Cool crap you can download and plug together to build amazing programs:
- JGraph – Easily the slickest of the graph libraries I’ve seen out there so far. It had no problems redrawing that I’ve seen, which is far more than I can say for GEF
- Batik 1.1 rc 1 – I’ve mentioned Batik before but it really needs your undivided attention. Batik takes a file in a format known as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) and renders it. SVG is XML based and like any XML or HTML can be easily generated by people or programs. Folks, this is like having an Adobe PostScript interpreter that you can embed right into your own application. Tell me you can’t think of a use for that.
- Aglets – IBM’s open source library for building agents has finally gotten some attention and there is a SourceForge project for it and the library has been updated for Java 2. For those with a long memory, this was one of the four projects I named in the past as being abandoned that should not be.
- Jabberbeans – A Java library to access the Jabber instant messaging system. Jabber technically specifies the protocol only so you can do either the client or server in any language on any platform. In practice it seems like everybody is still using just one server but there are already dozens of clients out there.
If you have enough of these pieces, programming starts to become more like master level Lego assemblies than like the painting process it has been in the past. Always before you had to paint every brushstroke on a canvas yourself. Now, you can take whole sets of material and begin assembling it to create something bigger with connecting code that you come up with yourself. It’s more about how creative you are with the pieces than whether you have the endurance to write War and Peace.