I have used my leisure time during my summer holiday (it rained a lot!) to work through a pile of things to read: technical articles, reviews, fiction, etcetera. Let me point you to the best stuff I encountered…
vqServer is a (free) webserver with Servlet support, written in Java and runnable on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Solaris, …). It looks good on paper (well, I should say: “in documentation”).
Rick Grehan, writing in the May 2000 issue of Java Pro magazine (but whom I remember from the times when BYTE was the most authorative IT magazine on Earth), points out jSyncManager, a Palm syncronization tool completely developed in Java. According to Rick, jSyncManager is more interestinq than Palm Inc.’s ownCDKJ, a Java add-on to the official Conduit Development Kit.
I have read a few interesting articles about Servlets and JavaServer Pages in the June 2000 edition of Java Report magazine. Frank Flowers neatly sums up the “why” of JSP in “JSPs: A Child Prodigy?” (pp.25-32) (the text of this article is part of this page on the website). David Geary gives a succint introduction to JSPs in “The evolution of Java Server Pages” (pp.120-145).
I should point out that my interest for JSPs is heightened by an enduring discussion (in the company I work for) between ‘JSP fanatics’ on one hand and ‘template defenders’ on the other. The basic arguments pro and contra are not new; in fact you can follow a quite similar discussion if you read Jason Hunters “The Problem with JSPs” and the reactions to that article. IMHO, the problem is insufficient attention for the problems of Web page designers, possibly because the debate rages between developers only. If I were a page designer, I doubt that I would want to learn Java in order to display and manipulate server data. I think that the best solution would be a combination of simple scripting (and the JSP taglibs might well be a good answer) and easy integration in Web page design tools like Dreamweaver and GoLive…
In any case, you should study the article “Build Feature-Rich, World Class Web Applications” by Howard Ship in the June 2000 edition of Java Report magazine (pp.38-48). This is an excellent exposé on why and how to apply the Model-View-Controller design pattern to web application development!
The June 2000 number of Java Developers Journal contains an article that describes how to build “Self-contained Client Applets Using Swing“. The authors, Thomas Czernik and Rolf Kamp, may surprise even some experienced applet developers: with javax.swing.JApplet you can write applet that present themselvesoutside a browser window, using Swing-based windows and widgets.
Software architects and DB Administrators should read Daniel O’Connors June 2000 Java Developers Journalarticle on “Bean-Managed Persistence Using a Proxy List“. At the same time, it’s a fine example of the correct use of Proxy lists (more on Sun’s Web site).
Baynes vs. Boole: the struggle for the best (fastest?) way to make a computer understand human language is documented in The Quest for Meaning (Wired, February 2000).
In “Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off” (Wired, July 2000), Simson Garfinkel describes the birth of HavenCo. This company will provide “true off-shore” facilities for the hosting of web- and other servers on a small piece of rusted iron a few miles of the English coast. Does the world needs setups like this, where your data is supposed to be (remember: HavenCo still has to install its first computer on the artificial island) free of government interference – any government’s? The only persons to tell me to shut down my weblog should be me, myself and I. I’m not referring to what Dave Winer did a few weeks ago, no: I’m thinking about free speech, and about human rights, in qeneral. World War II was a long time ago; so is the Cold war. On a global scale however things don’t always look so rosy as in the United States and Europe. With the Internet being eminently global, I do believe a sort of safe haven for data is a must. Whether it should be a private company that runs the show – now there’s another question!
“Feedback, Communication, and Simplicity lead to Confidence”: that is the tenet of Extreme Programming. After my experiences of the last year, I must say I am tempted by many aspects of this way of working. “Everything worth doing is worth testing in a visible, repeatable fashion” – so true! “Do the simplest thing that could possibly work” – in combination with refactoring. “You’re not gonna need it” – a subject for debate, but quite possibly an excellent idea. And there’s more: read the story Once upon a time… as an introduction.
“Re-Energizer” (Wired, May 2000) describes the possibility of fast-spinning flywheels to replace lead-acid batteries. It is fascinating to see the emergence, the last few years, of several new ways to generate and store energy (fuel cells, photovoltaic cells, plastic batteries, and now the flywheel). At the same time it is worrisome that these technologies take so long to reach commercial viability… I know that solar battery chargers (for small Alkalines and the like) do exist, but I have not located a retailer in my neighbourhood – and that’s where I will find them once they are a success. How about a small air cooling unit that I can power with a photovoltaic panel on my roof? That would make me sleep better in hot summer nights! And I won’t elaborate the need for more (and more convenient) power for all kinds of portable devices, from PDA’s and GSM’s to my lawn mower. Am I missing something (apart from the economic power of the traditional energy companies) ?
A couple of weeks ago, I bought and read “House Atreides. Prelude to Dune.”. This book is a prelude to the Dune series, written by Frank Herbert. “House Atreides” is written by Brian Herbert, son of FH, and Kevin Anderson. It is a very good book, with all the intrigue and suspense you may expect in a book about the protagonists of Dune. But after rereading “Dune”, it is clear that the original has not been bested!