In this appendix, I'll take you around the world and introduce you to the growing base of information available.
Netscape also has its own Development Partners Program, providing subscribers with extended technical and programming support, information on upcoming products, extensions and plug-ins, and access to pre-beta releases of new browser, server, and plug-in technology.
To support its endeavors to integrate Java development into Latte, Borland's host site for Java development promises to keep Java developers informed.
Symantec led the pack when it came to providing a development platform for Java applet creation. With Café, the first publicly available Java development add-on to their popular C++ package, Symantec provided the Web community with the first GUI-based development environment for applet creation.
Dimension X is the home of Liquid Reality, a Java applet development platform that merges the capabilities of a 3-D modeling package with a Java app builder.
Sponsored by Digital Focus, the Java Developer serves as the home site for The Java Developer FAQ and one of the more interesting implementations of frames to present search and question submission buttons as you browse the site.
The place where it all started, Sun hosts the Java home site. Additionally, Sun maintains the Java Users Group (a subgroup inside the Sun Users Group) and several mailing and notification lists to keep developers informed of the latest events.
Dedicated to discussion about Sun's HotJava browser (a Java browser written in Java), comp.lang.hotjava deals with problems that people are encountering with HotJava.
The traditional collection of newsgroups for WWW-oriented discussion has been comp.infosystems.www. As the Web has expanded, so have they, covering everything from browsers to announcements of newly opened Web sites.
For those who prefer the thrill of receiving tons of e-mail, there
similar information to that found in UseNet newsgroups. Keep in
mind, however, that mailing lists are a lot like a party line
and can get rather chatty (the downside being you have to wade
through all the flotsam in your inbox to figure out what you can
use). If you plan to use mailing lists heavily, you might want
to look into an e-mail program that supports threading: the linking
together of messages that share the same subject. (It really helps
organize the flood of information.)
Although you post your questions and comments to the address of the list (for broadcast to the rest of the list's readers), subscribing to and unsubscribing from the list are done through a separate e-mail address, specifically the address of the listserver.
The lists discussed in this section mention both the list address and the listserver address, and sending subscribe requests to the list address (so everyone on the list knows you don't know what you're doing) is a guaranteed way to get branded a newbie.
If you want more information on how to communicate with the listserver (or on other lists a particular server might have), you can send a message to the listserver address with "help" in the message body.
A companion newsletter that parallels the activity on Borland's JavaWorld site, the Borland Java newsletter keeps you informed about Borland's work on integrating Java technology into their development tools. To subscribe, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with subscribe java [your first name] [your last name] in the message body.
Sun Microsystems, the home of Java, has its own collection of mailing lists. The java-announce list is primarily for notifications of new Java-related tools. To subscribe, send a message to email@example.com with subscribe java-announce in the message body.
Yahoo! is short for "You Always Have Other Options," and although this is most definitely true on the Net, you'd be hard pressed to find other search engines as broad.
Supported by America Online, WebCrawler is a broad-spectrum search system that's fast (one of the fastest reply systems on the Net).
The Consummate Winsock Software (CWS) list is just as the name implies: a very complete collection of the best, the latest, the greatest, and the not so great. Combining a five-star rating system and a thorough collection of product reviews (including both pro and con analysis of all products), CWS is an excellent place to keep up with what's new and different.
The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software (hence the acronym), TUCOWS rivals CWS for its completeness and variety in content. There is naturally some duplication between the two sites (the most popular pieces on the Net are found at both), but one complements the other quite nicely. (For the broadest picture of what's available, it's worth stopping by both.)
Similar to CWS, TUCOWS has a "cow" rating system, which highlights hot, "get it" titles.
What started as the Virtual Shareware Library (VSL), this site has been taken over by c|net central, an online/on-TV source for the latest breaking information on Internet technology. Although it doesn't attempt to rate software, it does provide a "top downloads" list to indicate what Netizens have deemed the hot products of the moment.
Unlike CWS and TUCOWS, which link one product to one download link, shareware.com's download section presents a list of sites (rated by reliability) around the world from which you can retrieve a particular file.
Navigator 2.0 supports live objects (something embedded in an HTML file that is more than text or a simple graphic). Live objects extend the capabilities of the Web to encompass the world of multimedia, complete with sound, animation, and user interaction. Before live objects, non-HTML content (such as QuickTime movie files) that was embedded in a document had to be viewed through a helper app, an external program that was run once the object had been downloaded (producing an interface that was anything but seamless). With live objects, you can directly embed movies, sound, spreadsheets, and so on, into your Web pages.
