Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

March 1998


Previous Page | Index | Next Page
VOICE Home Page:

Quote Grabber .04 beta

By:Mark Dodel, ( or

Initial Impressions:

IBM has declared that java is the future. This is particularly true for OS/2 users since even IBM is no longer writing OS/2 native applications unless there is a proven large business market for it. We are beginning to see java applications begin to appear here and there. Innoval has JSTREET Mailer in beta, there is a java version of ICQ and there are a few java versions of some internet apps. Gamelon - has an extensive list of java apps and applets. One java application I just started to try is the beta of Quote Grabber from Aparima, Inc. - This is an early beta of a stock market tracking program. This was a tool I have been missing, since most of the web sites I'm aware of that provide this service are browser based, and I don't like leaving Netscape Navigator for OS/2 running unless I'm surfing. This site acts as an interface from data from


Listed system requirements:
This application should run on just about any platform that supports a Java Runtime Environment.

Since it is still beta, it is freely available at no cost. You can download the most current version from It is a 750K byte file. The final GA release will cost $25.00US "and allow an unlimited free access to slightly delayed quotes, news and charts without subscription." There will also be an applet version available for running on a web site which will cost $395.00US.

They claim compatibility with Java Runtimes on OS/2, Windows, Unix, and the MAC. There is nothing about a specific Java version requirement. I am currently running Java 1.1.4 JDK for OS/2 available from IBM's Software Choice web site - with the March 04, 1998 fixes -

Once you have downloaded the .jar file you can run directly from an OS/2 command prompt with the following line by changing C:\path\to to the fully defined path where you saved the downloaded file:

java -classpath %CLASSPATH%;C:\path\to\qg0_4.jar aparima.qg.v0_4.Main

First thing I tried to do was set up a program object to run Quote Grabber without having to start it from the command line. This presents a problem for OS/2, since the '%' character is used as a parameter variable, so the qg0_4.jar could not be concatenated to the CLASSPATH variable in the object settings parameter field. Don't despair since there are at least two ways around this. One is to add the fully defined path for qg0_4.jar to your CLASSPATH statement in your CONFIG.SYS file. This will require a reboot to take effect. Then you only need to create an object with JAVA.EXE as the program file name and aparima.qg.v0_4.Main in the parameter field. The other option is to write a small batch command file. Here is the one I used:

CD C:\path\to
java -classpath %CLASSPATH%;qg0_4.jar aparima.qg.v0_4.Main


OK now that you have this thing installed what can you do with it. First it's only of use to you if you are interested in tracking stocks. If you are though you can get updates every minute (the default), or from every 10 seconds up to every 15 minutes. You build a list or multiple lists of securities you want to track. To do so you just enter the stocks ticker code into the entry field and select Add Ticker. You can track stocks from several different countries. currently stocks from the US, Canada, France, the UK, and Germany are available as long as you know the correct ticker code and the country of the exchange they are traded on. There are sample lists that come with Quote Grabber, including a list of recognized market indexes like the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrials and the Nikkei 225.

For all stocks you can configure what data you want to display on the ticker. This includes Last price, Bid price, Asked price, Variance, Volume, Average Volume, Low Price, High Price, Previous Closing Price, Open price, High for the Year, Low for the Year, Earnings per share, Price to Earnings ratio, Market Cap, Dividend per Share, Yield, Ex-Dividend, Market Symbol, and the Time. Whew, that is a lot of data. If you don't like the order the data is displayed in, just use your right or left mouse button and drag and drop the column where you want it. And there's more. For each stock you can set alert warnings based on the Last price, Bid price, Variation and Volume. If the stock hits your selected criteria it will pop up a message window. To set the value click on the '+' next to the stock and a drop down line of entry boxes will appear. Put the values in the appropriate box. If you want to make a complicated AND/OR alert, you can create multiple alerts for each stock.

There is also an information area below the stock display where you can view a performance chart for a selected stock and also a list of current news articles related to that stock. The Chart can display either the performance for the day or for the past year. If you want to read an article just click on it and a small browser window will pop up with the article. All the news links are to YAHOO's Finance site. If you want to save some space you can select to not display the information area. In addition you can turn off the tool bar as well as the status bar at the bottom of the window.

In addition to the price chart in the information area, you can access more charts via the menu. You can download charts displaying prices and volumes for 1 day thru 5 years as well as maximum, which goes back as far as the stock has information available online.

Finally if you have the need you can print the current display, but I found no way to print any of the individual charts.

Final Thoughts:

I'm impressed with this program. It has a lot of serious information if someone wants to follow the stock market. It's well worth a try, even as a beta. I have found no nasty consequences from running it. There doesn't seem to be much overhead, even when it's connecting to the server and downloading the data. Of course I have a 7/24 net connection, so I'm not sure how this would work with a dialup. You can set it to only retrieve data on demand. The web site claims there will be no fee to access their server beyond the $25.00 purchase price. Not a bad price for an app you can run under just about any hardware/OS.

Since this is really a browser that accesses the Yahoo finance site, there isn't alot of overhead. The application runs acceptably on my PP200 system with 128 meg of RAM. I see no system degradation running this or my other java app, the JSTREET Mailer beta.

One thing I would like to see to conserve space is the ability to turn off the title bar. I'm not sure if this is doable in java. It would also be nice to have the ability to print a chart or to print all the data for a selected stock, rather then just the viewable window. Finally a ticker code lookup would be very helpful since as of now you have to know the correct ticker code to add a stock to be tracked.


Previous Page | Index | Next Page