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News & Notes | Microsoft's Visual J++ and Java Web Site (Web Techniques, Oct

News & Notes | Microsoft's Visual J++ and Java Web Site (Web Techniques, Oct 1996)

Microsoft's Visual J++ and Java Web Site

The rumors surrounding Microsoft's Jakarta are finally being put to rest. The company has created a Web site for Java and its Visual J++ (formerly code-named "Jakarta") Java application-development environment. At the site (www.microsoft.com/visualj/) you can download the beta of Visual J++, a 13-MB compressed file for which Microsoft says you should reserve over 100 MB of disk space and have at least a 90-MHz Pentium with 24 MB of memory. Of course, it requires Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0.

Upon opening Visual J++, you are greeted with "Do you dare to install the coolest Java development environment on the planet?" Once you get past the levity, Visual J++ looks a lot like Visual C++ 4.1. It includes access to all sorts of online documentation, but it doesn't provide much help to the Java developer beyond the text editor and debugger. There may be a lot going on under the hood, but it is a stretch to describe it as the "coolest on the planet." For the Visual C++ programmer, however, the familiarity may be just what is needed to move into Java development.

Even if you don't need a 100-MB Java development environment, you still might want to visit Microsoft's Java site, where you'll find the highly acclaimed FrontPage Web-page editor.

Like an increasing number of Web sites, Microsoft requires registration to access its downloadable software, so be prepared to provide your name and address. Whatever you may think about personal privacy, it's a small price to pay to get a free look at some of Microsoft's tools.

HAHTSITE Eases Web-Application Development

Integrated tools for developing Web applications continue to get more sophisticated, as the technology matures rapidly and vendors rush to market with products. One new product is Haht Software's HAHTSITE, a unique integrated development environment that supports many different types of Web development, including page creation, HTML generation, graphics support, and data access. The goal of this combination is to enable you to do virtually all of your Web development from a single central application, using the same development environment.

Like IDEs that have emerged in recent years for traditional programming languages, HAHTSITE uses the project approach to manage development efforts. The development window includes a pane for visually organizing the project-file hierarchically, and clicking on a file opens it into the editing window. A nice additional feature is the ability to deploy the completed application to any of your sites with the click of a single button. For those with more-technical development requirements, HAHTSITE includes hooks to other languages and development environments, such as Java, JavaScript, VBScript, and ActiveX. It also gives you database access to any data source via SQL/ODBC or any other native API.

In addition to the IDE, HAHTSITE comes with a server-based runtime engine that enables applications developed with the environment's tools to run on the target Web server. The engine supports both multiprocess and multithreaded operating systems, and runs in compiled form. The only requirement for the Web-server software is that it support the CGI specification 1.0 or better. This opens up its use to dozens of commercial and public-domain Web servers. The HAHTSITE IDE requires Windows 95 or Windows NT with 16 MB of memory and 20 MB of disk space. The HAHTSITE engine runs under Windows NT 3.51 or higher, Solaris 2.4 or higher, HP-UX 9.x or higher, and AIX 3.2.5 or higher. Haht Software is located in Raleigh, NC, and can be reached at 800-996-3222 or at www.haht.com.

Clinempeg and MegaPEG Bring Video to the Web

Full-motion video for the masses on the Web is now one step closer with Digigami's CineWeb and MegaPEG. A collection of Netscape Navigator plug-ins, CineWeb enables real-time streaming video viewing in standardized digital-video formats. MegaPEG converts AVI files to QuickTime (and visa versa) for display on the Mac and PC, and provides a software-based MPEG conversion algorithm for porting both formats to MPEG-1.

CineWeb enables Navigator users to view digital video in real time while it's downloading. The movie file is cached on the local system and can be saved with the click of a button, enabling a viewer to decide in the first few frames whether or not to complete the download. CineWeb can stream and play back standard Windows .WAV, .AVI, Autodesk Animation, and MPEG files in real time. Digigami requires no licensing fees for personal use.

CineWeb can be used in conjunction with MegaPEG, which is geared toward Internet content providers. MegaPEG essentially converts different video file formats to MPEG using software compression. MegaPEG includes features for controlling the compression parameters, video preprocessing, and a batch mode for large conversion jobs. MegaPEG is optimized to run on multiprocessor systems, where separate CPUs can take over parts of the conversion task.

CineWeb and MegaPEG require Netscape Navigator 2.0 or better running on Windows 95, Windows NT, or Windows 3.1. CineWeb can be downloaded from Digigami's Web site for individual use or corporate evaluation. MegaPEG has a list price of $295. Digigami also markets Weblisher, an application that converts word-processing documents and multimedia files to HTML format for publishing on the Web. Digigami is located in San Diego, CA, and can be reached at 619-231-2600 or www.digigami.com.

Sausage Software's Egor Shows How to Do Multimedia

Bringing animation and sound to your Web site has just become easier with Egor Animator for Windows 95. Egor, from Sausage Software (developers of Hot Dog), lets users easily create sites with animation and sound. Egor enables virtually any computer user to animate a Web page, not just programmers or skilled graphic artists. Perhaps best of all, Egor is Java-compatible, so animations can be played back in a Java-enabled browser.

Egor defines five different steps to the process of adding these features to sites—Frames, Effects, Properties, Options, and Associations. Each defines different aspects of animation and multimedia, and lets Egor users manipulate animation movement, speed, direction, and motion. The package includes a collection of predefined images and sounds, along with tools for converting all popular graphics and sound formats into .GIF files for images and .AU files for sound. You can also use Egor to create your own multimedia components.

Egor is more than just a product name; it's the friendly mad scientist trapped within the software that takes the user through the steps necessary to create and bring life to animation movements and sounds. Egor is an odd tutor that bridges the gap between the technical aspects of multimedia programming and the average end user. Egor includes the ability to view animation before it's placed on the site.

Egor for Windows 95 is bundled with several other applications, including a trial edition of Hot Dog Professional, Paint Shop Pro, Sound Gadget Pro, the EarthLink Network TotalAccess membership kit, and the Netscape Navigator browser. Egor is published by Anawave Software, and lists for $79.95. Anawave is located in Newport Beach, CA, and can be reached at 714-250-7262 or www.anawave.com.

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