Java applet is a snippet of code that works as an individual application. It is coded using the Java bytecode. Bytecode is a type of programming that is exclusive for Java programming. Applets make use of the Java Virtual Machine, more commonly known as JVM, for its working. However, you can also run them on other standalone tools like the Sun Applet viewer to test applets. Another advantage with applets is that you don’t have to worry about writing the code in Java only. All you need is a programming language that will compile to Java, like Jython.
A Little History about Java Applets
Java applets were not introduced when Java language came into being. It evolved after a few years and only by 1995, final and working versions of Java applets were released. Initially, the applications were basic but developers and experts alike were quick to notice the potential of applets. Over time, more and more applets that had extensive applications came to the fore.
What Exactly Are Applets?
Basically, java applets are used to provide interactive user experience on websites. Websites are usually designed using markup languages, HTML, CSS, and so on. These languages cannot support an interactive user experience. But with the integration of java applets, you can do so. That is because the java bytecode that developers use to design applets are independent of platform they are being used on. So, irrespective of whether it is a Windows system, Mac system, Linux or UNIX system, the performance of the applets is not affected.
Also, you don’t have to make any sort of investment if you want to write the code for Java applets. True, you have to learn java programming but once you have done that, there are a number of open source tools to compile and test your applets. In fact, you can develop production level java applets using these open source tools.
Java applets are operated by most of the web browsers in a sandbox. Basically, what this means is that the browsers do not provide the applets with access to the local data, which is data present on the computer. When you access a java applet, the code for the applet is downloaded from a web server. The code is then embedded into the webpage code that the browser loads. Basically, the webpage will remain as a HTML code while the applet will be embedded as a Java code.
Java Applet Advantages
Firstly, java applets are platform independent. So, they work on almost all operating systems. Applets also don’t have compatibility issues with different versions of Java. Irrespective of whether the version of Java you are using is Java 4, 5 or 6 version, applets works just fine. They are also supported by almost all the major web browsers. Also, there will be no delay in loading the java applets because they cache quickly. The speed with which applets are executed is also high when compared to other programming languages such as C++. An applet can also be used as a real time application.