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Many scientists and engineers have signal and image processing applications that involve large data sets and could benefit from parallel processing on readily-available clusters of workstations (COWs). Unfortunately these applications often exist as legacy code, such as Matlab functions, which are not easily parallelizable. The goal of the JavaPorts project is to provide a framework for flexible development of parallel and distributed component-based applications for heterogeneous COWs. The latest version of the package supports the integration of Java and Matlab components into the same application. The main features of the JavaPorts framework and its tools are discussed and application examples are presented which highlight its ability to support the rapid prototyping of parallel and distributed computing strategies with communicating Java and Matlab components.