Chapter 1

Introducing Java


  • The basic characteristics of the Java language
  • How Java programs work on your computer
  • Why Java programs are portable between different computers
  • The basic ideas behind object-oriented programming
  • How a simple Java program looks and how you can run it using the Java Development Kit
  • What HTML is and how to use it to include a Java program in a web page

This chapter should give you an appreciation of what the Java language is all about. Understanding the details of what I discuss in this chapter is not important at this stage; you see all of the topics again in greater depth in later chapters of the book. The intent of this chapter is to introduce you to the general ideas that underpin what I cover through the rest of the book, as well as the major contexts in which Java programs can be used and the kind of program that is applicable in each context.


Java is an innovative programming language that has become the language of choice for programs that need to run on a variety of different computer systems. First of all, Java enables you to write small programs called applets. These are programs that you can embed in web pages to provide some intelligence. Being able to embed executable code in a web page introduces a vast range of exciting possibilities. Instead of being a passive presentation of text and graphics, a web page can be interactive in any way that you want. You can include animations, ...

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