Swing Sightings Volume 20

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Swing Sightings Volume 20

February 9th, 2004

One of the most exciting kinds of e-mail that the Swing/JFC team receive is a product announcement for a new JavaTM application that features a Swing GUI. A close runner-up is the URL for a new game or a compelling never-before-seen applet.

Over the years we've collected many links to this information. In fact, if you walked down the hallways here you would see the walls plastered with hundreds of screenshots from applications developed outside of Sun. Therefore, we have decided to launch a Swing Connection feature to share this bounty. Don't expect a comprehensive survey; these are applications that we bumped into or that found us.

This feature is called "Swing Sightings" and here are several new applications we've happened upon recently. Previous Swing Sightings are available in the numbered web pages listed below. These applications don't come with our special seal of approval (we don't have one) and, although we may have tried some of them out, we don't claim to have really tested any of them. They're here because, based on the descriptions and the screenshots on their web sites, they look like good examples of what is possible with Swing.

The button indicates that if you have Java Web Start installed, you can launch the application by just simply clicking on the the button. Note: if you don't have Java Web Start installed, you can get it here.

If you know of an application that should be considered for this Swing Connection feature, we'd love to hear about it.


Home: www.smartcvs.com

CVS is the definitive system for managing source code used by developers in the open source community. CVS can be a bit of a handful when used via the command line and it's hard to find a developer who doesn't have one or two "I accidentally destroyed my workspace" war stories. SmartCVS provides a user friendly CVS client that makes developers more efficient and less error prone. Rick Ross, founder of the JavaLobby, wrote this rave review: "I have recently kissed my copy of WinCVS goodbye in favor of the fantastic, Java-powered product called "SmartCVS" by Thomas Singer. SmartCVS has finally made it intuitive to perform CVS tasks which used to frighten and baffle me."



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Home: www.otherwise.com/Jurtle.html

Just minutes after I'd published a blog on java.net lamenting the lack of easy to use Java tools for teaching high school students, Bill Tschumy (bill @ otherwise.com) sent us a pointer to Jurtle, a new tool he's developed for learning to program using Java. Jurtle (Java + Turtle = Jurtle) is aimed at High School or Junior High School students who typically find conventional Java IDEs intimidating and complex. Bill knows of what he speaks. He taught an eight grade Java programming class and developed Jurtle as a teaching aide. The Jurtle web site sums up the approach like this: "You learn to program by writing code that moves a virtual turtle on the computer screen, drawing figures in its wake. This approach to teaching programming is patterned after Turtle Graphics in the Logo programming language. After mastering the basics, Jurtle may be used to create full Java applications with their own graphical user interface (GUI)."


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Home: www.wisepine.com

WisePine is a company based in Korea and they've produced a nice drawing application that's based on Java2D and Vincent Hardy's Graphics Layer Framework (GLF) package. WisePine is intended for users who need to create graphics for web sites or technical documents (or Swing programs!). Wisepine supports all of the 2D graphics primitives and effects you might expect, group and ungrouping, direct manipulation geometric transforms, and so on. Illustrations are saved in an XML file. The WisePine tool can be extended by writing Plug-ins however the spec requires for doing this has not yet been released. Thanks to Chul-Woo Choi (cchoi @ buffalo.edu) for sending us a pointer to this app.

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 Portfolio Gains/Director/Option Money - Portfolio Systems

Home: www.scscompany.com

Portfolio Systems has been developing three financial applications for small accounting firms, individual investors, active traders and so on: Portfolio Gains, Option Money, and Portfolio Director. Bob Yacobucci (ryacobucci @ scscompany.com) sent us a note about the company and noted that they've got a "rapidly growing based of over 1,000 active traders along with law firms, accounting firms and investment professionals running our software in a multi-user / network environment". And Portofolio Systems has had lots of good press. It's always nice to see developers making money with Java!

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 Jose Chess

Home: jose-chess.sourceforge.net

Peter Schäfer (peterschaefer @ users.sourceforge.net) sent us a pointer to his great looking "Jose" chess system. Jose gives chess afficianados access to a database of 500,000 (wow) chess games, and support for playing against the computer via a pluggable chess engine. The slick look and feel you see in the screenshots is Metouia, and the 3D chess board is rendered with Java3D.

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Home: www.wsoftware.de/SpeedJG/

Hermann Wöhrmann (hew @ wsoftware.de) a former Smalltalk developer who shifted to Java about four years ago has created a GUI building for Swing called SpeedJG. He sent us the following description of the tool: "SpeedJG is an XML-based GUI builder tool to create state-of-the-art Java Swing applications. The core part of this tool is a parser that reads the meta-data described in XML to create Java GUI components on the fly. An IDE, itself generated by and using this parser, enables the Java developer to design GUIs, generate their meta-data, check their layout, and create the corresponding source code."

