There is so much news coming out of JavaOne this week that I thought I would try to summarize it all in one place. Sun CEO Scott McNealy delivered a keynote speech this morning littered with his usual barbs at Microsoft while often comparing the superior security of Java when compared to ActiveX.
"Microsoft may be 100% committed to Java, but it's not 100% Pure Java," he said, and then came up with a humorous equation:
ActiveX = Java + porting + memory loss + viruses
He then demonstrated a Web page that abuses the shortcomings of ActiveX: it drops the machine into DOS, enters commands at the DOS prompt, formats a floppy disk, finds Quicken financial files and uses the system's calculator applet to determine the person's net worth. The Web page then launches TurboTax and files an electronic tax form using the information. Obviously, this is an overblown example and unlikely to occur in the real world, but it does underscore the inherent problems with ActiveX. Also, it should be noted that Sun is busy working to open up the Java sandbox, in effect making it more like ActiveX and, therefore, more open to security problems. The irony of this, of course, is lost on McNealy who was having a grand time lecturing about his vision of the future.
In other Java news, Java creator James Gosling introduced a new set of APIs called the Java Foundation Classes (JFC). The JFC was developed jointly with Netscape, Sun, and IBM, and adds a number of user interface elements. JFC will incorporate all of the features of Netscape's Internet Foundation Classes (IFCs), JavaSoft's Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT), and IBM's Java development efforts. It's expected this summer. "This is a rich set of foundation classes and we're all pretty proud of it" Gosling said.
Other upgrades to the JDK expected this year include security enhancements, servlets (applets that run on Web servers), new rendering tools, and improved support for the Inter-ORB Protocol and CORBA. SunSoft will also increase the speed of Java applets running on Windows 32-bit platforms.
Java Workshop 2.0 was released on Wednesday, adding performance-related components such as a built-in Just In Time (JIT) compiler in the JVM, a fast JAVAC compiler, code profilers, faster Windows performance, and support for the JDK 1.1 and Java Beans.
Sun also detailed their plans for the JavaStation Network Computer (NC). A JavaStation Tower due this summer will include a 10/100 MB Ethernet connection to portable and desktop JavaStations. Sun plans to gradually compete more with the desktop PC world by expanding the functionality of JavaStations by including more serial devices and I/O slots. Sun sees NCs eventually being used everywhere from airport kiosks to corporate desktops.
And finally, SunSoft kicked off their 100% Pure Java initiative this week to provide a standard for Java applications. The initiative will provide testing and certification for Java applications. Those applications that pass the test will receive a 100% Pure Java certification and a license to use the "pure" logo on the product. The 100% Pure Java initiative will also feature marketing, education, and developer training programs