Monthly Archives: June 2001

AmphetaDesk Update/Java and Games

Correction: I mistakenly said that AmphetaDesk is written in Python. It is actually written in Perl. I also received word from the author that he plans proxy support in a later version (both AmphetaDesk and Peerkat could not be run from work because they had problems with the proxy server there).
Sun has been making various rumbling noises lately about games. That they intend to take games more seriously than they have before. In fact, they seem to have arrived at the point that Microsoft arrived at many years back when they finally threw away all their laughable half-assed attempts at games and settled down to do DirectX. Let’s hope that Sun can learn from Microsoft in this case and produce some really good cross platform game libraries with some consistency to them. Good documentation and examples wouldn’t hurt either. This article on IBM’s developerWorks website summarizes some of the recent announcements from Sun with regard to Java gaming. The resources section at the bottom of the article has links to items mentioned in the text.

Resources Page Makeover

The resources page has gotten a much needed makeover (there’s now a linked category list at the top) and I’ve got at least two dozen new entries that I’ll be adding tomorrow. The entries are already written but the HTML is only about half done so it will just have to wait. Also, look for some news feeds to start appearing on the main page shortly thereafter.
Tried out a couple of other RSS tools (i.e. not HotSheet). Both AmphetaDesk and Peerkat are written in Python and both are no-fee open source projects. Each is oriented around using the browser as the user interface. Personally I’ve found developing browser interfaces to be twice as hard as doing a conventional interface using a tool like Swing and the results aren’t nearly as good. However both tools get the job done to let you build a list of news channels and sydicate them to a page they create. Plus, both could be put onto a home or work machine that was always on and had a permanent Internet connection and they could be administered from anywhere. You can’t do that right now with HotSheet. In fact, I wouldn’t even try to do it with HotSheet, I’d build another application using the RSS library in HotSheet to do something like that if I had an interest.

BSF for Java Scripting

I hope to eventually add scripting capabilities to HotSheet and also to another project I’m working on now. Over on Windows the best way to add scripting support to your application is to use ActiveX Scripting. Then you can support either VBScript or JScript or one of a few other third party choices like PythonScript.
The Java equivalent to ActiveX Scripting is IBM’s Bean Scripting Framework (BSF). It allows you to choose between quite a few different scripting languages for your program so users don’t have to know one particular language you chose but rather can use one that they are already familiar with if it is supported by the BSF. All well and good except that the BSF page only mentions Python support through the older JPython. The project that replaces it, Jython, which is currently supporting Python 2.0 and has beta versions that are closely tracking the current language isn’t mentioned at all so I wasn’t sure it would be available if I used the BSF in my programs. However, I ran across this today and it not only tells me that it is possible but how to do it. Now I can feel comfortable using the BSF as my scripting extension.

Ant 2.0

Information about directions for Ant in a future 2.0 version have been posted. This is definitely a step in the right direction as it will make it easier in the future for Ant to be integrated as the build mechanism into software like Forte/Netbeans, JBuilder, or whatever else.
Had little time for programming over the weekend. My son turned eight (!) so there was a birthday party, etc. I did find time to add mousewheel support to HotSheet though. I haven’t uploaded the change yet because it will require some testing first but it makes the user interface nicer for Windows users who have a mousewheel while we all wait for the native Java support for the feature in Sun’s JDK 1.4.