4 June 2001
Reported, written and edited by David Duberman
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JSP (JavaServer Pages) development often consists of many tasks that are common and repeatable. Wouldn't it be great if there were existing libraries that everyone could use without having to write them? There are, and some of the most useful are Apache's Jakarta Taglibs. A recent article on ONJava.com covers the Jakarta Taglib project, and how to advantage of some great open source JSP tag libraries.
Jakarta Taglibs by Sue Spielman, 5/29/01
Notable quote from Sue Spielman: "The value of open source is that you can use (and contribute) code that has been run, reviewed, and tested by many. If you are using custom tag libraries in your JSP, and you are not using at least one of the Jakarta taglibs in the project, you may be spending money on development cycles that are both unnecessary and wasteful."
Metrowerks is working with the Tao Group to enable application and content development for Tao's intent, a portable media platform for consumer appliances. Metrowerks is providing CodeWarrior development tools for the intent platform, including the intent, Java Technology Edition, a Sun-authorized Java-compliant and branded engine that runs multimedia Java content in small footprints.
intent provides a framework that lets developers to create multimedia content, such as 3D video games, that run on connected digital appliances, even low-end client devices. The Tao technology is used by consumer-electronics manufacturers such as Sharp, JVC and Grundig.
Under the agreement, Metrowerks' CodeWarrior Integrated Development Environment (IDE), debugger and Java compiler will combine with the Tao SDK.
The intent suite is available as a binary portable content engine on operating systems such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows CE for MIPS, Linux, Embedded Linux, EPOC, VxWorks, OS-9000 and Elate. Elate was designed by Tao from its inception as a multimedia, deterministic operating system
The first CodeWarrior for intent products will be available in the fourth quarter of 2001, following a beta program that will be launched in the third quarter.
MP3.com says its Developers Network (MP3DN) is a relatively new resource for developers building online music products and services. The site provides tools to build new music-enabled products as well as marketing support for their products.
In April, MP3.com added the latest feature to the MP3DN: the MusicDB API. The CD-recognition service, presently offered at no charge, is a resource for developers who seek to enhance their products with artist, track and title information. MusicDB enables consumers who place a CD in their PC's CD-ROM tray to automatically receive information on that album through an interface designed by the developer. Developers can download the latest version of the Music IOS API with this Music DB functionality at http://www.mp3.com/musicdb.
Another tool released recently is MP3.com's XML Content Feeds (http://www.mp3.com/stations/dev_apps). This content feed, updated daily, provides developers with access to song files, artist information and services. The content can be deployed in a variety of Web-based, software, firmware, hardware, device and other applications. To access the content feeds, visit http://www.mp3.com/dev/xml_feeds.html.
Central to the MP3DN is the Music IOS API. It allows developers to offer their customers direct, streaming access to music content, as well as the ability for customers to manage that content in their My.MP3 account.
Developers can obtain answers and tips, and discuss tech issues with MP3.com's engineering team and other developers in the MP3DN community, by visiting the bulletin boards at http://www.mp3.com/dev/developers_support.html.
MP3.com also offers marketing support for developers' products (http://www.mp3.com/dev/marketing_support.html), helping to provide the exposure needed for a product's success.
Developers who are part of the MP3DN also are alerted to upcoming development-related events such as the Developers Workshop, scheduled for June 19 at MP3.com headquarters. The workshops, offered free of charge, are intended to provide technical insight and background on marketing support available to hardware, software and Web developers interested in enhancing their product, application or Web site with MP3.com's tools. For additional information or to register for the June 19 workshop visit http://www.mp3.com/events.
The June workshops serve as a precursor to the much-anticipated MP3 Summit 2001: Mobilizing Your Music event, designed to power a new generation of wireless devices for music fans around the world. The annual event, to be held in San Diego July 12 and 13, is slated to be the hub for technologists, digital music supporters, companies and artists. (http://www.mp3.com/summit).
CUseeMe Networks, a provider of integrated voice and video communications solutions for IP-based networks and the Internet, last week announced a joint application development partnership with View System Korea, a CUseeMe Networks reseller partner and a provider of robust multimedia applications. As a result of the development partnership, View System Korea will be releasing a new E-learning solution called CU Learning, based on the CUseeMe communications platform of rich media client and server technologies.
View System is a solutions provider that specializes in developing technology that allows Web content including multimedia data to be delivered between Internet users on a real-time basis. CU Learning is a distance learning software package, enabling one-to-one and one-to-many connections. It is the first vertical application to integrate with the CUseeMe Conference Server 5.0. CU Learning combines the Conference Server with the Web to provide both a knowledge repository and a platform for E-learning videoconferencing applications. CU Learning provides an alternative to an earlier generation CUseeMe distance learning product called ClassPoint.
