Friday, February 29, 2008

Stellarium For Java Alpha release!

After a lot of ups and downs, we (Jerome Beau and myself) are really happy to release an alpha version of Stellarium For Java (S4J in short).
This project is a migration of the very successful C++ project Stellarium created by Fabien Chereau.
For the record, I really like this C++ version but I am missing a lot of features:
  1. Ability to add stars catalogs like in Celestia
  2. Loading data on demand from the web instead of the resources in the installation
  3. Resizable window (I have a Widescreen and need to play with config file)
So, as a open source minded guy, I looked inside the code... And I got flashbacks! I found myself, back in time, when I was doing C++ for Video servers, and MFC applications.
I laughed, and then tried to find a Java version of any Astronomy software. I found Stellarium4Java.
The project had started a year before with Jerome and Arnaud Barre. At the time, it was in the middle of the pure code migration from Stellarium C++ to Java.
It looked like a small decision at the time, so I joined the project! Today I can say: It took time and energy to get were we are today.
But, thanks to the great work of the JOGL team in Sun, and all the Java open source projects, here or here is the alpha version loading with Web Start. I'm still working on the web distribution of resources, so for the moment you will have to wait for 13Mo of download :(
There is a Wiki page on jfrog with the jnlp links (they are still a moving target ;-) and the bug report access (be nice it's still alpha:-).
The most interesting part is that we got selected for a presentation at JavaOne this year to present this application. We will show how Java and the open source projects really helped us doing this, and what features we got for free from Java!

Side note: This project makes me love Java, every time I'm freeing myself for it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Closure Campaign 2008

After many discussion, it is election time (year) for closure.
I voted for the readable, easy to grasp, and "almost" complete implementation of closure: FCM.
The posts of Stephen on the differences are very instructive:
  1. Closures - Comparing the core of BGGA, CICE and FCM

  2. Closures - Comparing control structures of BGGA, ARM and JCA

  3. Closures - Comparing closure type inference

I hope this vote will have an influence on the JCP...