If the computer industry was a cat fight, right now fur would be flying in every direction. Microsoft's recent decision to drop Java from their Windows XP distribution is a prime case in point. Spin merchants pop up left, right, and center to fire a barrage of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) missiles at whomever will listen, and then vanish in a puff of marketing dust. The general media is just as guilty of hyping this mini battle of words - I've lost count of the number of reporters who seem to think that "Java-on-the-PC-desktop" is equivalent to "the-whole-of-Java," and predict doom and gloom for all Java developers if Microsoft doesn't distribute their VM with the operating system.
Meanwhile, it's interesting to note that although a few developers in the community have got caught up in the excitement, the rest of us try to ignore it and get on with the tasks at hand. Programmers keep on programming; innovators keep on innovating.
On the subject of "getting on with things and ignoring it," I recently looked at a forthcoming offering from one company, which will no doubt benefit from users having to employ the plug-in instead of Microsoft's fast but substandard JVM. Lux Inflecta (www.luxinflecta.com) is a UK/Icelandic company that has come up with a somewhat unique offering in the hosting industry. Rather than just providing an application server and hosting service, GIZA is a full Java development and deployment environment offering an install-on-demand IDE and featuring support for J2EE, J2SE, and J2ME (including MIDlets and Spotlets). Basically a developer can develop his or her application and run it from Lux Inflecta's server, without a huge outlay for their own equipment. GIZAee, their flagship product, has a one month free trial and is also free to academics. Yet another example of how companies are coming up with novel products using Java technology.
The Mobile Game Interoperability Forum, which was in the news recently, has some rather big names as founding members: Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Siemens. According to an information sheet that recently arrived on my desk, the goals of the MGI Forum are to define both an interoperability specification for mobile games and APIs for network-based servers, focus on client/server style wireless games, and help games developers produce and deploy their games.
Quite an ambitious set of targets; so it will be interesting to see what the Forum comes up with over the next year or so.
The subject of games development brings me to this month's issue of JDJ - Chris Melissinos, Sun's chief gaming officer, is a man dedicated to bringing Java-based games to a machine near you, be it the computer, the games console, or the handheld device. You'll find his thoughts in this month's guest editorial. Following on that theme, Tom Sloper, games producer extraordinaire, presents a treatise to help those who might be involved in designing those games as well as developing them.
I have to admit, games development has been on my mind quite a bit lately. There must be something about seeing all those mobiles that makes me think of tiny, pixelated people jumping across the screen (actually, the idea running through my head is a little more original, but I'm not giving that away).
Also in this month's issue Vincent Perrier from WindRiver presents a piece on "Making Java Work in Embedded Devices." Glenn Coates from Vulcan Machines discusses JVM selection and integration, the types of JVMs you might find for embedded devices, and how your company might go about choosing a virtual machine for your product.
Are you a developer working on a J2ME application? If so, JDJ wants to hear about it! You won't win any prizes, but you might help motivate your fellow developers, and get a chance to present your thoughts on the oddities of the J2ME platform. E-mail me your thoughts at [email protected].
Jason Briggs works as a Java analyst programmer in London. He's been officially
developing in Java for three years - unofficially for just over four.