Java Applets and Their Advantages

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.

Sandbox Operation

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.

Java Platforms You Should Know About

Software applications are usually developed keeping in mind a specific audience. While the function of the application may be the same, the way it is used by different users is not. Keeping in mind the varied needs of different users, Oracle has developed different Java technologies and offers them through different Java platform editions. Each of these platform editions contain different Java APIs or Application Programming Interfaces, based on the kind of application the platform has been designed for.

Here is a note on some of the Java platform editions available today.

Java SE or Standard Edition

The JAVA Standard Edition is the most commonly used Java platform. It is used for developing versatile applications for a wide range of computer platforms. Java SE allows you to design and develop the most secure, highly portable applications that can be used across environments, for boosting communication, productivity of the end users and for collaboration while reducing the costs for the businesses.

The latest version of this platform is the Java SE 7, which was released in 2011. The next version, Java SE 8 is expected to release in September 2013.

Java EE or Enterprise Edition

The Java Enterprise edition is tailored to develop slightly complex applications used by medium and big businesses. The apps developed using this platform are typically server based and focus on the uses of not just one, but multiple users at a time. The latest version, the Java EE 6 is the industry standard for enterprise apps. The lightweight Web Profile of the Java EE 6 can be used for developing web apps, while the full-fledged version for developing enterprise apps.

The latest version, Java EE 6, was released in December 2009. The next version, Java EE 7 is most likely to be released in April this year.

Java ME or Micro Edition

The Micro Edition of Java Platform, the Java ME, was earlier called J2ME. It is used for developing efficient and flexible applications for use on mobile platforms and other linked devices such as PDAs, printers, set top boxes and the like. The Java ME edition includes robust security along with user-friendly flexible interfaces, and built-in network protocols. Support for both online and offline networked applications is also provided.

Applications developed on Java ME platform can be used on multiple devices, and at the same time they can influence the native device’s competences.

Java Card

Java Card technology is what makes the small applications, or the applets function on smartcards and other smaller devices with limited memory. Java Card provides a secure environment for these applets to function. On a single card that is issued to the end user, multiple applications can be run at once. Also, the Java Card comes with a set of tools and other applications for development of new apps. The latest version of the Java Card classic platform is the v3.0.4.

These enterprise platforms and their updates, enhancements etc. are all available for download from Oracle’s website. The site also features detailed tutorials on how to make use these Java technologies.

JavaScript – How is it Different from Java?

Many people tend to confuse Java and JavaScript to be the same. While both are object oriented programming or OOP languages, they are not entirely similar. The only commonality between these two languages is the syntax. For a better understanding of how these two languages differ, here is a note on their origins, features and uses.

Lineage

Java is an OOP or object oriented programming language created by James Gosling, from Sun Microsystems. Java programing is used for designing and developing interactive web pages and standalone applications. JavaScript is a scripting language, and not the same as Java. JavaScript was created by Brendan Eich of Netscape Inc. and does not belong to the Java platform. It was initially called Livescript. As it is also an OOP, it is relatively similar to Java.

When compared to Java, JavaScript has simpler commands that are easier to understand, even by the average programmer.

Difference in Features

Java and JavaScript also differ significantly in terms of their features.

Firstly, Java is easy to use and offers more flexibility for developing software applications due to its object oriented approach. The programming language combines some of the best properties of other programming languages, which makes it a superior OOP programming language. Also, Java code is not dependent on the platform, which means that you can write the code in Java on any platform of your choice and then use it on any other platform. You can also access and execute the Java code remotely, without compromising on the security.

JavaScript provides browser support without the need to install a flash plugin. It is also flexible in the sense that it allows the user to change or modify the web page structures in runtime, which makes it an ideal tool for developing and modifying attractive and interactive web pages. JavaScript is easier to learn and use, which makes it a great platform to begin with, if you wish to learn about computer programming. To use JavaScript, on just needs a browser along with a text editor.

Difference in Usage

Java and JavaScript were developed by two different companies and were meant for different audience altogether.

As mentioned before, Java is a full-fledged OOP programming language and has objects of its own. Java objects are used for developing UIs that appear in Java web browsers or applets or in individual (standalone) Java applications. Java has combined the five best features of other programming languages to create highly interactive web pages.

Java is mostly used for online messaging applications, online banking, games, online calculators, credit card processing and more. A number of social networking sites are also highly dependent on Java programming. In simple words, Java is extensively used for creating millions of apps worldwide and automating online processes.

Like Java, JavaScript is used for making the web pages interactive, but it cannot be used for developing standalone apps. JavaScript typically converts a static page into an interactive one, by adding behavior to it. It allows you to add forms, animations, automated responses to user behavior on the site. It also lets you load new scripts, images, text etc. without having to redo the entire page. On the whole, JavaScript allows you to improve the user experience on a website.

All You Need to Know About Java Servlets

Java servlets is a class of the Java programming language that is used to create scripts for the server side. Basically, these are the lines of code that communicate with the server and utilize its capabilities. Although servlets can be used for normal application programming also, it works best only when it is used with web pages. Essentially, servlets are Java applets but they work exclusively on web servers. If you are aware of web-based dynamic content creation languages like PHP or ASP.NET, servlets are the Java equivalent of the same.

The Need for Servlets

Before the advent of servlets, Common Gateway Interface, also known as CGI, was used to develop web based content. There was no need of a specific programming language to develop script for CGI. Any programming language could have been used provided the relevant protocols were satisfied. However, there were a lot of problems associated with CGI. The performance of the CGI protocol was not so good, and questions were raised on the scalability factor too.

