MacOS X technology comes early with QuickTime for Java

Brings Java a mature multimedia platfrom and paves way for Java-based MacOS app development

Apple has released a Java version of its would-be standard multimedia platform, QuickTime. The public beta release, available now from Apple's Web site, allows developers to present and manipulate QuickTime data through their own Java applications. The software is essentially a Java applet that presents the QuickTime API as a series of Java classes. QuickTime for Java isn't a full implementation of the multimedia software's API in the Java language -- it simply connects the Java classes to the QuickTime 3.0.2 engine already installed on the host computer. Still, it provides Java with its first solid, mature multimedia framework. Sun's own alternative, the Java Media Framework, was released last year to provide multimedia playback features and a basic multimedia architecture. Version 2.0, which adds capture functionality, pluggable codecs, file saving, RTP broadcast and the ability to access and manipulate media data before it is rendered, is available as a public beta release, but is the final version is unlikely to appear before the summer. Even then its feature-set will lag some way behind QuickTime's. However, QuickTime for Java is probably more interesting to Mac developers as the first sign of Apple's strategy for MacOS X development. Apple has said that it intends to allow programmers to access MacOS X's Yellow Box API, its OpenStep-derived interface to the operating system's core functionality, and key MacOS technologies, including QuickTime, through Java. It's a sensible move. Rather than restrict MacOS X development to programmers who have expertise in either the current C-based MacOS Toolbox or OpenStep's Objective C APIs, Apple's approach will allow any Java programmer -- and there are rather a lot of them out there, especially in the corporate sphere -- to get working on MacOS X apps as quickly as possible. Implement MacOS X and you can leverage your existing Java expertise, is to be Apple's message here. And, as Java programmers get more experience with the MacOS X APIs, they'll undoubtedly want to use them natively, tying them even tighter to the platform. QuickTime is a logical choice for the first API-to-Java mapping exercise since it doubles up as a QuickTime evangelism move. It also ensures MacOS X will have a stack of multimedia applications ready to run out of the box. ®

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