Java Applet – Learning Series


Java applet is an applet delivered to users in the form of Java bytecode. Java applets can be part of a web page and executed by the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in a process separate from the web browser, or run in Sun’s AppletViewer, a stand-alone tool for testing applets. Java applets were introduced in the first version of the Java language in 1995, and are written in programming languages that compile to Java bytecode, usually in Java, but also in other languages such as Jython, JRuby, or Eiffel (via SmartEiffel).

Java applets run at very fast speeds comparable to, but generally slower than, other compiled languages such as C++, but until approximately 2011 many times faster than JavaScript. In addition they can use 3D hardware acceleration that is available from Java. This makes applets well suited for non-trivial, computation intensive visualizations. As browsers have gained support for hardware accelerated graphics thanks to the canvas technology (or specifically WebGL in the case of 3D graphics), as well as just in time compiled JavaScript, the speed difference has become less noticeable.

Since Java’s bytecode is cross-platform or platform independent, Java applets can be executed by browsers for many platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Unix, OS X and Linux. It is also trivial to run a Java applet as an application software with very little extra code so that it can be run directly from the integrated development environment (IDE).

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