Archives: June 2006

Apache Derby to be bundled in 6.0 SDK

There has been a lot of noise about this recent announcement – Sun have decided, apparently of their own accord without any buy-in from the JCP committee for Java the 6.0 JSR, that they will bundle the Apache Derby database engine in the 6.0 SDK.

This seems like an odd decision, as many have been commenting, and has recieved a lot of negative press so far. As far as I can tell this is only an addition to the SDK and will not be bundled in the JRE. This is good so it won’t be included in an already large download for the JRE, but it means that if a developer chooses to use Derby ‘because it’s there’ they can’t rely on it being available on their target platform. So what benefit has this added? If it is only targetted at developers, I am sure (I sincerely hope) that if a developer is capable of downloading and installing the SDK or their favorite IDE that they are more than capable of downloading any one of a number of freely available open source databases?

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First reviews of Blu-ray DVDs released

Fosfor Gadgets has a link to a site that has the first reviews of the first movies released on the new Blu-ray DVD hidef format.

The conclusions so far by this one reviewer is that there is room for improvement. The review noted that they felt the quality of the video was at times in consistent, as at times was not even as good as over-the-air broadcast HD TV. This doesn’t sound good for Blu-ray so far, which is being touted as superior to HD-DVD. The reviewer says there is definitely room for improvement, and in some ways sounds like the first movies that were released on DVDs with over-compression and showing compression artifacts, the movie studios have got to get to grips with what is possible with the new format and what can be achieved.

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PSone back-catalog coming to PSP soon with PSone emulation and online downloads

Now this is cool. Sony is planning on releasing PSone emulation for their PSP handheld, with the PSone back-catalog of games available for online download.

Also, expect a firmware release for the PSP when the PS3 ships in November which will offer yet uncomfirmed interaction between the PSP and the PS3 console, but expect to see some sort of remote game control from the PSP connecting wirelessly to the PS3. Already demo’d at E3 was the ability to use the PSP wirelessly as a rear-view mirror for some racing games. Gimicy, but very cool…

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Google launch online payment service

In a steady march across internet territory, Google are slowly introducing competing services to take on anybody and everybody.

First came the Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Hotmail killer GMail, with unheard of online storage capacity. Google then bought out Blogger, one of the most well-used Blogger community sites. The addition of Blogger provided Google not only with a large user community, but it also added the capability to catalog and index the ever growing and changing ‘blogsphere’ (similarly to their purchase of DejaNews back in 2001, which had a UseNet newsgroup archive going back several years, and now rebadged as Google Groups).

Beating Microsoft out of the door with an online office webapp, Google Spreadsheets allows uses to edit, save and share onliner spreadsheets, possibly beating Microsoft at their own game and beating them to market before the launch of Microsoft Live, which is supposed to offer the same online office apps (although Google have yet to offer word processing and presentation software online).

Google’s latest, Google Checkout, now offers online vendors and consumers a PayPal alternative, which the benefit of one-click checkout across any online store supporting the new service.

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The confusion surrounding Struts and it’s subprojects

Struts 1.x as we know it is pretty much at the end of the road. Since JSF was introduced and now standardized as the web framework of choice in Java EE 5.0, as tool support increases for many there will be no other choice – use JSF for the web framework.

However the Struts community didn’t pack up and go home, they have been busy developing in many (confusing?) different directions. Timothy O’Brien’s blog entry on the site outlines these different directions.

First up is the continuation of the Struts 1.x codeline, now being referred to as the Struts Action 1 framework. This FAQ on their site says that development is continuing, however with so many other options out there, including JSF as well as other the other Struts projects, I think it would be foolish to go with Struts 1.x if starting a new project today. Why? Yes it’s tried and tested, but there are now better options available.

Next – the merging of the WebWork project and it’s framework with Struts has given birth to Struts Action 2 Framework. I’m not familiar with this codeline at all, but understand this will be what was formally known as WebWork, as a new version, 2.3.

Next comes Struts Shale. Shale is not Struts. It is a framework built on top of JSF, to ease JSF development and fill the gaps where the Struts Shale developers feel that JSF is lacking. Shale is described as what Struts would have originally been, if the developers had known then what they know now.

And the choices don’t end there – there are now many more Web Application frameworks out there than there have ever been. Gavin King’s Seam framework is getting a lot of press, again, building on top of JSF and offering features such as conversation support that are not handled in JSF by default. There are plenty of other choices all that have their own pros and cons, and implemented using different approaches, some command pattern based like Struts, some event based like Tapestry. If you are looking to choose a web framework today, I would do some homework and checkout these alternatives, since defaulting to Struts is possibly not the best choice anymore.

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Why neither DVD HD format will win – have an interesting article ’10 Reasons why HD DVD Formats have Already Failed’, listing reasons why neither of the HD-DVD or BluRay DVD formats will succeed, and why the author thinks they are already dead in the water, making comparisons with the much hyped SuperAudioCD and DVD-Audio DVD formats which never reached mainstream despite both having vastly superior audio quality.

The author makes some good points. The only one I am not completely sold on is the point about the PS3 will not help sell BluRay because it includes a BLuRay DVD player. I believe this will be a significant selling point, and as history has shown with the PS2 – many PS2 when it was originally launched were sold because it was the cheapest DVD player available at the time – for your money you got a state of the art game console plus a DVD player for cheaper than any comparable DVD players that were available at the same time.

The author does make good points though. Technology for technology sake does not sell products – there has to be a significant selling point for the average consumer to invest in this new technology.

This article describes how Toshiba is still looking to work with Sony and Panasonic to work on a unified next-gen DVD format, but in the meantime the two incompatible and competing fortmats, HD-DVD and BluRay DVD will still be hitting the streets first.

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End of the road for WinFS – revolutionary new file system will not ship as a Windows component

One of the most exciting and interesting new features to be included in Longhorn/Windows Vista, but removed from the list of new features some time back, was the planned inclusion of a new file system, named WinFS, that was to replace the hierarchical file structure that we have lived with in Windows since MS-DOS.

WinFS was supposed to be a radical departure from current file system thinking, where application data (files) would be stored and managed by a database engine.

Well, according to this blog entry by the WinFS team, not only will WinFS not ship as an included component of Windows Vista, it is now no longer being developed as a Windows conponent as an optional add-on. Development has shifted and it may now find itself integrated into SQL Server.

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