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Nothing Special

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Java has caused more excitement than any development on the Internet since Mosaic. Everyone, it seems, is talking about it. Unfortunately very few people seem to know anything about it. This tutorial is designed to change that.

People are excited about Java because of what it lets them do. Java was the first way to include inline sound and animation in a web page. Java also lets users interact with a web page. Instead of just reading it and perhaps filling out a form, users can now play games, calculate spreadsheets, chat in realtime, get continuously updated data and much, much more.

Here are just a few of the many things Java can do for a web page:

Inline sounds that play in realtime whenever a user loads a page

Music that plays in the background on a page

Cartoon style animations

Realtime video

Multiplayer interactive games

However Java is more than just a web browser with special features. All of these features can be integrated into browsers in other ways. Although HotJava was the first browser to include inline sound and animation, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 2.0 and Netscape Navigator 2.0 support these features in several different ways. What makes Java special?

Java is a programming language for distributed applications. It doesn't just allow you to add new types of content to your pages like Netscape and Internet Explorer do. Rather it lets you add both the content and the code necessary to interact with that content. You no longer need to wait for the next release of a browser that supports your preferred image format or special game protocol. With Java you send browsers both the content and the program necessary to view this content at the same time!

Let's think about what this means for a minute. Previously you had to wait for all the companies that make the web browsers your readers use to update their browsers before you could use a new content type. Then you had to hope that all your readers actually did update their browsers. Java compatibility is a feature that any browser can implement and by so doing implement every feature!

For instance let's say you want to use EPS files on your Web site. Previously you had to



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