Also, security was one of the major concerns. Perl was one of the most widely used programming languages for developing web scripts then. But the programming had a number of loopholes. If a programmer was smart enough, he/she could take advantage of the loopholes. They could make the script shell execute OS commands. This is the basic level of control, something that most hackers dream of.

Enter the Servlets

To counter these loopholes, developers came up with what they called Java servlets. These were based on the Java programming language and patched up most of the loopholes in CGI. The principle is that a servlet can aid in the communication between the client and the server. Basically, the client here is the user and the server is the device on which the web application is hosted on.

How Does A Servlet Work?

For example, say you are clicking on a link that will allow you to download a file on a server. Basically, when you click on the download link, a request to the server is generated. The request is to download the file to your hard drive. Servlets aid in communicating this request to the server. Based on the request, the server generates a response, which in this case might be something like ‘wait for 10 seconds’. So, this response has to be communicated to the client and that is where servlets come in again.

Type of Information Communicated

Since servlets basically communicate to web servers, the communication protocol used is HTTP, short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. So, servlets are sometimes also called HTTP servlets. Naturally, content that is generated during the communication is also native web information, which will usually be in HTML format. However, with expansion in the usage of other programming and markup languages, servlets sometimes generates XML and PHP information too. Also, this information is contained in what is called a web container or a servlet container. Without a container, a servlet cannot function.

A Brief Introduction to Java

The Silicon Valley is brimming with people who are passionate about computers and programming. One of the most widely used programming languages in that community is Java. Naturally, if you are not familiar with programming languages, you may not entirely know what Java is. Java is an object oriented programming language that was introduced in the late 1990s. At the time of its introduction, it was the only object oriented programming language available. How is that significant? You will find out about it later in the article.

History of Java

Before Java was introduced, C was the most widely used programming language. But like any other language, C programming had its limitations. With the advancement of technology, there was a need of complex programs that could simplify tasks. However, C programming was very simple and tedious at the same time. If you wanted to write a complex program, the program would run to thousands of lines of code.

Identifying this, James Gosling and his team of engineers at Sun Microsystems, started a project called ‘Oak’. The aim of this project was to develop a programming language that simplified the task of writing long, tedious programs. Originally, they focused on developing small applications that could be run on web browsers (internet was still in its early stages of development). But at the end of it, they came up with a programming language that had a lot more advantages than the team had imagined.

Advantages of Object Oriented Programming

Take the example of two programs, one that adds an array of numbers and another that multiplies them. The approach here is to fetch the numbers from its memory location, add it or multiply with the next number, store the result in another memory location, fetch the next number, multiply or add with the result stored from the previous operation, and continue till all the numbers are exhausted.

Here, you notice that almost all the steps of both the programs are the same. The only difference is in the arithmetic operation that is carried out. In programming that is not object oriented, you have to write two different programs which essentially will have only one line different, the line that performs the arithmetic operation. However, in object oriented programming, you can create objects for all the redundant tasks. So, the number of lines of code is reduced and that is exactly what Java does.

Other Advantages of Java

Java is designed in such a way that it is very easy to learn. The syntax, keywords, and other nuances are simple and easy to understand. Another big advantage of Java is that it is independent of the system it is being used on. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Windows, UNIX, Mac or any other system. Java works in the same way. Security is also built into the programming language. So, even if you don’t implement any security protocols, your application is reasonably safe. Above all, Java is very reliable and flexible. The programming is robust and you can rest assured that the application will remain stable and not crash.

Where Java was winning

There are a lot of industries that prefer Java based applications over software to download and install and these are virtually all industries with a gaming environment that is simple and where users switch accordingly. So for a simple browser game nobody wants to download and instlal every single game he wants to try out. Imagine you had to download every single online slot game. For most players this would be just too much effort. These kind of industries are interested in promoting their products online with Java based applets.

iPhone and iPad and the Java problem

iPhone and iPad were really dominating the market. They simply forced thousands of companies and developers to create apps for iOS and yes, this was very profitable for some and not so profitable for others to say the least. But the landscape changed. There are more and more Android devices, for tablets and smartphones alike. Windows is trying to gain market share and they are doing an OK job I think. Nothing special but they may play a role in the near future. Nevertheless, native apps will die sooner or later. It’s just not affordable for all companies to provide apps for three or maybe even more platforms. More and more companies will bet on WebApps and I think it’s a really good bet. You just create one app and it’s available for all operating systems. Simple as that. Continue reading “iPhone and iPad and the Java problem”

Java and online gaming

There are lots of areas where Java changed a whole market. Browser games and applications are one of these examples and if you’ve ever played some sort of online game chances are that it was based on Java allowing you to play games with your browser instead of downloading software. That was how things worked a couple of years ago. You were browsing the Internet to download games. Nowadays you dont have to download anything and you can play directly in your browser. And these games are very good with great graphics and excellent sound. Same is true for online casino games. A few years back you had to download your favorite online casino, install it before you were able to play. But in 2013 it’s common sense that casinos are played within your browser with Java or Flash.

And there are plenty of good reasons why you should play without a download in online casinos (see this great article at casinomates about casino downloads). For example you can play way quicker. You don’t have to wait until the software is downloaded and installed. There are a couple of new online casinos that only had decent success thanks to their download casino and to the fact that their customers prefer to play quickly in their browser instead of downloading casino software.