Information Technology Division

Java FAQ

What is Java?

Java is general-purpose programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java can be one of 2 types: applications and applets. Applications are stand alone programs, like any program written using high-level language. Java programs that run from web browser are called applets.

Why is Java called "Java?"

Java programs have the same effect on Webpages that cups of coffee have on human beings: they make them perky, lively, and energetic.

What's so great about Java?

The last time you purchased a computer program, you may have noticed that there are different versions available for each brand of machine: one for Mac, another for IBM, etc. The same Java program works on every kind of computer. Hence the Java programmer's credo: "Write once, run anywhere."

What is the difference between Java and JavaScript?

Well, Javascript is a scripting language that can manipulate many HTML elements and be embedded in a webpage and interpreted as the page is loaded. Java is a general-purpose programming language that relatively isolated from the webpage in which it is embedded and will be executed after page is loaded. Fortunately, we can call Java from JavaScript and can access Javascript from Java.

Where do I buy Java programs?

You don't! Java programs are included in Webpages. When your browser encounters a Webpage with a Java program inside it, it automatically runs the Java program. Sun, the company who invented Java, offers the JDK (Java Developer's Kit) free of charge. The JDK helps you program in Java.

Can my computer catch a virus from running a Java program?

No.

Is Java Difficult?

You don't have to know anything about Java in order to run the Java programs included in other peoples' Webpages. (In fact, you may have already used a Java program without realizing it.) Programming in Java is easier than programming in other computer languages but more difficult than writing HTML code. If you already know one computer language, Java will be relatively easy to pick up, because Java was written by experts with years of experience in hundreds of popular languages. They made an effort to make the Java language similar to these other, previous computer languages. (Java code bears a strong resemblance to C++ code, in particular.)

"Introduction to Java" is the subject of an upper division/graduate course in MTSU's Computer Science Department.

Where can I learn more about Java?

Java was introduced in 1991, and has grown faster than any other language in the history of computers. Because of its speedy proliferation, Java is changed and updated all the time. Even Java "experts" are still learning the nuances of Java, and Java books go out of date almost immediately. For these reasons, the World Wide Web is the best place to turn for up-to-date information on this dynamic language.