WHAT IS JAVA ?
Java is a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems that brings animation and interaction to the World Wide Web. HotJava is the name of the software developed by Sun which you can use to observe and interact with Java programs. Java unleashes a level of interactivity that has never been possible on the Web. This book explores and introduces you to Java 's potential for distributing interactive, executable content.
People and organizations use the World Wide Web to communicate globally and instantly. Using the Internet as a network for data transfer, the Web employs a form of expression called hypertext that connects related information in web-like structures. Combined with multimedia, the resulting webs of hypermedia have opened new possibilities for expression and communication.
But something has been missing from the Web since its introduction to the world in the early 1990s. Although the amount of Web data traffic and the number of computers offering information on the Web has risen dramatically, the content of the pages has lacked important expressive and interactive qualities. While often intriguing, informative, and useful, Web content has been devoid of the degree of interactivity offered by many multimedia and hypermedia systems that run on non-networked computers. So although the Web fostered world-wide interconnections among people and information, it has only enabled people to observe: read text, watch videos, listen to music, and explore information.
The unbounded universe of possibilities on the Web may lead some users to feel that the hyperlinks just keep leading them on, until ultimately, the Web seems just a road to nowhere: with no there there. Java changes all this. Java makes destinations possible for Web users.
Java enables developers to create content that can be delivered to and run by users on their computers. This software can support anything that programmers can dream up: spreadsheets, tutorials, animations, and interactive games. With the Web page as the delivery platform, this software can support a variety of information tasks with true interactivity; users can get continuous, instantaneous feedback for applications in visualization, animation and computation. Users of the Web in the dawning Java age may indeed find a there on the Web: a place to play, work, or learn.
Why Java ?
Java is just one part of the integrated set of systems that support World Wide Web communication. Java is an entirely separate programming language from the markup scheme for defining hypertext, the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Java doesn't replace HTML, nor does it negate all current work that has been developed or deployed on the Web.
Java connects with HTML and the Web through a special HTML tag called APPLET, which allows developers to include special Java programs called applets on Web pages. These applets are essentially software programs that the user's browser downloads (automatically, as part of Web page observation) and executes. With graphical input and output possible through the applet on the page, Java thus opens windows to into richer levels of interactivity on the Web.
Why This Book?
The purpose this book is to give you an understanding of what Java is, how it transforms Web communication, and Java 's principle technical features.
This book delves into the possibilities Java offers in animation, interaction, and distributed network communication. This book aims to help you
- Appreciate the profound way Java transforms the World Wide Web
- Grasp conceptually what is involved with using Java , including the HTML-to-Java connection and the roles of the HotJava browser and the Java language
- Learn about the HotJava browser and how to download use it
- Understand how the Java language works; including the basics of data definition and program control
- Gain insight into how Java follows an object-oriented paradigm that encourages software reusability
- See some example Java applets that support animations, interactivity, and network applications
How to Use This Book
This book is an introduction to Java 's essentials: how Java connects with the Web, how to view Java programs, and the basics of constructing Java programs. This book is organized so that users at all levels can traverse it in a variety of paths.
The Scope of This Book
This book discusses the significance of Java and showcases the kinds of applications it makes possible. This book provides a quick overview of the HotJava browser, how to obtain it, and how it can be used to navigate the Web. The book then surveys the main features of the Java language, describing the basics of its procedural programming features and how it supports the object-oriented paradigm. This language description includes many examples[md]showing the very basics for applets and applications. Finally, the book surveys many existing Java programs and examines what kind of communication they make possible and the basics of how they work.
This book cannot possibly do justice to the rich and very rapid ways that Java is developing technically and expressively. As such, this book is limited in two ways:
- It covers the alpha release of Java /HotJava that was available in the summer of 1995. A beta release of Java /HotJava is expected for later in 1995. The support web for this book (http://www.december.com/works/java.html) contains a summary of changes relevant to this book after the beta release is available.
- This book is not meant to be a comprehensive reference or advanced programming guide for Java . It instead provides a quick start for new users, project planners, and developers, with coverage of introductory conceptual and beginning technical information about Java , with pointers to online locations of full and current reference information.
Organization of This Book
This book is organized into parts, each of which contains three chapters. Each part introduces the essentials of Java from a different perspective, and each chapter in the parts addresses a central main point stated in a declarative sentence as the chapter title. Here is a summary of the contents in these parts:
- Part I is an overview of the potential of the Web and Java . These chapters explore Java 's capability to deliver distributed, executable content, Java 's technical design for flexibility and extensibility, and Java s relationship with the Web as a system of communication for distributing networked hypermedia.
- Part II surveys of Java 's capabilities for animation, interaction, and information distribution. These chapters discuss many case studies demonstrating Java in action. You can try out some of the examples shown and learn about key code programming techniques of these examples.
- Part III is an overview of the HotJava browser. The first chapter in this part describes how you can download and set up the HotJava , Sun Microsystems demonstration Java -enabled Web browser. The other chapters explore the important difference between HotJava and other Web browsers and how you can use HotJava to navigate the Web.
- Part IV introduces the basics of developing Java Programs. These chapters explain Java 's procedural features as well as Java 's object- oriented features to support classes. This part concludes with a brief example case study of applet design and implementation.
- The appendices describe sources of further information, a summary of the Java language essentials as well as other supporting information for Java and Web development. The appendix defines terms about Java and the Web used in this book.
Who Might Use This Book?
- Managers and planners who are interested in seeing what Java technology might do for their organization
- Information developers who want to get an idea of how Java works
- Web developers and programmers who want to see quickly how to expand the level of interactivity of their information with Java
- Students in online communication or hypermedia courses who need to grasp the essentials of Java
How Might You Use This Book?
- If you are a new Internet/Web user: Get an idea of how the Web relates to the Internet and Web with parts I and II, skipping over the programming features described in part II . Check part III or ask your online service provider or administrator if your computer can support Java -enabled browsers. To start writing Java applets, read part IV and then take another look at the applications in part II.
- If you are a managers/project planner: Chapter 1 summarizes the key concepts of Java s potential for communication. Chapter 2 is a technical summary of Java , and chapter 3 examines the relationship of Java to the Web in more detail. For planning user access to Java content, youll need to obtain Java -enabled browsers as described in part III. For planning or managing programming projects involved with Java read parts II and IV.
- If you are a Web developer: Go right to part II to look at what Java is already making possible on the Web. Find out if your platform supports a Java -enabled browser, and, if possible, get a HotJava browser as described in part III. Read part IV for an overview of Java programming. Part I is a summary overview of Java ; in particular read chapter 3s discussion of the relationship of Java to the Web and what new kinds of development Java make make possible.
- If you are an application programmer: Check to see if your development platform supports HotJava as described in part III. Chapter 2 as well as appendix B are a key technical summaries of Java . If your platform supports a Java -enabled browser, then try out the exercises in part IV in detail and skim parts II and I for examples. Use this books support web to get the latest versions of this source code. Use online information sources listed in appendix A to get the more detailed information about the Java language specification.
To connect to the latest information about this book's contents, open the URL:
This support web provides links to online information about the book, code samples discussed, and updates on resources and related information. Check with the errata page of this support web for corrections, and send reports of other errors, questions, or comments to the author at email@example.com.