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Posted by editor on October 1, 2007 at 7:16 AM PDT

The consumer JRE is ready for you to try out

The focus of several sessions at JavaOne 2007, and many blogs about needing to improve the client-side/consumer/user-facing Java story, the so-called "consumer JRE" is now available in an early access form for testing. Only now it's called Java SE 6 Update N.

In fact, I'd be testing it on Parallels right now, if the DSL weren't out.

The ambition of this release is pretty impressive, as it targets a number of long-standing problems with the Java user experience on the desktop, some of which fall under a general "Java is slow" complaint, but actually involve a number of different causes:

  • The JRE download is crazy huge -- so this version debuts the "Java Kernel" to allow for modular downloads of just the parts of the JRE that the user currently needs.

  • The startup time is unacceptably long -- so a Quick Starter feature preloads parts of the JRE into memory

  • Graphics are slower than with native apps -- a new Direct3D-based hardware-accelerated graphics pipeline should help

Further improving the user-experience, this version adds the Nimbus look and feel, along with a JRE update mechanism that doesn't make each point release look like a new item for Windows' "Add/Remove Programs" list.

And for developers, a Deployment Toolkit simplifies figuring out just which versions of the JRE the user has installed.

It's a pretty good bet that this will be one of the main topics of discussion this week. If you're on Windows and have an interest in client-facing Java, go get the download, and check out the testing guidelines and feedback forums.

Oh hey, look: my DSL is back up. Time to start downloading Update N onto the Mini...

In other JDK-related news in the Java Today section,
Tom Marble has posted an update on the OpenJDK project's efforts toward Clearing encumbrances from the JDK. "It is our hope to get to
100% Free and
100% Java Compatible
as soon as possible. I'd like to give you a brief update on progress on our
OpenJDK projects to clear the outstanding encumbrances."

The 2007 JCP Executive Committee Elections begin today with a 14-day period of voting for ratified seats. "Ratified Seats are filled by a simple ratification process. Members are selected for the Ratified Seats using a ratification ballot that is carried out starting the first week of October of each year. [...] The PMO nominates Members to fill the vacant Ratified Seats with due regard for balanced community and regional representation. Eligible Members vote to ratify each nominee over a 14-day voting period. Each nominee is ratified by a simple majority of the Community Members who cast a vote." This phase ends on October 15, with nominations for elected seats beginning on October 16.

Today's Forums start with an Update N-related post, in a thread Kirill Grouchnikov kicked off about the packaging of Nimbus. In
Re: Nimbus package in JDK 6.0_05, pdoubleya quotes from Jasper Potts' blog to provide an answer:
"You've probably already seen Jasper's blog since posting this, but for the record: "The reason Nimbus is in the sun.swing… package is it is not possible to add new API to the javax.swing… package in a update release. We hope that we can move Nimbus to javax.swing in Java 7 and if it turns out to be popular then we push to make it the default look and feel in 7. Before 6 update N is final we will work out some way for you to be able to use it now and when it is potentially moved without changing any code.""

Chris B reports a
Problem writing audio to a stream with SE JP7 phones:
"Has anyone tried writing audio to a stream with a SE JP7 phone such as a K800i? eg. It always returns 0 bytes."

clecuret has an interesting application for the Timing Framework:
Testing swing UI when TimingFramework is used.
"I'm interested in Test Driven Development even if development is swing oriented. Now that I know this great library (TimingFramework), I would like to know if people already try to write some Junit or Mock test case for swing exemples which include animation. I think that the problem is closed to other posts which ask for "creation of an abstract TimingSource" and "isolate swingTimer". My goal is to be able to mock timer in order that my test doesn't sleep or wait for seconds even if animation are quite long."

This week's Spotlight is on

the jMaki project for developing Ajax-enabled web applications, which has just announced that version 1.0 is available for download. "jMaki is a lightweight client/server framework for creating JavaScript centric Web 2.0 applications using CSS layouts, widgets widget model, client services such as publish/subscribe events to tie widgets together, JavaScript action handlers, and a generic proxy to interact with external RESTful web services. While jMaki abstracts much of the JavaScript and CSS by providing defaults for widgets, the JavaScript widgets and CSS are made easily accessible so they may be customized by a designer or page developer. jMaki focuses on the aspects of delivering JavaScript to the client allowing the JavaScript to communicate to various server-technologies including PHP, Java (JSP/JSF), and Phobos in a server-technology neutral way."

In today's Weblogs.
Carol McDonald
Sample Application using JAX-WS, JSF, Spring, and Java
This example demonstrates a Catalog Spring Bean, and the Java Persistence APIs to implement a Catalog Service which provides pagination of store items, and JAX-WS to expose this Catalog Service as a Web Service. A separate example JSF JAX-WS client shows how this Catalog Web Service can then be used remotely in a sample Store web site.

Carla Mott also has a lengthy code demo in her tutorial,
jMaki app using Google Gears.
"I created a simple app as a demo that uses Google Gears for local storage and also sends data to the server upon user request. I showed this at AjaxWorld where there was alot of interest so I decided I would blog about it."

Finally, Joerg Plewe is doing some
Head banging... but don't worry, it's a good thing.
"TrackIR is a headtracking device that currently is quite popular amongst gamers, especially in the simulation community. JTrackIR is my Java binding. Not a big thing, but maybe useful to somebody."

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The consumer JRE is ready for you to try out