CU Learning facilitates data conferencing without the use of T.120, which has some limitations that can cause bandwidth traffic jams. View System uses a technology called MOSE (Multipoint Objects Synchronizing Engine) to synchronize data sharing, ranging from HTML to engineering 2D and 3D CAD drawings and to professional medical PACS over the Internet. MOSE is said to provide improved performance by integrating event-based synchronizing technology and minimizing the size of transferring data.
CU Learning is an instructor-controlled learning environment with the following features:
Aportis Technologies' AportisDoc Mobile, its technology for publishing, sharing and exchanging electronic text documents of any size on Palm Powered handheld devices, is now available for all Windows-based handheld devices, including the range of current PocketPC and HandheldPC devices. Supported devices include the Compaq iPAQ, HP Jornada, Casio E-115/125 and EM-500, and Sharp Mobilon. AportisDoc Mobile functions include reading documents, plus the ability to find text, copy text, control preferences, add Bookmarks, and use extra fonts.
The Aportis eBook Library contains over 4,000 free downloadable fiction and non-fictional books and documents in AportisDoc format that are arranged in over thirty categories like adventure, mystery, novels, religion, entertainment, and business. Popular titles include Alice in Wonderland, Dracula by Bram Stoker, HTML Reference Guide, and NFL football schedules for 2000-2001.
The Internet is running out of IP addresses and some people say NAT (Network Address Translation) is the answer. Two articles on O'Reilly Network's ONLamp.com explain the problem, and a possible solution: IPv6. Is it a better approach? And how is IPv6 different from what you're using now?
Introduction to IPv6 by Hubert Feyrer, 5/24/01
If you don't believe there's an IP address shortage, here's an article with details:
Where Have All the IPs Gone? by Michael Lucas, 03/02/2001
Maxon Computer last week released a new plug-in that integrates its BodyPaint 3D painting application with Discreet’s 3ds max versions 3 and 4. The plug-in was created in cooperation with cebas Computer, a developer of plug-ins for Maxon and Discreet products. Although users must have both 3ds max and BodyPaint 3D, the plug-in is available for free download from Plug-in Café.
The BP<->max exchange plug-in supports conversion of complete 3ds max scenes, including objects, hierarchies, lights, cameras, common material properties and UV tags. The scene is translated from max to BodyPaint 3D with the click of a button. All UV manipulation and painting of textures are then passed back to MAX with another click.
BodyPaint 3D's RayBrush technology lets users paint onto a raytraced image in three dimensions in real time. Reflectivity, bump, transparency, specularity and other channels can be painted in real time with direct visual feedback in multiple 3D views. Up to 10 material channels can be painted concurrently to create compound effects like rust and scarring. The software allows manipulation of UV through "optimal" and "interactive" mapping as well as detailed point editing. Also, users of Wacom's Intuos graphics tablet can map most aspects of brush characteristics to the pressure, tilt and angle of the Wacom pen.
3Dlabs and Sun Microsystems announced last week that the Sun Expert3D-Lite professional graphics card will now be available as a standard configuration in Sun Ultra 60, Ultra 80, Sun Blade 100, and Sun Blade 1000 workstations. Previously available as an optional add-in component, the card will now be offered pre-installed.
The Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator with Wildcat II technology was developed by 3Dlabs according to Sun specifications and requirements, with Sun engineers providing Solaris interfaces and drivers.
Cyberworld International Corporation says it will develop products to support Mac OS X and the Mac platform. An enabling technology currently offered on the Windows platform only, the software infrastructure facilitates the use of multimedia products such as streaming audio, video, Flash, 3D objects, and imaging within one interface. The Macintosh version will feature the same technology to integrate multimedia into 3D environments.
Iwerks Entertainment Inc. opened its 3D/4D FX Theatre March 1 at Xidan Cultural Plaza, an urban entertainment center in Beijing, China. The new multimedia attraction showcases "Pirates," a 3D attraction film from the Iwerks film library, enhanced with in-theater special effects. This is the second Iwerks 3D/4D FX Theatre installed in China.
"Iwerks opened the first 3D/4D FX Theatre in Shenzen in 2000," said Don Iwerks, co-founder and chairman of Iwerks Entertainment. "Only one year later, we've installed the second in Beijing and another is slated to open in Shanghai later this year."
The new theatre features Iwerks' Linear Loop Large Format projection system in stereoscopic 3D, with digital audio surround-sound, custom special effects seats and in-theater special effects. The seats are the source of the special effects, which are programmed to coordinate with the action of the film. Each seat is equipped with audio speakers, subwoofers, air jets, water spritzers and leg ticklers.
O'Reilly & Associates announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2001 that the first two in a series of books on Mac OS X application development--"Learning Carbon" and "Learning Cocoa" (O'Reilly, each US $34.95)--have been released. The books cover porting existing code to the new operating system, and using the examples provided, act as springboards to help developers create their own applications.
Carbon is one of the principal application environments Mac OS X programmers can use to write applications. Utilizing Carbon, programmers can tune up their existing Mac source code to take advantage of the new features in Mac OS X.
