like Launch4J, JSmooth, JarBundler, etc., installers like the Java-savvy versions of InstallShield and InstallAnywhere, and technologies like JDIC which provide desktop deployment necessities like document-application association.

And then we have ME. How hard is real-world ME deployment? Well, my idea for this hypothetical Java Deployment book actually evolved from the idea for a "real-world Java ME" book, one which was written not to the fantasy world of the API and specs where it's easy to just write code and run it on an emulator, but to the real world where you have to get your application onto real devices, none of which work the same way and most of which run on mobile telephony networks that are openly hostile (at least in the U.S.) to third party software. Perhaps part of the reason that ME books don't sell terribly well is that developers realize a significant gulf exists between what the existing books and Javadocs say you can do with ME, and what you can actually accomplish on real devices.

Aside: if you think you're the person who's going to write either of these books, and you want to pitch it to O'Reilly, read So You Want To Write A Book and then send the proposal to


The hazards of working with ME, particularly at the hobbyist or beginner level, are highlighted in today's Forums, which continue a discussion from earlier in the week about good handsets for ME development.
Joe Bowbeer surveys some of the problems in

Re: It depends on the carrier mostly,,,
"I agree that Sprint is developer-friendly. A developer who registers
at can activate up to 200 handsets for development purposes. However, a VeriSign certificate is required in order to develop a full-featured MIDlet: To access the restricted API's (such as MMAPI, WMA, File I/O, PIM, Location API, etc.), a Java Class 3 signed certificate from VeriSign is required, at a cost of $499.00 per year. This puts it out of reach for most students and hobbyists. (Is a Class 3 certificate even available to individuals?)"

Later, in the same thread, C. Enrique Ortiz says that some of this suffering is probably good for new developers to be exposed to. In
Re: Best handset for MIDP hobbyist, he writes:
"At the same time, you do want to have the students understand and experience the real details when it comes to deploying apps, this including the good, the bad, and the ugly, including signing and prompts. So the solution goes back to making the process cheaper, even f these special kind of certificates are (more) short-lived; this option would be nice especially for developers that are students or just plain aficionados, etc."

Also in the forums, tvmohan is looking for SwingX to provide a
Outlook style popup that fades slowly.
"How can we build a outlook style window that has fading effects? Every time a new email arrives, it pops up and slowly fades away. I need build something similar. Can we really make a JWindow translusent by setting the alpha somehow? I looked at the SwingX components, I could not find any that works this way. SwingX lets me set the alpha on a JXPanel but not on a window. So, I was wondering if anybody is working on this kind of window."

The latest Poll asks "How often do you download and read sample code from online articles?" Cast your vote on the front page, then visit the results page for current tallies and discussion.

Stressing the "today" in the Java Today section, today
(Friday, April 27) is the last day to submit entries for the Java Mobile Application Video Contest. This contest seeks example of great Java ME applications or services. To enter, create a video of up to three minutes that references Java ME or the open-source phoneME technology used, and post it to YouTube. Prizes include a Ericsson K800 phone, Panasonic Blu-Ray DVD Player, an gift certificate, and PlayStation 3 consoles. Check the official rules for more information and specifics of submitting your video.

Issue 119 of the JavaTools Community Newsletter is now available, featuring tool news from around the web. It's a slow week with only one new project in the community and no graduations, perhaps in advance of JavaOne, and on that topic, the newsletter has a call for community members to send in photos for use in the Community Corner slide show. Finally, the newsletter offers a Tool Tip on executing your application using Maven.

In January, the NetBeans community announced the 11 charter members of the NetBeans Dream Team, a community-oriented group of highly skilled NetBeans users devoted to promoting NetBeans and working on the NetBeans Project. The first installment of a new Meet the Dream Team Members series introduces Joerg Plewe, who discusses the strategies of NetBeans evangelism and his 3D flight simulator Flying Guns.