01
Fri, Mar
0 New Articles

Shopping for Free Stuff from IBM and Apache

Development Tools
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

My sister-in-law recently came for a weekend visit, which means one thing: shopping. Like most men, I don’t like to shop. I figure I already have a pair of shoes, a couple pairs of pants, a few white shirts, and a half-dozen ties. So what more do I need?

Well, as a Java coder, I could always use a few more tools. So guess what? You and I are going shopping. But you’d better not bring your Visa card, because these stores won’t accept it.

Their stuff is free. First, let’s pull into the IBM alphaWorks site, at www.alphaworks.ibm.com. Back in 1996, IBM tacked up the alphaWorks shingle with only a small set of tools. Since that time, the site has exploded. AlphaWorks is teeming with dozens of tools. Many have won awards. For instance, Java Report gave Jinsight, a visual tool for optimizing and understanding Java programs, first place in the utilities category. XML Productivity Kit for Java, a companion to XML Parser for Java, got third place in the same category.

Several XML tools from alphaWorks received an honorable mention from Java Report: XML Diff and Merge Tool, XML Parser for Java, LotusXSL, and Dynamic XML for Java.

You’ll also notice a dozen other XML tools under the Technologies section of the site. The most notable is XML Interface for RPG, C, and COBOL. (For a detailed discussion on XML Interface for RPG, see Jim Barnes’ article “RPG IV and XML Together” in the November 2000 issue of MC.)

But you’re probably bored with XML by now, so let’s stroll past that section and take a look at a few other alphaWorks products that received an honorable mention from Java Report: Xeena, TSpaces, and Distributed Application Tester.

And here are a few more I like: Jikes Bytecode Toolkit, Developer Kit for Linux, Jikes Debugger, Developer Kit for Linux, and EJBMaker.

That last one, EJBMaker, is a tool for Enterprise JavaBean developers who are writing Enterprise JavaBean applications for the WebSphere Application Server environment. Now, tell me why IBM would make a tool that generates Java code that will only work on WebSphere. VisualAge for Java Enterprise Edition, a $2,000 or so product, already has an EJB wizard. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that WebSphere Advanced, a $10,000 or so product, is required to run EJBs. I’d rather the tool generated Java 2, Enterprise Edition-compliant code that could be used in any Web application server (like open-source JBoss.)


 

Watch Your Wallet

 

It’s easy to get caught up with the thought that all of these cool tools are free. The only trouble is, they’re not free. According to the alphaWorks mission statement, its intent is to provide early tool access for developers. So, like the name says, alphaWorks is a site where you can gain free access to tools in the alpha (and beta) stage, to assist IBM. Some of the tools do end up as truly free open-source utilities, but others become bundled with chargeable products or become products in their own right. Take, for instance, alphaWorks’ High Performance Compiler for Java (HPCJ), which takes Java source and creates a true Windows binary executable. Today, HPCJ is nowhere to be seen on the alphaWorks site, save for a note that says HPCJ has “graduated” to become integrated with IBM’s VisualAge for Java.

 

You Say You Want Free?

 

I did promise we’d go to stores where the software is free, so let’s pop over to Apache’s Jakarta site, at jakarta.apache.org. The Jakarta site doesn’t have as much to offer as alphaWorks, but I’ll guarantee that what they do have is free and doesn’t cater to pricey IBM products. Here’s complete list of the utilities available from Jakarta, all of which are full-blown products:

• JAX—a utility that compresses JAR files by as much as 70 percent
• Ant—a compilation facility for Java
• Element Construction Set (ECS)—a Java API for generating elements for various markup languages
• Log4J—a package that enables logging at runtime without modifying Java code
• ORO—a set of text-processing Java classes that provide advanced regular expressions
• Regexp—a lightweight regular expression package
• Slide—a content management and integration system
• Struts—a Web application building framework
• Taglibs—Jakarta’s unique extensions to JavaServer Page (JSP) tags
• Tomcat—a world-class Web application server
• Velocity—a Java-based template engine
• Watchdog—a set of validation tests for Java servlets and JSPs

You should already know about Tomcat (see “Tomcat for the OS/400: An Open Source Web Application Server,” in the December 2000 issue of MC). Some of the other items on the list bear serious consideration, too. You can expect future MC articles on at least two Jakarta products, Ant and Taglibs. I'm going to download several others. Need runtime logging, software validation, or a content management and integration system? Try Log4J, Watchdog, and Slide. Are you doing server-side Java? Want an application design strategy? Try Struts or Velocity.


Don Denoncourt

Don Denoncourt is a freelance consultant. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


MC Press books written by Don Denoncourt available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Java Application Strategies for iSeries and AS/400 Java Application Strategies for iSeries and AS/400
Explore the realities of using Java to develop real-world OS/400 applications.
List Price $89.00

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: