Java is a network-aware, object-oriented language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java has been causing a lot of excitement in the computing community as it strives to provide a secure language for running applets downloaded from the World Wide Web. The idea is simple: allow web browsers to download Java applets, which run on the client’s machine. The popular Netscape web browser (discussed in Chapter 1) as well as its open source variant Mozilla, the GNOME variant Galeon, and the KDE web browser Konqueror include support for Java. Furthermore, the Java Developer’s Kit and other tools have been ported to Linux. But Java is suitable not only for those applets. Recently, it has been used more and more as a general-purpose programming language that offers fewer obstacles for beginners and that — because of its built-in networking libraries — is often used for programming client/server applications. A number of schools also choose it nowadays for programming courses.

The Promise of Java, or Why You Might Want to Use Java

All this may not sound too exciting to you. There are lots of object-oriented programming languages, after all, and with Netscape plug-ins you can download executable programs from web servers and execute them on your local machine.

But Java is more than just an object-oriented programming language. One of its most exciting aspects is platform independence. That means you can write and compile your Java program and then deploy it on almost every machine, whether ...

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