Free Stuff

Free Stuff

Hot topic. Love it, hate it or just tolerate it, the Java programming language is here to stay on the Internet. Programmers who are serious about developing Net applications need to learn it, and they need to keep up-to-date as new tools become available.

Some great tools, both introductory and advanced, are available for free. It's just a matter of knowing where to look. Several links below lead to Sun Microsystems Inc. sites, but Sun isn't the only maker of Java tools. Java is an active community with a lot of free stuff.



Fast start. The Java 2 Development Kit (JDK) from Sun Microsystems is a great starting point. It lets you write Java applets that adhere to the applet application programming interface for Java.

It has new features for drag-and-drop, application services, reference objects, the Java interface definition language and a Java Virtual Machine Debugger Interface.

There are also JavaBeans components, object serialization, thread support, memory compression and more.

If you are at all serious about Java, this is the place to start. Download your copy from java.sun.com/products/jdk/1.2/index.html.



Bug juice. If your programs are buggy, you should also check out the free JavaTM Platform Debugger Architecture. Download it at java.sun.com/products/jpda/. It works with Microsoft Windows or Unix Java programs.



New frontier. If you're a Linux user, and you'd like a preview of the IBM Developer Kit for Linux, Java Technology Edition, go to www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/linuxjvm and download the alpha version of the kit. It's part of a major IBM Corp. effort to make all the functionality of Sun's JDK available to Linux users.



To the source. The FreeJava development environment from the English company DMInteractive Ltd. is another great tool set that works with the JavaSoft JDK.

It lets you edit source code, compile, and run Java applets and full applications. There are drop-down menus in source editors and you can see helpful, full-syntax coloring in source windows. Double clicking on compiler errors takes you straight to the source code.

Download FreeJava 2.0 at www.freejava.co.uk/.



Jini time. If you're interested in experimenting with Jini, Sun's system for plug-and-play networking, you can register on the Java Developers connection site and download a free copy of the Jini System Software Starter Kit.

Visit developer.java.sun.com/developer/products/jini/jinidoc10.html to get the details.



'Shawn P. McCarthy

Internet: smccarthy@lycos.com



The author designs products for a Web search engine provider.

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