I've been using the hive jdbc driver more and more and was missing some functionality which I added
Using "show tables" to get the info from hive.
Using "describe tablename" to get the columns.
This makes using something like SQuirreL a lot nicer since you have the list of tables and just click on the content tab to see what's in the table.
I also implemented
HiveResultSet.getObject(String columnName) so you call most get* methods based on the column name.