While the Web has created a cross-platform interface to text and graphics, the most interesting applications of the Web are interactive. This new 235-page report from CTR examines the benefits and disadvantages of Sun Microsystems' Java. This information will assist information systems (IS) managers in planning, implementing, and evaluating effective Internet and intranet applications.
What Is Java?
While the Web was busily hyperlinking information and making it available worldwide with great success, its limitations as a two-way medium were easily recognized. Interactivity with Web pages was limited to sending E-mail to Web site administrators.
Enter Java, a cross-platform programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java is the leading tool available for developing interactive applications. Small Java programs called applets can be embedded in Web pages, downloaded, and executed on the user's system, regardless of the user's operating system (OS).
CTR's new Java Strategies: High-performance Application Development for the Internet and Intranets report examines Java's potential and its drawbacks, including problems with execution speed in current implementations. The report offers an in-depth comparison of Java and Microsoft's ActiveX, as well as a description of Java's security framework.
Java represents a paradigm shift in computing from static software to dynamically delivered applications with true cross-platform compatibility. Although Java is not a panacea, it is a powerful tool with promise.
Java Applications on the Server
While Java applets are relatively popular on the Web, server-side Java is being used increasingly to develop impressive applications on the server side. The use of Java alleviates the need for Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripts and eliminates the concern over users without Java-enabled browsers.
CTR's report explores the advantages and disadvantages of servlets, which are server implementations of Java. Also included is a discussion of Java's relationship to the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) and its effect on server-side Java programs.
Java Development Tools and Software
The Java Development Kit (JDK), a package of Java utilities and development tools, includes an interpreter that enables users to run Java applications. The report discusses future directions of the JDK, including improvements in version 1.1 and personal editions for PCs, network computers (NCs), set-top boxes, and telephones.
The report also covers integrating Java with existing databases and other development tools such as the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and third-party development tools.
JavaBeans, a component architecture for Java applets and applications, extends the power of Java and provides a more dynamic environment. Although very similar to ActiveX, JavaBeans offers platform neutrality and is more compatible with today's distributed network environments. The report offers an in-depth analysis of JavaBeans and its impact on the software market.
Java Security Issues
Java's architecture was designed for security, allowing companies to distribute applets from public Web pages without fear of destroying data on the user's computer. While this provides for a more secure network computing environment, it also limits the functionality of applets.
The report discusses the potential and real security threats of Java. Various security models for applets are covered, as well as considerations for creating secure Java programs for the enterprise.
CTR's Java Strategies: High-performance Application Development for the Internet and Intranets report examines the multitude of Java implementations, from Web-based applets to full-scale applications to smart cards, and will help IS professionals effectively evaluate the role Java should play in their enterprise. [via]