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With a small group of programmers, including Vladimir Tokarskiy, Peter Qunitas and Dhruv Bhandary, Kevin Clark, the founder, created a product that was the pre-cursor to today's Eclipse environments.

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JavaOne offers advancements, mind benders, and disappointments

At JavaSoft's main event, which took place in San Francisco in early April, Java came off as a great success. Here's a look at the JavaOne technology triumphs -- and, a disappointment or two

For Java devotees, JavaOne provided a rich cornucopia of technology advancements for the language as a whole and in the API area in particular. There were some disappointments, however, and an occasional overlooking of hot new products. This article hits on the highs and lows of JavaOne, covering the best of the show.


By Eric Armstrong

This year's JavaOne Worldwide Developer Conference was a triumphant festival for the Java faithful. Sun took great pride in announcing that, in a little more than 18 months, Java has grown from a minor curiosity to the Number 2 development language in the world -- and it is still growing.

Perhaps more important, Sun continued to occupy the moral high ground in the quest for a platform-neutral and vendor-neutral language system by acknowledging contributions by IBM, Netscape, Novell, and others to the Java language and APIs. In other words, Java does not represent a single-vendor solution to common industry problems; it is the result of a collaboration among some of the best minds in the business.

By maintaining control of its development, so far Sun has managed to keep Java from being the product of politics, compromise, vote-gathering, and committee decision. Instead, Sun's open specification and feedback process, combined with a willingness to incorporate good ideas, has produced a language that is powerful enough to tackle enterprise projects, but that remains true to its original design goal to keep the simple things simple.

For details on JavaOne announcements and sessions, see JavaWorld's JavaOne coverage in this month's issue, as well as JavaWorld's JavaOne Today show daily. With this article, I hit on the show's highs and lows: "Java Advancements," "Best of Show," and "Biggest Mind Bender" highlights, and the "Biggest Disappointment" lowlight.

Best of show but badly publicized: Objectsoft's BrewMaster
Amid all the fanfare, there were a few relatively unheralded achievements of fairly gigantic proportions. Topping the list was the BrewMaster development environment from Objectsoft. This small wonder incorporates a Version Control system as part of the integrated development environment (IDE). The granularity for the version control is at the method level; that capability is used as the basis for some other superb features that are enormously useful in a production environment.

For example, once you select a method, you can view all methods by that name in other classes; this is wonderful for ensuring compatible behavior and for "borrowing" code. You can also find every caller of that method, so if an API is going to change, you can see who will be affected and make the changes.

At the class level, you can see all classes that contain a given class and all methods that return it. You also can get a list of all inherited methods so you can easily determine all the behaviors a given class is capable of. As a small bonus, you get automatic syntax checks on your code without even having to click a button!

Needless to say, these features are highly desirable when developing a production system. About the only thing lacking is a visual designer and a program profiler. An "ultimate development system" you could put together today would look something like Sun's Java Workshop for the code profiling, Symantec's Visual Cafe or Sun's Java Studio for the visual designer, and Objectsoft's BrewMaster for version control and class/method references.

To download a trial version of BrewMaster, visit Objectsoft's Web site (see Products). It's worth a look.

The JavaOne conference was an outstanding success, with 10,000 attendees -- up from "only" 6,000 a year ago. Several important additions to the language and many outstanding additions to the APIs were announced and described, making Java more than ever ideally suited for any network-centric application. Printing and help functionality are the only missing gaps, but they are more than likely to be covered by the time any large-scale project is completed.

About the author
Eric Armstrong has been programming and writing professionally well before the existence of personal computers. His production experience includes AI programs, system libraries, real-time programs, and business applications in a variety of languages. He is currently writing a book on a soon-to-be-released Java IDE.


Taken From: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-05-1997/jw-05-javaone-armstrong.html