The state of client-side Java HTML rendering

I don't know if this thing is still read by people. In any case, I need a solution for HTML rendering in Java desktop application. Currently, my application uses NetClue, but the company seems to be defunct. Well, NetClue has always been a bit flaky when it comes to in-the-wild-HTML, but it wasn't that much of a problem as we control the HTML generation.

But now the application needs to consume "third-party generated" HTML code too. And NetClue tends to stall the whole application when it encounters HTML it doesn't like.

So I'm looking for alternatives, pure Java ones preferred. What HTML renderes are available and what are the licensing options?

Wed, 02 Aug 2006, 23:07 | Java | PermaLink

What were they thinking?

Last week I had the joy of setting up email using Exim on a new Debian box. Usually you find the configuration in /etc/exim4/exim4.conf or a similar location. But Debian does it differently. To quote the Exim faqs:

The Debian Exim 4 package uses a quite uncommon, but elegant, method of configuration where the “real” Exim configuration file is assembled from a tree of snippets by a script invoked just before the daemon is started.

Stuff like that makes me sick. Why on Earth can't they do it as everybody does? Screw elegance, I want it easy. Not only does it Debian differently, they also chose to document it poorly. Eventually, you'll find everything in /usr/share/doc/exim4/README.Debian.gz, but this file is a disorganized pile of I-don't-know-what. I wasted 4 hours with this crap.

All I wanted was having emails delivered.

Sun, 29 Jan 2006, 09:15 | Technology | PermaLink

DOCX vs. DOC or: Proprietary XML Formats vs. Proprietary Binary Formats

In the comments to my last post, Charles asked why a proprietary XML format was better than a proprietary binary format. Well, my point wasn't that it is; my point was that OpenDocument isn't useless, which Dave Winer claimed it is.

But: I prefer the XML based Office 12 formats to the old DOC/XLS/PPT formats. Even if they are still proprietary. Here is why:

That said, I still prefer OpenDocument, but I also have to consider the market realities.

Sat, 22 Oct 2005, 22:51 | Technology | PermaLink

About the Uselessness of OpenDocument

OpenDocument is a waste of time and money. At least if you believe Dave Winer, who wrote about Microsoft's new XML-based file format for Word:

One would think that [the new format] would spawn an explosion of new products designed to please Office users but that's not what's happening. A group of large technology companies is proposing a competing set of formats, and has formed an alliance to confuse the market, and at least double the work of any developer who might want to support their products (with almost no installed base) alongside Microsoft's (with a monopolistic dominant installed base).

Unfortunately, Dave got the facts wrong. According to Wikipedia, the standardization of OpenDocument at OASIS started in 2002. It was decided to build on an earlier version of the format, which was already in XML and had been in use since 2000.

At this time, nobody at Microsoft talked about the XMLification of the DOC format. So one could argue that's file format together with the standardization process at OASIS actually forced Microsoft to develop the XML-based file format we'll see in Office 12.

Who knows, maybe that's OpenDocument's only success. In any case, it is not a waste of time or money.

Thu, 20 Oct 2005, 22:40 | Technology | PermaLink

What's up with hard drives these days?

A little bit more than a year ago, my hard drive died. It was a rather unpleasant experience, I lost a lot of important data. I bought a new drive, set up the computer again, and went on with life. Five days ago, this drive died as well. I had current backups so it wasn't a disaster, but I can't help but wonder about the quality of drives manufactured by IBM and Hitachi.

I decided to dump IBM/Hitachi -- the new drive is the MK8032GAX from Toshiba. My only hope is that it lasts longer than the old one.

Wed, 19 Oct 2005, 20:51 | Technology | PermaLink

History Repeating

It's said that history doesn't repeat itself.  Back in 1997 I went to a show that I consider to be the best rock show I've ever been to: Social Distortion played Berlin's SO36 supported by the then young and unknown Backyard Babies.  Unfortunately, Social D haven't been to Europe since then, so that show was the first and last time I've seen them live.

This will change! Tonight, Social D play Berlin, again supported by the Backyard Babies.

We sold the kids to the grandparents and plan to have a great night. I dearly hope that this time history repeats itself -- hopefully neither as tragedy nor farce.

Sat, 13 Aug 2005, 22:50 | Music | PermaLink

Kitikat: Why Should I Use It?

I found the Kitikat framework via Erik's linkblog. "Funny name, let's check It out" I thought. The problem is: I studied the whole web site and I still don't know what this thing is about. It states

The Kitikat Java Framework is a powerful but simple Datastore processing framework.

A Datastore represents an in-memory copy of data. A program may retrieve the data from a data source, such as a relational database, manipulate the data and then propagate the updates of the data back to the original data source or to a different data source. Once the data is retrieved, it is a disconnected, data source independent version of the data. A change history of the data is maintained to provide dynamic updates to a data source and there are several levels of concurrency control provided for multi-user environments.

It goes on with a list of features, supported application servers and a quick start guide.

The most important thing this web sites lacks is the answers to questions such as

I'm pretty sure the developers of Kitikat know the answers. They must have thought of typical use cases and applications. It's a shame that the web site doesn't communicate it.

I don't want to pick specifically on the Kitikat guys. It's just that I read the blurb on the front page, scanned the documentation and went "Huh?". I'd really like to know what I could do with it.

Wed, 10 Aug 2005, 21:25 | Java | PermaLink

Green Day Takes Early Records From Lookout Records

Wow, this is big news in punk rock land: Green Day pull their early two records from Lookout Records. In response, the label lays off 6 of it's nine employees. Lookout used to be a huge independent label and was responsible for the pop punk explosion in the mid-Nineties.

Apparently, Lookout hasn't been paying Green Day for ages. Given the fact that the early Green Day records were Lookout's cash cows, this is incredibly stupid. Of all artists on Lookout's rooster, Green Day should have been the ones who always receive payments on time. But they did not. After years of not being paid, it seems that Green Day felt they had to do something about it.

This is not about money. In an interview with Green Day, I read that their major label debut Dookie  sold more than 30 million units. These guys are multi millionaires, they don't need the money.  In fact, according to MTV, Green Day did not file legal actions against Lookout to recoup the payments. They only took control of the CD masters.

One can only wonder what the management of Lookout was thinking. You can't run a business by not paying artists and using the money for funding the operation and new releases that nobody buys. The label published an open letter, but it still leaves me with questions.

What really makes me mad is this: Lookout is the home of MTX, one of my favorite bands. I guess the plans to release a new CD together with a greatest hits record in 2006  just got scrapped. Damn.

Sat, 06 Aug 2005, 14:10 | Music | PermaLink

The History of Ant

Conor gives a fascinating summary of the development of Ant. I found the bits about Ant2 particularly interesting. Devoted followers of ant-dev might already know that several efforts competed to become Ant2. All of them have died.

Instead, the developers decided to evolutionary improve Ant 1.x.

Good read.

Fri, 05 Aug 2005, 00:11 | Java | PermaLink

The Best Way to Add a Context Menu to Text Components

There's an excellent discussion over at Javalobby on how to add context menus to text components in Swing. In Windows, textfields have a context menu with entries suchs as cut, copy, and paste,  which is not available in Swing's Windows look and feel.

Surprisingly enough, the discussion is pretty civilised and lacks the typical "Sun will never get native fidelity right" and "Stuff like that makes my Swing application look unprofessional" posts.

Fri, 29 Jul 2005, 23:44 | Java | PermaLink