Java – The next generation language
Java grew out of a research project at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s that focused on controlling different consumer electronic devices using the same software. The original version of Java, called Oak, needed to be simple enough to function with the modest microprocessors found in such consumer devices. Gosling and his friends initially designed Java, which was called Oak at first (in honor of a tree outside Gosling's office), to replace C++ (although the feature set better resembles that of Objective C). The four primary goals in the creation of the Java language are it is object-oriented, it is independent of the host platform (more or less), it contains language facilities and libraries for networking. It is designed to execute code from remote sources securely.
JavaSoft, a division of Sun Microsystems responsible for Java and its business development, has created JavaOS, a compact operating system that caters to the JavaStation network computers,is now in its development state.its also expected to support cellular telephones and pagers. "Sun itself is drafting extensions to the programming language that will enable Java programs to fetch data from corporate databases, hence making it suitable for all sorts of corporate applications", says Alan Baratz, president of Sun's JavaSoft unit .
It also facilitates the distribution of both data and small applications programs, called applets, which is zapped across the Net to do little tasks such as calculating an expense report or displaying fresh stock prices. Java applications do not interact directly with a computer's central processing unit (CPU) or operating system and are therefore platform independent, meaning that they can run on any type of personal computer, workstation, or mainframe computer. This cross-platform capability, referred to as "write once, run everywhere," has caught the attention of many software developers and users. This concept is what initially pushed Java to the forefront in the IT world, and it is certainly attractive because it promises reusability across platforms. You can think of J2EE as simply extending this idea to the server.
Applications that are written in Java are usually embedded in Web pages, or documents, and can be run by clicking on them with a mouse. When an applet is run from a Web page, a copy of the application program is sent to the user's computer over the Internet and stored in the computer's main memory. The advantage of this method is that once an applet has been downloaded, it can be interacted with in real time by the user. This is in contrast to other programming languages used to write Web documents and interactive programs, in which the document or program is run from the server computer.