SCOUG OS/2 For You - January 1998
SCOUG 1998: The Year In Preview
Thoughts for the New Year
by Dave Watson and Rollin White for the Board of Directors
Why are we here? Ever wonder? Like the guru on the mountain top in the cartoon tells the supplicant - go to Yahoo and search on "truth" and "wisdom." Or maybe we have some new ideas yet unhatched. The Board is considering our objectives for the coming year. It's a New Year thing, right? Introspection, reflection and all of that could be healthy. Or it could be essential to maintain the vitality and productivity that have marked our many successes in the past.
Historically, SCOUG has served two purposes - to spread the word about OS/2 and to educate its members. Both of these goals could change in major ways through 1998. For example, what are your thoughts about Warpstock 98? Was it beneficial for SCOUG to host Warpstock? Should we push to host the 1998 version?
What about our meetings? Our Program Director Mark Abramowitz has done a good job of finding new and interesting presentations and presentation formats. For example, the email shoot-out proved to be very successful. Are you more interested in vendor presentations or member presentations? Topics (like the disk drive one Herb Wong did a few months ago) or products (like SmartSuite last month)?
Please consider what you want from the club, what things we're doing right, what things we could improve - maybe even that inspired plan you've been mulling over to dramatically shift our direction. Call one or more of the Board members (phone numbers are on the back of the newsletter), or buttonhole one at the meeting, and let them know what you think. It's your club - you can have it your way!
Plan for the General Interest Group
by Rollin White
Our goal for 1998 will be the same as it was in 1997 - to provide informative presentations on the use of OS/2. There's a lot to know about OS/2, and I want you to be able to make the most of it! For example, this month we'll focus on the mechanics of upgrading your video card, something that each of us needs to do at one time or another.
As always, the topics presented in 1998 will be based on input from our members. At recent meetings we've discussed several possible future topics including REXX (a really useful language included with OS/2) and working with the BonusPak of applications that comes with Warp. If you have additional ideas of your own, or refinements on some of the ideas previously discussed, please let Paul Wirtz (we share responsibilities for this SIG) or me know. This is an evolving topic list, after all, and one that we'd definitely like to meet your expectations and fit your needs.
What's Planned for the Internet SIG?
by Dave Watson
The Internet SIG will continue to meet in 1998 on the 4th Monday evening each month from 7 to 9:30 PM at the IBM Costa Mesa facility. In the coming year we will focus on applications of the internet as an information provider. The internet really becomes useful as an integral part of our daily lives. How do we organize it, how do we deliver it? In 1997, we studied the basic components - browsers and other internet applications, HTML and editors, programming with CGI and Java, graphics, and other topics.
At the last meeting, we installed an OS/2 web server - Apache. We'll continue the server theme at our Jan. meeting by introducing data warehousing and review some of the techniques for accessing data through a web interface. We'll also take a look at the new HTML format, HTML 4, and discuss the latest internet "hot button" in the popular press: spam, or unsolicited advertising. Please join us if you'd like to share our exploration of these important technologies.
What's Ahead for the Network SIG in 1998
by Steve Schiffman
The Network SIG has covered a number of topics during the last two years. We have also seen an expansion of the SCOUG server domain. This year brings a new networking component from IBM, WorkSpace On-Demand. During the coming months, we will be mixing the new with the old.
It is the purpose of the Network SIG to assist SCOUG members develop and implement their own home networks to be able to connect together the multiple OS/2 Warp systems each of us now have. We will re-visit what a network is and how to put together a SOHO environment. We will also explore WSOD (WorkSpace On-Demand) and learn how it accomplishes its objectives.
Additionally, our Java project with the Programming SIG will be expanded and enhanced, possibly with a database back-end that will have the capability to display graphic images of SCOUG members when the raffle program randomly picks their name.
There will be a number of exciting SIG meetings this comming year. Beginners through experts will find something of value in the exchange of information among the SIG's attendees. To make the Network SIG succeed, your participation and help is needed.
Come join us at the Network SIG and see how your horizon of computing can be expanded with a network connection.
Programming SIG Objectives
by Terry Warren
1998 is here and with it came the traditional new year's resolutions. As SIG leader, I guess it's appropriate that I generate some resolutions on behalf of our SIG and, in so doing, look ahead to what's happening in 1998. I'll also reflect a little on the SIG's accomplishments last year and the world of OS/2 programming as it evolved in 1997, the year of transition to "network centric" computing.
