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Crossing Platforms A Macintosh/Windows Phrasebook by David Pogue, Adam Engst

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Chapter 34. J

Java

On the Macintosh: Java

Java is a cross-platform programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. It’s used primarily on the Internet for small programs, called applets, that can be downloaded and run from web pages. Windows users don’t worry about Java applets much, because the Java support within Windows (and from programs like Netscape Navigator) is good.

Unfortunately, Java has never quite measured up on the Macintosh side. Despite recent improvements in Java virtual machines on the Mac (software that translates Java instructions), Java programs still don’t run as fast on the Mac as they do in Windows.

Worse, although Java is a cross-platform language, different Java virtual machines execute Java code differently, particularly on different platforms. As a result, Java applets have a reputation for being unstable and working poorly on the Macintosh, thanks to Java programmers who fail to test their work on all common Java virtual machines.

Many Java applets today are fairly useless, adding nothing more than sophisticated animation or time-wasting games to web pages. Still, if your travel agency web site or electronic banking web site requires Java, you’d be well advised to visit the Apple web site at http://www.apple.com/java/ to download and install the latest version of the Apple’s MRJ (Macintosh Runtime for Java). Each release is faster and stable or than the previous.

Do note that the current version (4.7) of Netscape Communicator does not use Apple’s MRJ, ...

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