Saturday, May 30, 2009

JConvert, a Java based unit converter

Whenever I need to do unit conversions, I always use Google’s Calculator feature. While simple conversion like Centigrade to Fahrenheit or meters to feet can be worked out quickly, we have to be careful when converting units which are products of multiple units and have multiple powers. Today after several unsuccessful attempts to get Google convert 130 meter/sec2 to feet/sec2, I eventually spotted my error, corrected it and managed get the answer. But I realized that Google isn’t the right solution to every problem.

A dedicated unit conversion software should be far more easier and time saving than trying to figure out the correct syntax that would make Google understand my question. A software that came to my notice is JConvert, a free, open source, Java based unit converter.

JConvert

JConvert is a small program, only 140KB in size and doesn’t require installation. Just run the JAR file to launch the application, assuming you have Java 1.4 or higher already installed. JConvert can convert between hundreds of different units belonging to 22 different categories. These categories are:

Acceleration, Amt of substance, Angle, Area, Computer, Concentration, Density, Distance, Energy, Flow, Force, Light, Mass, Power, Pressure, Temperature, Time, Torque, Velocity, Volume, Volume dry and Currency.

Under each of these categories there are dozens units. For example, under Volume you can convert between cubic cm, cubic foot, gallon, ounce, pint etc. Under pressure you will find conversion units for PSI, bar, atmosphere and so on. You can also add your own conversion unit or modify existing ones like the currency units which keeps on changing.

And because JConvert is based on Java, it’s cross platform.

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