Sunday, 24 May 2009

What is Java CAPS?

CAPS stands for "Composite Application Platform Suite" and is a Sun Microsystems toolkit that facilitates Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) approach.

© Copyright Sun Microsystems

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

Internet Explorer (IE) accelerator for Google Calendar

Accelerators are a nice new feature in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). You can highlight text, click on the accelerator icon and the text gets sent as a parameter (GET or POST) to an Internet-based application. It can be used for example to send the contents of a webpage to Windows Live Mail, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, look up a word in Encarta, Wikipedia or, add a bookmark to Facebook,, Digg or Reddit, look-up a street address on Windows Live Map, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps or MapQuest, translate a word on Windows Live Translation, AltaVista’s Babel Fish or Google Translation etc.

I was looking for an accelerator for Google Calendar but couldn't seem to find one so I created my own.

It is surprinsingly easy to create an accelerator. All you need is to host an XML file on a publicly accessible website:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<os:name>Google Calendar</os:name>
<os:description>Add to Google Calendar</os:description>
<os:activity category="Add">
<os:activityAction context="selection">
<os:execute action="" method="get">
<os:parameter name="action" value="TEMPLATE" type="text" />
<os:parameter name="text" value="{documentTitle}" type="text" />
<os:parameter name="dates" value="{selection}/{selection}" type="text" />

and create a button linking to the XML file:

<button id="myButton" onclick="window.external.AddService('')">Add Google Calendar Accelerator</button>

As dates can come in several formats I have used a website I own to do the date parsing: (the parsing is done using the PHP language). Once the date has been parsed and transformed into a Google Calendar compatible date (yyyymmdd e.g. 20091231) it is then automatically forwarded to Google Calendar.

Why not try it out and tell me what you think of it:

Of course you need a Google Calendar account for it to work.

At the moment the following date formats are supported:
  • yyyymmdd (e.g. 20091231)
  • (e.g. 31.12.2009)
  • (e.g. 31.12.09)
  • dd/mm/yyyy (e.g. 31/12/2009)
  • dd/mm/yy (e.g. 31/12/09)
  • dd-mm-yyyy (e.g. 31-12-2009)
  • dd-mm-yy (e.g. 31-12-09)
  • (d)d month yyyy (e.g. 31 december 2009)
If you want me to add a new date format (or if you have a problem) simply add a comment and I will see what I can do.

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Sunday, 3 May 2009

JavaFX: "Nice features but still needs improvement"

There is a lot of hype around JavaFX, clearly Sun Microsystems are very proud of their new product. For the people who haven't yet heard about it, JavaFX is a new Software Platform that enables Java developers to create Rich Internet Applications (RIA), similar to what Adobe's Flash does. It's capacity to create pretty applications on mobile devices makes it an interesting tool for the future.
I asked a Software Engineer who has already used JavaFX quite extensively what he thought of it. His answer was that it is already possible to do some nice things with JavaFX (mostly on JavaSE) but that there are still a lot of problems.
JavaFX Problems and Weaknesses:
  • Lack of features (widgets, layout managers, codecs)
  • Too many bugs
  • No hardware available yet for JavaFX Mobile (despite Sun signing deals with Sony Ericsson and LG)
  • Performance problems
JavaFX 1.2 should soon be made available to developers and should already contain some new widgets, fixes for bugs and improvements in performance...seems like things are getting better, rapidly...

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