Java Development Initiative Status Report
February 18, 2003
This report updates the status of Unidata's Java development efforts reported
at the last Policy Committee meeting
The long-term objectives of Unidata's Java Development Initiative are:
- Deliver turn-key platform-independent applications for the analysis and
visualization of meteorological data. These applications must provide and
extend the most important capabilities of currently-available applications
such as GEMPAK, GARP, and McIDAS. Use of these applications should require
no knowledge of Java or component architectures.
- Deliver easily installed executables, user documentation, and test cases
for the turn-key applications.
- Identify or create a component-oriented framework that supports construction
of custom applications from components used to build the turn-key applications.
This framework should be useful to create new combinations of components that
provide subsets of the capabilities of the turn-key applications, connect
them in unanticipated ways, or provide tailored mini-applications for embedding
in educational materials. Use of these components may require knowledge of
component architectures or Java.
- Deliver full source code, class documentation, and test cases for the MetApps
- Enlist other developers in enhancing components and developing new components
for the framework by providing an archive, mailing list, developers' forums,
documentation, web site, and support for the components.
To accomplish these long-term goals, short-term objectives include the delivery
of incremental releases involving users, incorporating feedback, refining the
development process, and enhancing the software with each release.
Progress to Date
Four prototype MetApps applications were developed during the initial phases
of this project: a gridded data viewer for viewing model data, an interactive
sounding application, an image viewer for viewing and looping image data from
local and remote datasets, and a surface observations viewer. Development on
all these prototypes as standalone applications has ceased. Lessons learned
in developing these prototypes and some of the components have been incorporated
into the development of the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) application which will
be the reference application for goals #1 and #2 listed above. All work since
the last status report has focused on the development of the IDV. This application
is being used to develop and test the framework listed in goal #3 above. A developer's
manual is in progress to satisfy goal #5.
In more detail, recent accomplishments include:
- Since the intial release of the IDV in September 2002, 3 additional beta
releases have been made. Each update has included new features as well as
bug fixes. A 4th release is scheduled for the end of Feburary (beta5). The
IDV can be downloaded at
http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/metapps/. Features added since
the original release include:
- preliminary work on display of NEXRAD Level II data
- new globe display for mapping data to a rotatable globe
- support for capture and playback of "fly-throughs"
- support for capture of QuickTime movies
- station model editor
- new contour labelling (VisAD work funded by Unidata)
- new algorithm for displaying animation scenes as they are available
(VisAD work funded by Unidata)
- memory and performance enhancements. In some cases the memory usage
has been cut in half and performance has been improved by 40%.
- new data caching strategies to cache derived quantities as well as raw
- winds added to SkewT displays
- InstallAnywhere installers for Windows, Linux and Solaris
- preliminary work on a drawing/annotation tool
- Demonstrations of the IDV reference application were made in the Unidata
booth at AGU in December and in the UOP booth at the AMS meeting in February.
Papers and posters on IDV were presented at each of the meetings.
- As a follow-up to the Unidata/ATD collaboration on using IDV in the field
during the IHOP project, discussions are underway to determine how the IDV
might be used in a future field project to access field data in the classroom.
- Collaboration has continued with DLESE on the continued development of
the Visual Geophysical Exploration Environment (VGEE) using the IDV framework.
This provides us with another way to test and improve the framework for people
creating custom applications. Rajul Pandya, is the main contact for this effort.
VGEE curriculum materials are now indexed in DLESE. These include links for
launching pre-configured versions of the VGEE/IDV pertinent to the learning
activity. This capability was demonstrated at the AMS meeting.
- The IDV and THREDDS development groups have been working to define the
needs of IDV as a THREDDS client. This effort includes developing THREDDS
capability servers which can be queried for effective access to data and to
provide user interface (UI) definitions based on XML. IDV can now access data
from other, non-Unidata THREDDS catalogs (e.g., CDC)
- Capt. Richard Gonzales at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)
is using the IDV for his work on the Airborne Laser
System. As part of this, he has incorporated a Java GRIB reader (JGrib)
to directly ingest GRIB data into the IDV. He is finishing up this work and
will contribute his code to us. This would be a benefit to the community as
GRIB is one of the formats that users have requested for data read by the
IDV (e.g. from COMET case studies).
Current development beyond what's listed above includes:
- Enhancement of support for Level II Archive Format in the IDV.
- Display sounding winds on hodographs (2- and 3-D).
- Enhancement of the drawing/annotation tool.
- Use THREDDS capability server work to develop a cohesive framework for
accessing local and remote datasets. This includes the ability to save off
time relative (i.e. latest data instead of absolute times) pointers to datasets.
- Performance enhancements and comparisons with other tools (Zebra, McIDAS,
- Enhancement of derived quantities and formulas portion of IDV.
Ongoing efforts include:
- Collaborating in the development of VisAD
- Keeping up with new Java interfaces and developments
- Various and sundry IDV bug fixes and enhancements.
This document is maintained by
Don Murray <firstname.lastname@example.org>