Posts Tagged ‘java’

ESRI ArcMap Web Mashup Services (Recap)

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

The Spring edition of ArcNews recaps some important ESRI announcements about version 9.3′s ability to create mashups on par with Google Maps that were announced at the 2008 ESRI Developer Summit. More than 1,200 developers representing 69 organizations in 49 countries attended the conference. Images and summaries below from ESRI. [ ] enclose my comments.

esri 2008 conf 1

“The ArcGIS 9.3 platform places a much greater emphasis on the Web,” said [Scott] Morehouse [director of Software Development at ESRI]. “The technology platform for GIS has evolved over the years. Initially, the focus was on leveraging minicomputers and workstations with an emphasis on high-performance computing and end-user interactivity. Then, the focus shifted to the database with an emphasis on information modeling and transactional data management. Now, the focus is on the Web. We have been working to put the Web at the center of everything that we’re doing with the ArcGIS system.”

JavaScript and REST APIs

The new APIs were showcased at the Plenary Session and in technical sessions presented by the ArcGIS engineers who developed them. In the REST API session, there were demonstrations of how to use JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and Yahoo! Pipes to access backend REST services powered and published by ArcGIS Server. All resources and operations exposed by the REST API are accessible through a URL.

In the ArcGIS JavaScript APIs session, there were demonstrations on how mashups can be built using JavaScript with REST that add map layers and tasks from ArcGIS Server to Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth. The JavaScript API comes in three flavors: ArcGIS JavaScript API, ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Microsoft Virtual Earth, and ArcGIS JavaScript Extension for Google Maps. [A Flash based API is also planned].

ArcGIS Server 9.3 Offers New and Enhanced Support for OGC Standards

At 9.3, ArcGIS Server provides enhanced support for the three leading Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web standards: Web Map Service (WMS), Web Feature Service (WFS), and Web Coverage Service (WCS). In addition, with the recent announcement from OGC that Keyhole Markup Language (KML) 2.2 is now an official OGC standard, ArcGIS Server at 9.3 will comply with the OGC KML specification by allowing users to publish their geographic data as KML 2.2. Read more.

esri 2008 conf 3

New Features in ArcGIS Engine 9.3 Coming Soon

ArcGIS Engine developers can also now use the integrated Eclipse 3.3 plug-in to inspect the state of ArcObjects. In addition, ArcGIS Engine 9.3 supports the Java Development Kit version 6 on the latest platforms. Read more.

Wordle – Beautiful Tag Clouds

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

wordle example 2

From the official website:

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

[Editor’s note: This awesome tool from Jonathan Feinberg, a researcher at IBM, displays tag clouds the “right” way by packing the words into the interstitial space between tags and rotating tags from the horizontal baseline. Johnathan uses simple bounding box logic to accomplish this. I will look into adding this to my Adobe Illustrator script (and perhaps bound the tags into a user-defined shape like a heart for Valentine’s day).

If you look at the HTML tag cloud that is generated for my blog at the right sidebar you’ll see a bunch of text on the same horizontal baselines. That type of tag cloud wastes a lot of space by not packing the words closer together. If there is a big word with small words on 1 line, there is a lot of wasted white space around the smaller words on that line. Fast but not pretty. And only horizontal. Up until now packed tag clouds have taken tedious hand-placement by an artist.

Now Wordle, a web Java applet will do that for you. The tag clouds can be saved as vector PDF by printing to that format in your web browser. This will generate a vector-outlined version of the tags (outlined fonts, not editable type) and in rich-black RGB color space so make sure to convert and clean-up in CMYK before publishing! There is no restriction on publishing the tag clouds for profit or otherwise. Seen on infosthetics.com.]

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

Monday, May 12th, 2008

AppleInsider.com’s Prince McLean produced a three part series earlier this month on the Flash Wars.

Direct links to Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

(Reprinted from AppleInsider) 

Pitted against Microsoft’s efforts to crush Flash using its own copycat Silverlight platform, open source projects seeking to duplicate Flash for free, and Apple’s efforts to create a mobile platform wholly free of any trace of Flash, Adobe has scrambled to announce efforts to make Flash a public specification in the Open Screen Project.

Will it help get Flash on the iPhone? Here’s the first segment of a three part series with a historical overview of the wars between Flash and Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, Google, and the open source community, the problems Flash faces today, and what future Flash can hope for as an open specification.

A Brief History of Flash

Flash originated at FutureWave Software as SmartSketch, an innovative drawing tool. In 1995, the software was repositioned as FutureSplash Animator, with support for cell based animation. It was pitched as a way to quickly draw and animate vector-based graphics for efficient delivery over the web, as a direct challenge to Macromedia’s heavier and more complex Authorware and its Director-created Shockwave content.

FutureWave pitched the product to Adobe, but it was Macromedia that bought it in 1996, hoping to integrate it as an approachable, entry level member of its content production tools as the company’s business was rapidly pushed from CD-ROM oriented products to the web. Macromedia abbreviated the name from FutureSplash to Flash.

It turned out that the easy to use Flash rapidly sidelined Macromedia’s existing Authorware and Shockwave. Flash made it easy for designers to create interactive content with only minimal development knowledge. The real break for Flash came when Macromedia lined up a bundling agreement with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5, which resulted in the Flash player software being widely distributed.

While Microsoft embraced Flash, it actively worked in parallel to stop Sun’s Java and Netscape’s web browser as threats to Windows. Microsoft’s efforts to sideline Java into a Windows programming language and its strategy to embrace and extend standards-based, platform agnostic HTML into web pages that only worked in Internet Explorer gave Macromedia’s Flash fertile ground to grow as a quick and simple alternative to the more complex and resource intensive Java as a way to create simple, interactive applets on the web.

Adobe Hates, Then Buys Flash

Adobe purchased Macromedia in 2005 largely to obtain Flash, the crown jewel of Macromedia’s web development tool assets. Prior to owning it, Adobe unsuccessfully worked hard to kill it as a competing product.

In 1998, when Macromedia and Microsoft submitted VML to the W3C as a potential web standard for vector graphics (based on Microsoft’s RTF), Adobe teamed up with Sun to push the rival PGML specification (based on Adobe’s PostScript). The W3C developed a new standard that drew from both, called SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Adobe pushed SVG as a competitor to Flash right up until it bought Flash, distributing the Adobe SVG Player as a free web plugin. Microsoft continued to push its own VML, which it built into Internet Explorer. This prevented either VML or SVG from making much progress, as other browsers didn’t support VML, while the SVG open standard saw little adoption given Adobe’s weak presence in web development tools. That let Flash easily win out over both as the way to develop and present animated vector graphics on the web.

Flash continued to develop at Macromedia, gaining a scripting language based on JavaScript and other features that turned it into a full presentation development tool rather than just a way to distribute small interactive graphics. Macromedia even took swipes back at Adobe, introducing FlashPaper as an alternative to Adobe’s PDF as a way to distribute electronic documents in the Flash format.

After buying Flash, Adobe gave up support for its own weak SVG Player rival and has apparently discarded FlashPaper as a PDF competitor. However, the rest of the industry has plenty of reasons to still hate Flash, as will be presented in part two: The Many Enemies and Obstacles of Flash.

Continue reading on AppleInsider.com . . .