Traditional programming seems to be on its way out, at least in terms of OS/2 PM and workplace shell. Even though there is a promised new version (4.0) of VisualAge C++ with a brand new look and feel, enhanced OpenClass libraries, and improved compiler performance, this product has been in the wings for over a year and has only recently achieved closed beta status (and even then only on the "other" platform). I guess there's a message there. But, even so, if the OS/2 version does make its way into the 1998 market, we will take a look at it; in particular the nicely done IDE, incremental compiler capabilities, template classes and resource building.
The star of 1997 from the programming standpoint had to have been the companion product, VisualAge for Java, which received good reviews even from the normally biased product editors of the trade journals. (In a related note, conspicuous by its absence in some of these reviews were any favorable comments about Microsoft's offering: "non"-Visual J++.) Although it was classified as a resource hog (by those who wished to be polite), its integrated resource database, project management capabilities, overall strengths in supporting JDK1.1 and debugging tools made it one of the top industrial grade Java development environments. For 1998, we expect to see an improved performance version of this product as well as ongoing support for the newer JDK versions (including 1.2). When available, our SIG will probably spend at least one meeting on this product.
Speaking of Java, we did spend a "little" time on that last year and expect to devote one or two of the 1998 meetings keeping up with Java progress (although, as one of my new year's resolutions I promise to spend less time promoting Java at the SIG meetings). OS/2 versions of newer JDKs, including 1.2; support for these in the OS/2 Netscape browser; and all of the related Java add-ons as they begin to have a real impact on application development and distribution are definitely important to the OS/2 programming community. I think the Java programming class we did last year was a success and hope to repeat it this year at the 1.1.x level.
WorkSpace On-Demand will also be an important (or unimportant) development in 1998 and worth monitoring. Since we have access to it on our club server, we will probably spend some time evaluating how effective it is in a distributed environment with special attention to what impact it has (if any) on application development (i.e., are there any special techniques for creating apps that can efficiently run under WSOD or will it truly run all apps transparently on a thin-client machine with no hard drive without bringing a server to its knees - what do you think?).
Another long-awaited 1998 event (or maybe nonevent) is the promised release of the Lotus SmartSuite for OS/2 Warp 4 sometime first quarter. Already in its second beta at 280+MB and with the likelihood of even more "features," its interest to our SIG is twofold. First it is the only major app built extensively around the Open32 (i.e., win32 port) API set which has already had a significant impact on the OS/2 architecture. It will definitely be interesting to see how well the final version performs and how solid Open32 really is. Second, it comes with the standard Lotus scripting language (LotusScript) as well as supporting REXX integration within LotusScript and, in fact, we are kicking off the new year by taking a look at this integration at the January meeting.
In addition to the major topics mentioned above, we will still have plenty of time for more traditional demos and talks. As was done last year, I strongly encourage any of our SIG members to either suggest topics for meetings or, better yet, prepare short or long presentations on topics of their choice. (Unlike last year, I hope to actually have a few of these done in 1998.)
Besides the SIG meetings, we also will continue to support the club in whatever ways are appropriate. Our famous Java raffle program needs some enhancements and could lead to more involved co-projects with the Networking SIG; hopefully we'll get a club database implemented this year; we might even get some disk space on the club "server" for our own development efforts. Our pitiful programming SIG web page also needs a major overhaul and we definitely need some volunteers for this effort.
Well, these are a few of my thoughts in looking ahead to 1998 and if any of them make sense to you, then please plan on attending one or more of the SCOUG Programming SIG meetings (if they don't make sense, then plan on attending anyway and help straighten us out).
Oh yes, I almost forgot the new year's resolutions, so here are just a few that come to mind:
- I promise to stop changing topics at the last minute by inviting the main speaker to our SIG (instead I will schedule this ahead of time).
- I promise to get Melanie to convert her Roman Numeral Calculator to either Java or Object Rexx.
- I promise to always have next month's topic decided on before the newsletter deadline.
- I promise to not change next month's topic after the newsletter deadline more than twice.
- I promise to end each SIG meeting on or before the scheduled time (it's just that we never know what the scheduled time is).
- I promise to have excellent raffle prizes at each SIG meeting (remember, it's the intent that counts).
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