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JAVA Developer's Guide

Chapter 40 -- Java Platforms and Extensions

Chapter 40

Java Platforms and Extensions


This chapter takes a look at some of the emerging technologies in the Java world. The primary purpose of the chapter is to give you more insight into what is out there and how to find out more. After you have finished this chapter, you will have a greater awareness of developments in the Java world.

Java-Enabled Browsers

In the current Web browser arena there are a number of different Java-enabled choices. Although some may provide more features than others, this chapter covers only the browser's Java capability. Use this information only as a reference, and contact your vendor for any specific questions.


HotJava is a Web browser coded in Java by Sun. It uses a modular approach to handling different MIME types and application protocols. HotJava is currently available on Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh Powerpc, and UNIX platforms.

For more information, contact

Netscape Navigator

Netscape currently has the largest market share of browsers in use. Conservative estimates show Netscape holding 70% of the market. Netscape's products are currently offered on a number of different platforms.

Netscape Navigator initially began incorporating Java as a browser plug-in. It is now an integral part of the browser that is shipped with release 2.0 and later. Netscape also adopted the JavaScript language into releases later than 2.0.

For more information, contact

Oracle PowerBrowser

The Oracle PowerBrowser provides a number of features such as an integrated Web server, authoring tools, and Java applet support. It also contains a few features that provide database access support. The current platforms supported are Windows, Windows 95, and Windows NT. PowerBrowser also contains its own scripting language, Oracle BASIC.

For more information, contact

Borland's Latte

The need for an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) will become apparent as the Java technology grows. Borland's first attempt at a native Java IDE is Latte.

Latte has begun to be integrated into the Borland C++ compiler utilities, very much like Symantec Espresso. The final product will be completely independent from Borland C++.

For more information, contact

Visual Design

Latte provides the capability to visually represent the Java class hierarchy. Presumably, Latte will eventually provide a Java resource builder.

The Integrated Development Environment

The Integrated Development Environment provides the developer with ready access to an editor, a compiler, a debugger, and more. Latte will provide an IDE for Java development.

Performance Improvements

Latte's compiler claims to be faster and cleaner than Sun's javac compiler. That fact still remains to be proven. However, judging by the speed of the javac compiler, any performance increase would be greatly appreciated.

Symantec's Café

Symantec's version of the Java IDE began by integrating with the preexisting Symantec C++ IDE, called Symantec Espresso. Eventually, the product became completely disjointed from the C++ library and changed its name to Café.

Café claimed to do everything that Latte promised; however, Symantec delivered on its promises faster than Borland. As a result, Café hit the market before Latte, delivering a native Java code IDE and compiler that is a bit faster than javac.

For more information, contact

Database Extensions

Probably the most powerful Java database solution is Sun's JDBC (Java database connectivity). The JDBC is based on the X/Open SQL call-level interface (CLI), which is the same model used to design ODBC.

Via a class interface, Java applications can access database information through a SQL interface. By using an ODBC-type mechanism, the programmer will not have to worry about database-specific issues. Several companies have endorsed the JDBC.

For more information, contact

VRML Extensions with Iced Java/Liquid Reality

VRML stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language. VRML was designed as a standard to create 3D worlds. A VRML file contains all the object information needed to create a virtual world. In order for an application to display the virtual world defined in a VRML file, the application needs two components: a three-dimensional modeling engine and a VRML interpreter.

Three-Dimensional Modeling

One of the commercially available 3D modeling engine libraries for Java is called Iced Java. Iced Java, by Dimension X, provides Java with the capability to display and render 3D objects. Iced Java utilizes a native code engine to perform the actual 3D modeling and rendering, and an interface is provided to allow Java access to the engine.

Iced Java and Liquid Reality

As mentioned before, VRML is a language designed to create a virtual world. To facilitate the display of the VRML defined world, a 3D display engine must be teamed with a VRML interpreter. This is exactly what Dimension X did to create its Liquid Reality product. Iced Java is driven by Liquid Reality to generate the VRML-defined world.

For more information, contact


The Java products identified in this chapter represent only a small sample of the products that have been introduced at the time this book is being written. New platforms and extensions to Java will continue to be developed. For more information on Java and Java-related products, consult the author's Web page at