January 17, 2002
Wireless Java Opens the Door for New Handheld Applications: O'Reilly's "Learning Wireless Java" Brings Developers Up to Speed
Sebastopol, CA--Although it may seem as if Java programmers are trying
to take over the world, the truth is that Java's versatility leads it
naturally into new frontiers of technology where, rather than
encroaching on the turf of existing technologies, Java has a way of
complementing them. Now that Java has come to the wireless arena with
the advent of the Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (J2ME) from Sun
Microsystems, the possibilities for new wireless applications and
over-the-air distribution models for handheld devices are beckoning to
Java by Qusay H. Mahmoud
(O'Reilly, US $34.95) was written to bring these programmers up to
speed with wireless Java as quickly as possible.
"Wireless Java can be used to develop any kind of application you can
think of," says Mahmoud, "including financial, such as mobile commerce,
games, healthcare applications, and others." Organizations will see the
benefit of wireless applications when their employees can access
critical business information efficiently from anywhere they go.
Mahmoud, who has written dozens of articles and tutorials on developing
wireless applications, contends that the next big shakeup in the
technology industry is wireless, and wireless Java will play an
important role in it.
According to Mahmoud, there are numerous advantages to using Java for
wireless devices, including the dynamic download of applications that
will run even when the device (say, a cell phone) is disconnected from
the wireless network or out of the coverage area. A second advantage is
that wireless Java provides support for disconnected operations. And,
true to Java in general, wireless Java applications are
platform-independent: they run on all wireless Java-enabled devices in
the same manner.
"The wireless applications we see now are mainly written using the
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). One major difference between WAP
and Wireless Java is the interaction model," Mahmoud explains. "The
Wireless Markup Language (WML) provides the tags and the possible
presentation attributes, but it doesn't define an interaction model.
For example, WML defines a SELECT element for providing a list. Some
WAP-enabled devices interpret the SLECT tag as a popup menu list while
others interpret it as a menu that can be used for navigation.
Therefore, there is no standard interaction model defined for this
element. If a developer uses it, the application may run well on some
devices and poorly on others. Wireless Java applications, on the other
hand, provide a clearly defined standard for interaction, using
commands that are mapped to soft buttons."
In Learning Wireless Java, Mahmoud introduces the Connected Limited
Device configuration (CLDC) and the Mobile Information Device Profile
(MIDP) for developing wireless applications, as well as tips and tricks
for using Sun Microsystems' lightweight K Virtual machine (KVM). He
leads developers through the basics of MIDlet programming, and explains
how to use the General Connection Framework for networking support, the
high-level and low-level graphical APIs, and the J2ME record management
system for persistent storage.
Learning Wireless Java is designed to serve as a quick guide and
reference for programmers who are familiar with the Java 2 Standard
Edition (J2SE) and are interested in developing wireless software
applications. It assumes that the reader is familiar with Java
programming and has worked with the J2SE classes. Discussion centers on
building safe, compact applications with the graphical interface,
database, and networking capabilities that the J2ME supports. In
addition, this book also shows how to download applications to the
latest J2ME-enabled devices, including the Motorola i50x and i85s
phones and upgraded Palm handhelds.
By Qusay H. Mahmoud
245 pages, $34.95 (US), $52.95 (CAN)
O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
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