Displaying live objects is handled by an extension to Navigator that's "plugged in to" the browser's framework (hence the term plug-ins). If you're familiar with the concept of object linking and embedding (OLE), you've already experienced the power of live objects (which can be thought of as OLE for the Web). Live object (plug-in) technology makes it possible for software publishers to take their own file formats and provide the means to integrate the formats directly into the browser interface.
The following plug-ins are just a few of those that are already available (or in development) for Navigator. For the most current list of plug-ins (and the companies developing them), check out Netscape's home page at http://home.netscape.com/.
Macromedia Director is one of the most popular multimedia development environments available. The Shockwave plug-in enables developers to take their Director programs and "shock" them into compressed modules for transmission over the Web and playback through Navigator. Shockwave provides all the control a stand-alone Director program does and adds the capability to create live links to other Web sites inside the module.
Macromedia also maintains a gallery of shocked sites, providing a starting point for those interested in surfing the "shock wave."
Progressive Networks RealAudio plug-in integrates live and on-demand real-time audio into Web content. If your Web server is also running the RealAudio server, you can "stream" audio to users (enabling them to listen to the sound files before they have been completely downloaded). Users connected at 14.4kbps or faster experience real-time sound.
Originally developed as WebFX by Paper Software, Live3D is a high-performance VRML platform that enables you to fly through VRML worlds on the Web and run interactive, multiuser VRML applications written in Java. Netscape Live3D features 3-D text, background images, texture animation, morphing, viewpoints, collision detection, gravity, and RealAudio streaming sound.
What RealAudio does for general audio, ToolVox does for integrating speech into the Web. Because it's possible to compress speech to a greater extent than music (with little or no loss in quality), ToolVox can create very small sound files (with a compression ratio of 53:1).
OLE technology allows for objects to be embedded into other documents. NCompass has brought that same technology to the Web with their OLE control. This plug-in, running under Windows 95, enables you to embed OLE controls as applets created using programming languages and development tools familiar to programmers: Visual C++, Visual Basic, the MS Windows Game SDK, and Borland C++, to name a few.
Although RealAudio and ToolVox provide seamless integration of sound into Web content, PreVU makes it possible to stream MPEG video through Navigator. The PreVU plug-in makes MPEG playback possible without the need for special hardware or proprietary video servers. PreVU provides for first-frame viewing right in the Web page, streaming viewing while downloading, and full-speed cached playback off your hard drive.
Another entry into the "Web video on demand" segment, VDOLive compresses video images without compromising quality on the receiving end. The frame rate displayed to the user is controlled by the speed of the connection. (With a 28.8kbps connection, VDOLive runs in real time at 10 to 15 frames per second.)
ViewMovie allows for the embedding of QuickTime movie files in Web pages (enabling playback of videos without an external helper application). Embedded movies can also be used as link anchors and imagemaps.
Because the vast majority of users on the Internet are connecting with Windows or UNIX machines, the bulk of the resources (especially the plug-ins) detailed in the preceding sections are for UNIX or Windows platforms, leaving Macintosh users out in the cold (a point that is periodically brought up in the online discussions about whose system is better). Such companies as Symantec are scheduled to provide Mac versions of their Java frameworks, but they aren't available yet. There are, however, several resources for Mac users that are well worth checking out.
Although the Macintosh version of Netscape Navigator 2.0 does
advantage of Java technology, you'll need to stop by Netscape's
home site (http://home.netscape.com/) and download a copy
of the beta release of Navigator 2.01.
If you are a PowerPC user (or anyone else who's using Apple's Open Transport layer to handle your PPP connections), you must stop by Apple's home site (http://www.apple.com/) and download and install System 7.5 Update 2.0 (also called System 7.5.3). Navigator 2.01 is built around Open Transport 1.1, which is available only with Update 2.0.
While Symantec's Café development platform for Windows 95 and Windows NT has become available through normal retail channels, the Macintosh version isn't out yet. However, Mac developers can get a free copy of Caffeine from Symantec's home site which adds Java applet development to the Macintosh version of the Symantec C++ compiler. You must already have Symantec C++ v8.0.4 in order to use this add-on.
Talker is the Macintosh platform answer to ToolVox and integrates into the speech subsystem of the Mac OS. As with ToolVox, Talker objects are significantly smaller than recorded audio files. Unlike audio recorders, Talker "speaks" from a script file (making editing a breeze). Talker also enables Web pages to talk using many different voices (as chosen by the user).
For Java applet developers, Roaster is the first Mac development environment that provides a GUI platform for the creation of Java applets.
CodeWarrior is the most popular C++ development platform for Macintosh and PowerPC developers today, and Metrowerks is working on making a Java development add-on available.