Inprise Conference 1998 in Denver

Conference report

I am back from my first Borland, oops Inprise, Conference. And it was great! I really had a great time in Mile High City Denver. I met a lot of nice people, and my pre-conference tutorial went fine.

Day 1 - Aug. 7

I left the Netherlands with nice sunny weather. My in between stop was in Detroit. And when our plane was fixed, I continued my journey to Denver. I arrived by shuttle bus at eleven o'clock in the evening at the Adam's Mark Hotel. Inprise already reserved and paid for my room, so I could almost immeditially go to bed.

Day 2 - Aug. 8

I was at the convention center, where the conference was held, at 7.30am. After my registration I browsed throught the conference schedule to see what sessions and tutorials to attend. I decided to join the pre-conference tutorial on JFC (Java Foundation Classes) in the morning, and the tutorial about the Inprise Application Server in the afternoon.

Application Programming with the JFC Component Set by John Zukowski
John explained what the JFC is, and how Swing is a subset of the JFC. Most of the Swing components were explained, with short code examples on the slides. It was a bit disappointing that John didn't use JBuilder for the examples, and how to use the components in JBuilder. Swing uses the Model/View/Controller (MVC) paradigm (just like the JBCL components from JBuilder). John explained clearly what MVC means, and showed some examples. John told a nice news fact: Java Software from Sun is still expanding the libary of Swing components. Currently they are developing:

I mean those are nice features to look out for (BTW: KL Group also got a Field component with some of this functionality). And finally John talked about the pluggable Look-and-Feel for Swing components. I learned that the Windows look-and-feel is only available on the Windows platform, and the soon to be released Mac look-and-feel, will only be available on the Mac platform, because of copyright reasons. This tutorial was very nice, and I learned some things more about the JFC.

Inprise Application Server
The Inprise Application Server was one of the new product announcements at this Inprise Conference. But before Del Yocam addressed this in his opening keynote speech, we could see the Application Server at work, at this pre-conference tutorial. The Application Server is a complete solutions for developing distributed applications, mostly based on CORBA, in the enterprise. Official definition:

Application Server is an integrated software development, deployment, and management system that enables the enterprise to achieve competitve advantage through the rapid creation, delivery and ongoing management of internet, web-based enterpise applications.

The three development environments JBuilder, Delphi, and C++ Builder can easily develop and deploy applications for the AppServer. The first environment that is able to do this is JBuilder for AppServer (or JBuilder Enterprise, according to the splash screen). And JBuilder for AppServer was used throughout the conference to demonstrate the AppServer possibilities. JBuilder for AppServer is cool stuff! JBuilder can take any IDL, or create one for you, even with database information like master-detail relations, and create server and client components from this IDL. We can choose if we want to generate just server components or both. If the server components should use BOA or a naming service. If we want to create a GUI Java client, or a HTML client, with servlets. We can choose if we want to generate all new files, or just the ones that were modified. The generated components for the GUI client are for the most part beans, and a project specific page is added to our component palette, with these beans on them. We can use the beans to make our own GUI, instead of the one generated by JBuilder (which is quit basic). And there are a lot more options available.

Day 3 - Aug. 9
This is my day, the day of my pre-conference tutorial. In the morning I attend the speaker briefing, because I missed the one on Friday. Christine Ellis gave a nice presentation about what to do and not to do, and our privileges as speaker at the conference.

In the afternoon it was time for pre-conference tutorial: Building Java Beans using JavaBeans Express. I thought it went rather well, and I hope the attended persons learned something.

Half an hour later it was time for the opening keynote speech. The opening movie showed how the Land of Bor, changed to Inprise. And the knights went on a quest for the powerful ORB. They killed the dragon of complexity and got hold of the ORB. In his speech Del focused on the enterprise and solutions Inprise offers for the enterprise.

Day 4 - Aug. 10

Product address: JBuilder

Delphi efficiency by Bob Swart
The room was packed by this session. Bob presented this session before, and it was a great presentation.

Developing Distributed Applications with JBuilder and CORBA by Randy Solton
The description of the session told us that in this session the CORBA integration between JBuilder 2 and VisiBroker was discussed and shown. But instead we got another session about JBuilder for AppServer. Nothing new compared to the pre-conference tutorial about the Application Server.

Introduction to JavaBeans by Bob Swart
During this session, a bug was found in the BeansExpress. It isn't possible to add a indexed property using the wizard, and if you change the name of one you created yourself, a lot of nice things will happen.

Technology keynote speech
During this keynote we got a preview at the new technologies that Inprise is developing. Inprise showed features of the new C++ Builder, MIDAS for JBuilder, JavaByte Code compiler in Delphi, Application Server Management tool, and more. You can look at the conference report of Bob, to see more.

Meet the Delphi team
The room was completely filled with people. After the introduction of the people, it was questioning time. The team answered questions from the crowd.

Meet the JBuilder team
The number of people at this session, was much less than at the Delphi Team session. This shows that Delphi is still the most used Borland product. But I think JBuilder will come around. The team answered questions from the audience. They announced that the team is working on a inline version of JBuilder, to solve some of the bugs.

Day 5 - Aug. 11

Enterprise JavaBeans by Bill Roth
Bill is from Java Software at Sun Microsystems. He give a theoretical introduction to Enterprise JavaBeans. After this background, somebody from Inprise, showed the support JBuilder has got, for developing Enterprise JavaBeans.

Performance Tuning Java Applications by Sergio Cardoso
We are always looking for ways to improve the performance of our applications, aren't we? This session showed as some insight in how the VM allocates memory, and how to improve this somehow. But this will not give your application a performance boost. The best result can be achieved by looking at used algorithms, and pin down the performance bottleneck in your program. The bottom line of the session was, that with the JDK 1.2 a lot of the performance issues will be solved, and you don't have to worry about them anymore. And when the HotSpot technology is released, the performance of our applications will be improved by a factor up to 2.

Distributing Applications using the Borland Java Deployment Server by Greg Cole
I have heard about the Deployment Server, but never used it, or actually seen it. And it is a really great product! Without all the restrictions of applets vs. applications, but with a central point of distribution for your applications, you can easily deploy applications. If the version of the application changes, the new version will automatically be downloaded to the client computer. And this will work for every Java application, so you don't have to use special classes, or build it in JBuilder. There are a lot of options you can give to an application you want to deploy. For example which JDK needs to be used, or is preferred. And if the client has got that version of the JDK already, the JDK isn't downloaded to the client. Greg also announced that a remote administration utility for the deployment server will be available in the future.

Day 6 - Aug. 12

Developiong Multilangual Applications with JBuilder by Wendy Lin
Java supports internationalization of your applications from JDK 1.1. And JBuilder can help you with this process of internationalization. First the Java specific topics like locales and resourcebundles were covered. After this the help JBuilder provides in the internationalization was shown with live examples and coding. And JBuilder provides a lot of help. For example right clicking on a property in the Object Inspector show a popup menu with the option to put the property in a resource file. This was a good session, and I want to look into this some more. (Expect an article on JBuilder Machine.)

Building JBuilder Development Environments Add-ins by Greg Cole
If you want to extend your JBuilder IDE, you can use the all Java Open Tool API for this. This API is still in beta, so it isn't a finished product. But the things you can do, are quite amazing. We can make our own Wizards, and by using the Open Tool API, we can integrate the wizard, in the JBuilder IDE. Greg also showed some nice files to look at, that can be changed without the need of the Open Tool API, but can extend your IDE as well. Some of the files worth looking at:

We couldn't attend the closing session, because our plane was leaving at three o'clock in the afternoon. But it was a great conference. And I hope to be at next conference in Philadelphi!

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