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News May 31, 2004

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The big news for me has got to be Quest making available a freeware version of JProbe profiler. You need to download a new license every six months, but that's not such a big deal. It only includes the method profiler not the thread or memory profilers (no object profiling), and snapshot comparison has been disabled. But even so, that's pretty impressive. The profiler itself is fully featured. I'm surprised the announcement didn't make a bigger splash. In any case, you guys know about it now because you are intelligent enough to be reading this newsletter. The announcement link is in the "news" section below, and there is also a link to the download page in the "tools" section.

I don't know whether this would cannibalize any prospective JProbe sales, but I doubt it. There are increasingly many free options for method profiling Java applications. The feedback I get from our customers, course attendees and readers is that tracking memory leaks and method profiling highly loaded servers seems to be more of a problem. Those are capabilities that won't come with the freeware version. On the other hand, this may well mean that JProbe now gets a foot in the door at many shops which would be looking for a low cost or free profiler. So this is potentially a pretty good marketing move.

One caveat though. Quest hasn't announced this is permanent as far as I know (I'll tell you if I find out otherwise). The requirement that you have to renew the license at least every six months means that Quest can at any time discontinue the freeware capability, and within six months all the freeware versions would no longer work. You could find yourself reliant on a profiler that you suddenly need to pay for, or face the cost of retraining to another tool. It may not matter to you, or it may be something significant. In any case, at least you are informed.

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In the newsletter we list our usual raft of articles, news, and more. In addition, we have most of our usual sections. Kirk's roundup covers implementing caches, weak and soft references, and more; Our interview with Matt Tucker and Bill Lynch, founders of Jive Software, is essential reading for highly interactive sites and portals; And our question of the month asks if runtime optimizations allows Java to outperform statically optimized languages.

We also have a new cartoon, and many new performance tips extracted in concise form, but I'm afraid you Javva The Hutt fans will be disappointed this month, as Javva is busy with a family event.

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Jack Shirazi

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