J2MeMap update

It’s not because you do not see anything you about J2MEMap that the product is not progressing. I will release shortly a beta of next version of J2meMap. In the meantime, I suggest that you download latest version (0.809) who correct some bugs:

  • MSN Virtueal Earth now back!
  • A few caching memory management issues

So what will contains the new version? A lot of focus on “track” management, I will describe this later on on a more detailled post.

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Web2.0:back to the roots

Google just released
recently his “Google Web Toolkit”:

Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a Java development framework that lets you escape the matrix of technologies that make writing AJAX applications so difficult and error prone. With GWT, you can develop and debug AJAX applications in the Java language using the Java development tools of your choice. When you deploy your application to production, the GWT compiler to translate your Java application to browser-compliant JavaScript and HTML.

So basically, it’s a toolkit that can be used to write Web2.0 application in
Java, and then translate it into some JavaScript+librairies.
It’s quite nice, writing client web applications in Java that execute in a
browser..Hey, but stop, this reminds me something: yes, the applet, and these
small pieces of Java running in a Web Browser? Yes, sounds very similar,
however, the Applet failed in their objective to be the technology for browser
application. Maybe it was too early and browser / pc capacity were not ready,
but also it suffered from a lack of interaction with the rest of the browsing
experience, while this is much better with Ajax2.0 app.
But basically, were are here: JavaScript/Ajax was just a technical way to solve
previous issue. Honestly, result is great from the end user point of view, but it’s
horrible from the engineering point of view. Writing complex Web2.0 app is a
nightmare, with a lot of different layers (Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Sql, HTML,
XML, etc…), translators, etc…

May be a message for the mobile community, could be also to learn from our
previous mistake, and make what was initially planned for web happened on
mobile: rich client app that can be downloaded and run within a browser, and
avoid this complex multiple layers.

We already have the technologies available on mobile (XML, J2ME, SVG, etc…)
we just need to tight them together in the right way.
I hope that this ideal scenario will happens (through JCP? 3GPP?) but I am
afraid that once again, the fight between standards, companies, etc… will
lead to a situation where nothing will really emerge, and we will leave again
in a world of translators, layers, and complexity…

Cool feature of map.ask.com

map.Ask.com provide a service similar to Google Local/Map. At a first view, nothing really new. But what I really like is the “add location” feature. Just click on a point in the map, and this will put a marker on the map, with the street location on it. Technically speaking, this is reverse geocoding, but it’s not provided by Google. If you put more point, then ask.com compute the direction between these two point. You can even move the point by dragging them, and the direction is recomputed in real time. No more that what a navigation system does, but for the first time avail from the web!

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The rise of Vector Graphic

One obvious and interesting trend in mobile is the rise of vector based graphics and MMI. All new mobile graphic engines are more or less vector based, much more than 3D based. Of course, a 3D engine is also a vector graphic engine, but there are some fundamental differences between the two, much more at the creation level then at the rendering level. Interestingly, on the desktop, UI did not changed a lot since years and does not use a lot animations. Even if more and more desktop rendering engine are vector based or even 3D based, the display itself does not take really advantage of this: no animation, etc…

So why vector graphics are so adapted for mobile:

  • in a limited space, animation is a way to provide a much better feedback to
    the user (compared to stand alone graphs)
  • there is no “standard” UI for mobile yet (even if there are some
    emerging trends). The learning curve of something new is very fast compared to
    desktop, so you have the ability to explore new metaphore.
  • vector graphic is an easy way to solve the screen size and cross platform
  • tools are adapted for UI designer (Flash for instance).
  • size: vector based animation haves usually a much smaller size…

Several companies are investing the space right now. Of course, Macromedia/Flash should be one of the early winner on this path. However, as I’ve put more effort in the past weeks on Flash, I can tell you that but Java not so far away, thanks to TSVG and JSR226. On the browser side, seems that the path is still a little bit long, as we are still waiting for good browser (Opera is a good starting point).

I’ve just make a short “list” of companies related to this area:

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