"Learning Carbon" introduces the developer to concepts like event management, resource handling, and bundle anatomy. In addition, hands-on instructions guide the reader on topics of how to implement essential application tasks, such as managing windows, creating and responding to menu commands, providing user help, and organizing the application for easy localization in multiple countries and languages.
Cocoa is the second principal application environment for Mac OS X. Its object-oriented APIs allow developers to work in both Java and Objective-C.
"Learning Cocoa" begins with a discussion of essential object-oriented programming concepts, and then introduces the Cocoa environment. Tutorials guide the reader through a series of increasing complex example applications.
For "Learning Carbon:"
The sample chapter, "Carbon Event," is available free online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learncarbon/chapter/ch06.html
For more information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and samples, see http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learncarbon/
For "Learning Cocoa:"
Chapter 6, "Essential Cocoa Paradigms," is available free online at: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learncocoa/chapter/ch06.html
For more information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and samples, see http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learncocoa/
A series of articles on "Programming with Cocoa" is available on the O'Reilly Network Mac DevCenter: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/ct/37
Just out from Sony Computer Entertainment America is, in my opinion, the best Playstation2 game to date. Dark Cloud, a 3D action-adventure role-playing game (RPG), features a character-driven story with six playable characters. You start with a prototypical young blade-wielder named Toan and add five allies as you proceed through the story, including a slingshot-wielding cat-girl and a hammer-pounding tree-boy. You control only one at a time, but can switch to any character in your party at any time: while traveling to solve puzzles, or in battles, which is especially helpful if another character is disabled. Occasionally, though, you must venture through a dungeon level with only a specific character, which forces you to learn its distinctive strengths.
What's particularly compelling about Dark Cloud is its world-building aspect, reminiscent of the SNES game Actraiser. You must rebuild each town that you come to by finding pieces (houses, furnishings, denizens, and infrastructure such as roads and rivers) in the local dungeon, and then placing them in the landscape. As NPCs become available, you can converse with them for clues on rebuilding the towns as well as adventure puzzles. You can also walk through rebuilt towns in great-looking 3D. Interestingly, you can move around inside buildings in first-person perspective, but outside you can only look around in first person. At any rate, this aspect of the game really maintains interest and motivates you to keep exploring, more so than any other RPG I've played lately.
There are a few minor flaws, such as the inability to load a saved game without resetting the machine, and the fact that scenery tends to block the camera view at critical moments during the real-time battles. But these are easily outweighed by nifty features such as a sophisticated weapon upgrade system that actually makes sense. The game's myriad nice touches prove that the developers are gamers themselves, and spent a lot of time thinking about ways of enhancing playability.
Dark Cloud was released in Japan last December. For the U.S. release, the development team added 30 percent more content, implemented a new battle system, provided extra weapons, new monsters, and enhanced enemy artificial intelligence (AI). All of which go to make an addictive game even better; highly recommended for fans of console RPGs.
Gangsters 2, a real-time strategy game set in Prohibition America, puts the player at the head of a crime family. As the Mob Boss, you must deal in extortion, illegal liquor, prostitution, violence, intimidation, gambling, gang warfare, bribery of officials, permanent elimination of individuals and a host of money-making activities to ensure success over the other crime families in the city.
New features include:
In a continuing partnership with Activision, Aspyr Media Inc. last week shipped Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for the Macintosh. The game conversion was performed by Westlake Interactive. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is one of the first games to ship for the Mac OS X.
It lets players skate with the skills of the best skaters in the world, including Tony Hawk, or create their own customized skater. Players master trick combinations, working their way up the skateboarding ranks using moves like manuals, grabs, grinds, inverts and lip and nollie tricks and more. Players can skate in a variety of international real-world settings, including Philadelphia, New York and Marseille, that are filled with secret areas, short cuts, ramps and interactive objects allowing players to trick off just about everything in sight.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 offers three multi-player modes via LAN, the Internet or AppleTalk network, including a tag mode, trick attack and graffiti. Three additional levels are included--Woodland Hills Warehouse, Chicago Skate Park and the Phoenix Down Hill Jam.
Microsoft's Train Simulator, shipping shortly, places the player in the role of engineer with lifelike engineer's control panels, scenery and weather, and accurate elevations and terrain data mirror real-world train travel. Player activities include keeping passenger time schedules while managing unforeseen barriers, negotiating freight through mountain passes in winter storms, and navigating some of the world's busiest commuter lines. The title includes nine different trains, ranging from steam locomotives and modern diesels to high-speed electric "bullet trains." Players can travel any of six rail routes from around the globe, including the Flying Scotsman's Settle to Carlisle and BNSF's Maria's Pass route.
Spectrum is an independent news service published every Monday for the interactive media professional community by Motion Blur Media. Spectrum covers the tools and technologies used to create interactive multimedia applications and infrastructure for business, education, and entertainment; and the interactive media industry scene. We love to receive interactive media and online development tools and CD-ROMs for review.
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