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 Flux Job Designer/Monitor

Home: www.simscomputing.com

Sims Computing, founded in 1997 and based in Billings, Montana, USA, has released a great looking tool for designing and monitoring workflows called the Flux Job Designer. A workflow might be as simple as performing one job one time at some time in the future, or it might be a whole series of jobs executed at regular intervals or triggered by changes in the file system or the results of previous jobs. The Flux designer tool makes creating complex workflows look like fun and they've created a tool that's powerful enough to enable ordinary mortals to do this kind of engineering without resorting to tons of custom code.

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Home: www.jlearnit.com

Anthony Goubard (adagoubard @ chello.nl) has developed a foreign language education application called JLearnIt and was kind enough to send us a brief description: "JLearnIt is a multilingual dictionary sorted by categories that helps you learn the vocabulary of another language progressively (each word has a level of use). The languages available are French, English, Spanish, Dutch, German and Italian. "That only begins to describe this app, go to the web site to read the complete list of features.



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 Exchanger XML Editor

Home: http://www.cladonia.com

Exchanger from Cladonia is a very capabale XML editing tool. As they say on their web site: "it features schema-based editing, tag prompting, validation against a DTD, XML Schema*, RelaxNG, tree view and outliner for tag free editing, XPath and regular expression searches, schema conversion, XSLT and XSLFO transformations, comprehensive project management, an SVG viewer and conversion, easy SOAP invocations, and more." Thanks to Gabriel McGoldrick (gmcgoldrick @ cladonia.com) for sending us the screenshots!.

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 ILOG Discovery

Home: www2.ilog.com/preview/Discovery

Thomas Baudel (baudel @ ilog.fr) from ILOG sent us a pointer to a preview of a new data visualization tool called ILOG Discovery (there's a free evauation version). He also sent us the following description:

"ILOG Discovery Preview is a proof-of-concept visualization tool for analyzing data sets intuitively and communicating findings within an enterprise information system. It also serves as an interactive tool for browsing and editing databases, using a direct manipulation paradigm instead of a form-based query system." " ILOG Discovery applies a new dataflow model that provides access to a very large class of visualization algorithms through interactive parameter settings. Charts and graphs can be displayed with ILOG Discovery, as well as various kinds of treemaps, parallel coordinates, grids, and many other types of views. The dataflow model has a fixed number of parameters for ease of use and predictability, and co-routine-like mechanisms for declaring visualization features that require state handling."

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 The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator

Home: www.aardasnails.com/

Not every application we feature is a developer tool or a database visualization app or a game. Some of the items that grace these pages represent cutting edge scientific research that attempts to answer the really big questions. One question that has bedeviled academics for centuries is: "If you have enough monkeys banging randomly on typewriters, will they eventually type all of the works of William Shakespeare?" Engineers have often pondered this question and have added another: "how many bananas would those monkeys eat?". The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator aims to answer both questions. By running the applet simulation you're advancing science. Please help.

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Home: www.nirview.com

When I asked Thomas Singer about this column's SmartCVS sighting,he suggested that we contact Marc Strapetz (strapetz @ nirview.com) about an app he's built called NIRView. As you can see from the screenshots, NIRView is a great looking app. Marc told us that he used the Docking Framework and L&F from JIDE Software. He also sent us this description of NIRView: "NIRView is a software tool for the calculation and visualization of the field strength resulting from telecommunication base stations. With the integrated Free-Space-Propagation model and an interface to the high-performance raylauncher CORLA (by TNC), NIRView supports a broad variety of applications: From a coarse overview to a detailed analysis of the field strength - from the search for suitable measurement points to the planning of telecommunication networks.".

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 Human Image Viewer

Home: vhp.murdoch.edu.au/vhi

The National Library of Medicine's Visual Human Project has created a database of "transverse CT, MR and cryosection images of representative male and female cadavers". According to the site, the male was sectioned at one millimeter intervals, the female at one-third of a millimeter intervals. The VHI Viewer is designed to allow medical students and professionals to view this data online or offline. Chances are good that you (dear reader) are not a member of the medical profession, however once you get past the yuck factor, the images are fascinating.

Development of the initial Visual Human Image Viewer software (v1.0) was the outcome of a study agreement (ISC) between a student Lloyd Dunbrack and supervisor Dr Hong Xie (xie @ murdoch.edu.au) of the School of Information Technology, Murdoch University, Western Australia. The current version of the software is 1.1.



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