More open source and disruptive technologies

Sun is seemingly moving on along its open source track. The Fortress programming language, a continuation of Fortran, has reached the ranks of open source. First Java then "Fortran", well it was long ago since I did anything in Fortran, actually a Fortran derivative with some powerful extra quirks; PLEX - Programming Language for Telephone Exchanges. It targets (still does - I think) demanding real-time systems, i.e. telephone traffic. Ericsson, inventor of PLEX; also has a programming language in the open source domain, Erlang. I have never tried Erlang, but it also targets real-time systems.

Update (2007-01-16); I recently found an intersting site regarding history of programming languages, HOPL. Unfortunately it does not mention PLEX.

There is an article recently depicting the next five most disruptive technologies, those that we will see more of during 2007. One technology which is mentioned is RFID. It got some hype a few years ago and then everything calmed down a bit. Eventually I see it more and more on a daily basis, i.e. not necessarily in the places mentioned a few years back; retail. I do see it being employed more and more in security though. I have two badges, one to get into my customer's premises and I recently gor one from my empolyer. Both utilises RFID tags, so it is no longer necessary to swipe the card, just hold in fron of the reader. Very convinient!

There is a search engine for people 50+. Check out Cranky.com It has a simple and nice UI, only shows like five results on the first page etc. Well, if you get tired of Google and sense, like myself (I do have quite some years before I reach that point, actually!), are closing in on the age critera of the target group ... maybe it could be worthwhile, I do not know anything yet whether how powerful it is or how good an indexer it has, etc.

Finally, came across this war map describing the software wars Microsoft is staging. Maybe true to some extent, but quite fun also admist everything ...


Adding a third party JAR to your Eclipse plugin

I often get the question "How to add a third party JAR-file to my Eclipse plugin". It is not that tricky, but neither that obvious. Two solutions has been posted on the Eclipse newslists, but it can be quite hard to find it as the sheer number of posts is overhelming.

Here is two ways of doing it:
1. Turn the JAR-file(s) into plugin(s)
This is probably the simplest solution, but maybe not always achieving the desired granularity though. "Use New" -> "Project" -> "Plug-in Development" -> "Plug-in from existing JAR Archive". That will turn the JAR-file into a single JAR-plugin. Check that all required packages are re-exported.

2. Include the JAR-file(s) in the plugin in question:

  • Use the "Import" -> "File System" to import the JAR-file(s) into your plugin project. E.g. '/lib' directory

  • Then use "Add..." to add the JAR-file(s) to the classpath section of the Manifest/plugin.xml runtime tab.

  • Press "New..." to add "." library back to the the classpath (without quotes).

  • Check that the binary build exports the new JAR-file(s) on the Build tab.

  • Press save, important for the changes to come through.

  • Select the project in question in the package explorer view, right click and select "PDE Tools" -> "Update classpath". This will add the newly added JAR-file(s) to the project´s classpath.
When you are in the process of exporting the plugin make shure you do not package the plugin as "individual JAR archives", Eclipse cannot load JARs from within JARs, yet.


Added another link to the list, well added a new language ...

I just added a link to the list of links. Why bother writing a posting about that? The reason for drawing a little bit more attention than expected from such an event is the fact that it is not related at all to Java, yet. It is a link to a very nice programming language; Io. Small, prototype based and dynamic. It could prove to be a nice candidate for a JSR-223 compatible implementation, eventually, time permitting. Especially when the JVM gets its new invokedynamic instruction. There is a blogentry, by Debasish Ghosh, that has some intersting reading about these intersting matters on his blog, Ruminations of a programmer.

If you are in the business of creating language of your own, you have probably already cecked out ANTLR. It is a powerful utility for creating a parser for your language of choice. I'll post some of my experiments here when I get around to do so (some work in progress is propriatary - owned by my customer - and cannot be posted in public). I did a grammar for Io using ANTLR, but I had to give up the rest of the implementation some time ago as I moved into the current project, which takes up much of my time. As the overtime is coming down to normal levels, I'll pick it up again.

I've started some preparations for the upcoming Jfokus conference here in Kista, Stockholm. My little talk will be a introductory presentation of OSGi. I'll post the material here after the conference, i.e. after the 30:th of January when this venue takes place.


New year, new issues, new inventions and a UFO

Hope you all had nice Holidays. Myself I did as little as possible, part from eating too much good stuff and a few glasses of champagne on New Years Eve. Also had a nie experience with a chocolat dessert and some wine from Banyuls, a naturally sweet red wine from the very south of France, almost on the border to Spain.

On the second of this month I was back in the office to find that a number of collegues where doing the same. Thought I'll be quite alone in the office, but there is plenty to do in the curent project. As it turns out there are some JUnit coverage numbers to pump up - there is a report to be produced for a managerial meeting next week, which in turn means that the JRE 1.6 issue has to be postponed until next week. There are a few new things to care for during these JUnit and Eclipse plug-in test cases that confuses me; running the test case separately everyting is nice and peachy, executing it in a suite causes it to fail. It seems that the corresponding bundle is not instantiated properly for the plug-in under test. Anyhow, it is problably something obvious when it has been figured out.

Another issue to cater for later this week and coming weeks is to start evaluating the Newton component framework. In the project I am assigned to we have the need of a server portion and as we are doing much development targeting OSGi, there is a high degree of reuse possible. Further, Newton will enable us to concentrate on prodcuing POJOs as the framework takes care of the details related to lifecycle management and distribution. The latter is a very intersing aspect; one of the evaluation criterea is to see how this can be achieved on a single JVM (OSGi ) and across several JVMs (it makes use of JINI). There will be more posts on this matter when there is more to report.

Came across some new intersting inventions. I think it becomes increasingly difficult for science fiction writers as more and more of the "inventions" they have imagined has been realised, or is about to be eventually. Peter F. Hamilton, though, has come up with some very intersting things in his books, some which I believe has revitalised SF with some new concepts. Some of these are not that far fetcehd as can be believed, they should actually be feasible within not a too far away future. E.g. the "Expanding armour" described in the article referenced above comes quite close to what Mr. Hamilton has invented in some of his books (see "Fallen dragon" and the Confederation triology).

Well, speaking (writing) about things related to outer space; a UFO was sighted at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, or so it is said. Visitors or not, it seemingly hovered over the terminal building just to shoot off shortly there after. Could it be yet another climatologically change related phenomenon?