Zip File Format
So what does zip file format have to do with Java? It turns out that the Java archive format is the same as zip. A java compiler or JVM must be able to read files in this format. Fortunately for the implementer there are a number of sources for unzip (e.g., code to unpack zip or jar archives) in the public domain.
The http://www.info-zip.org site also contains the zlib compression library, described as
A Massively Spiffy Yet Delicately Unobtrusive Compression Library (Also Free, Not to Mention Unencumbered by Patents) (Not Related to the Linux zlibc Compressing File-I/O Library)
Apparently zlib was used by JavaSoft, in implementing some of the Jar software (or at least it served as the source for the Java version). Zlip is perferable for the tool developer because it contains the unzip code without the interface code that is included in Info-zip. The library comes with a pretty nice manual
I was looking at a book Black-Scholes and Beyond: Option Pricing Models, by Neil A. Chriss. This looks like an excellent book on pricing and estimating the risk of stock and other market options. The math used in this book requires at most basic calculus, so it is within my modest mathematical abilities. But to really understand a book like this one has to work through the equations. What better way to do this than by implementing them in Java with a graphing package? So I looked around for such a package and found Leigh Brookshaw's. This package is reasonably well documented and looks like it will handle most basic 2D graphing tasks.
Random Java Language Issues
Jamie Zawinski's essay Java Sucks. Jamie writes "I think Java is the best language going today, which is to say, it's the marginally acceptable one among the set of complete bagbiting loser languages that we have to work with out here in the real world." But, Java has its problems, some of which he describes in this essay. He and I both agree that Java would have been much more widely used if native compilers were commonly available.
BEA aims to broaden its developer pool By Wylie Wong, news.com, February 25, 2002
This is an interesting article on BEA Systems effort to expand their software offerings by providing Java development tools modeled after Microsoft's Visual Basic, which has been reasonably successful in allowing people who are not software engineers to develop simple applications. Where Visual Basic is targeted at the Windows platform, the BEA Systems development tools are targeted at the BEA Java application server.
Ian Kaplan, February 12, 2000
Updated: September 17, 2000