BlogicBlog: View from the trenches

The blog about Java and XML with focus on troubleshooting issues and tools.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nested Archive Toolkit

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IBM alphaWorks has released an interesting tool called Nested Archive Tookit that allows to look inside the nested zip/jar/ear/war files. It looks to be useful for modification of config files deep inside the structure (e.g. web.xml inside foo.war inside bar.ear). It can also provide XML file with the description of the archive to the full depth. This makes it useful for postprocessing with XSLT and/or visualization tools.

There is a big problem with the tool however and it is its license. As with most of other alphaWorks tools, it uses 90 days evaluation license. This means that production use is not really allowed and certainly not for long term. Given that the tool is not for everyday use, it is questionable whether good evaluation can be made in the time permitted.

I have spoken with alphaWorks representative about the license issues at JavaOne and he said that it is possible to request for the tool to be open sourced. So, check it out and if it matches your needs, ask for it to be open sourced via license form.

Oh and your IBM id is most probably an email (this one catches me every time).

Finally, if the license issue irks you as much as it does me, there is always TrueZIP with its Apache license. TrueZIP has some advanced functionality of its own, so it is worth a good look as well.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out

Monday, May 15, 2006

JavaOne day 0 - the issues Sun will do nothing about

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A lot of interesting questions were asked at alumni-only fireside chat with Sun team today. I am only going to mention the questions Sun did not have a good story for.
  • JVM on PDAs - Sun is pushing Java for Mobiles quite hard. Witness the support for SaveJe. This however is a difficult road especially in North America with vendor fragmentation and difficulties of implementing full multimedia/call-handling capabilities. A question was asked whether Sun would consider implementing JVM just a basic app environment for non-phone PDAs running Windows 2003/2005 and for phone PDAs but without full integration of call-capabilities (like IBM's j9, but better). The answer made it very clear that PDAs are not a target device by themselves and that phone integration is a goal, but only with full-functionality . I have a non-phone PDA and was hoping to have a good JVM for it, but it looks like I should just forget about it.
  • Multimedia (JMF) API - This one is well and trully dead. Sun is happy for somebody else to develop an alternative reference implementation, but they are not putting any money into it themselves. The basic reason is that they think it will take too much effort to get JMF to really useful state and they are not interested in making it less than perfect. Apparently, there is now a project to do an open-source alternative implementation; let's hope it works out.
  • Serial port/USB access - Serial port implementation is semi-dead and there is no USB implementation. Sun's response was that there is a JSR by IBM about USB access, but no further details or enthusiasm were forthcoming.
  • Java hosting - the cost of java hosting is 10-15 times higher than hosting PHP apps. I have asked whether they knew why that might be and whether this is something Sun should pay attention to. The reply I got was that this is how capitalist market works and that maybe I should email Jonathan Schwartz about it. I might have mangled the question as the meaning I was aiming for was to see whether it was known what made Java hosting an expensive business - whether it was memory requirements, complicated versioning/classpath issues or something else. If I figure out a good way to phrase it, I will send an email to Jonathan and see what happens.
  • JavaOne scheduler application suckage (my question again) - every year scheduler application gets better, but it never seems to be as good as current technologies make it possible. Turns out that Sun people don't use the scheduler themselves (duh!), so they don't actually know it sucks (or pretend that they don't). Well, they got crowd's feedback on that issue loud and clear (very loud). Hopefully (as suggested) the next year's scheduler will be a competition of some sort with the best version becoming an official one. James Gosling sort of volunteered for that one.
  • Allowing JavaDocs to be published and remixed on 3rd party websites. This was a reference to several websites that a while ago put JavaDocs for official JDK packages together with JavaDocs for various open source software and allowed remixing/commenting/other social manipulations across all those APIs. Sun leaned heavily to have their API removed and I wanted to know whether that negative stance changed and/or whether they thought the legal/copyright issues really were more important than potential benefits of API presentation remix. Graham Hamilton answered that legal issues were quite important, but that JavaDoc will be much better in Java 6 and beyond. An answer, but not quite to the original question. He did add that maybe that issue should be revisited, but - as with other 'to be revisited' issues - I don't really expect them to remember the vague promises with all the other issues and pressures occuring during JavaOne.
There were many other good questions and answers and I am sure somebody will blog about them. These are just the issues that I think are difficult to pin Sun people down on usually and it is worth writing them down for future references, while the memory is strong.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out

Friday, May 05, 2006

Link: Nice port and network services search engine

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Ports-Services is a useful service to identify what might be listening on a particular port or what port should particular (well-known) service listen to.

It has some java related ports (RMI, Jini).

It also has trojan listings for the ports and it is a bit scary to see the useful service entries completely overshadowed by the huge number of various malware.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out

Monday, May 01, 2006

My talk made the top 10 suggestions for JavaOne 2006 Tools

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Dana Nourie lists 10 presentations in tools space that she thinks are worth seeing at JavaOne 2006. My own presentation is there as well (number 7). Guess it struck the chord.

I also have 240+ people booked for my session as of now. No way to tell if that is many or not enough for this stage. But if any of those 240+ are reading this blog, are there any questions on what you would like to know about? While the slides are locked, the Q&A and closing comments are still flexible.

BlogicBlogger Over and Out