Lotus According to a White Paper by JAVA developer James Gosling, "Java is a programming language and environment that was designed to solve a number of problems in modern programming practice." Originally called Oak, Java was developed as part of the Green Project at Sun Microsystems Inc. in the early 1990 s. The original development team, which included Gosling, Patrick Naughton and Mike Sheridan, were charged with trying to figure out the next wave of computer technology. Part of that charge was to design a technology that could integrate electronic consumer devices using a standard programming language. Java is based on the idea that the same software should be able to run on a variety of computers and other electronic devices. Before Java, programmers had to look at each and every device and design their products based on the programming that was being used.

Java can be used on PCs, MacIntosh's, and other devices. The Java platform was also designed to run programs safely with existing systems on networks. The first major use of Java on the Internet was the use of "applets." An applet is a Java application that is run inside an HTML Web page. Before Java Web pages were static and boring and Java allowed these applets to perform special text or graphic effects. Java is also responsible for allowing users to access their personal information and do online banking and bill pay via the Internet. The Java language is now the fastest growing programming language in computer history.

The success of Java is due to its design goals, which includes simplicity, object orientation (OO), architecture independence, networking, distributed architecture, and security. The simplicity of Java results from being easily learned by programmers who are familiar with C and C++. Those programs often had errors such as memory management that were fixed with Java. Architectural impend ence was a key issue for programmers of Java since its applications are portable.

Security was another key issue and Java technology has built-in security management. For all potentially dangerous commands such as deleting a file, the program will ask the Security Manager if the action is permitted. This is especially critical when downloading from the Internet. Java technology comprises of three major components: Java programming language, Java interpreter or Java Virtual Machine, and Java platform.

Java programming language is easily learned, very powerful and uses object-oriented language. Java Virtual Machine (JVM) executes Java applications, and Java platform consists of "packages" which provides graphics, networking and security. To learn Java there are many books and instruction guides available besides taking courses at local educational institutions, and the Java/Sun Web site has tutorials from beginners to area specific. To learn directly from the developer the best bet may be to start at Java. sun. com.

Lesson One is "Your First Cup of Java" and breaks it down for Window, Mac and Linux/UNIX users. In this lesson it gives instructions for creating your first application to include creating a Java source file, compiling a source file and running the program. From there it teaches how to create an applet. It appeared to be fairly easy to understand but problems with my computer preventing me from downloading the applications. To get information from books there are literally thousands to choose from. Barnes and Noble lists more than two thousand books with Java as a keyword.

If you sort these out by latest publication date, more than thirty are not even available yet and are set to hit the bookstores from November until January 2004. One site that was quite helpful was the John Hopkins University Engineering and Applied Science Web site that has a section on "Recommended Java and Web Programming Books." It frankly states that there are many books on the market and many are tempting to entry-level programmers such as "Java by Dummies" or "Teach Yourself Java 1. 2 (Written in 21 Days) " but they are not worthwhile and are really quite "bad." Another dilemma it states is that there are so many different categories for Java that it can get quite confusing for those looking for basic Java. On this Web site the writer breaks down recommended books into several categories from "Gentle Tutorials" to "Network Programming" to "Cobra and RMI." For the beginner and first-time programmer the author recommends "Java: An Introduction to Computer Science and Programming" by Walter Sav itch.

This is the author's favorite book and he states that it includes sections on Java's approach to loops, conditionals and strings. Another recommended book is "Problem Solving With Java" by Elliot B. Koffman and Ursula Wolf and includes general programming strategies. The third book is " Introduction to Programming Using Java: An Object-Oriented Approach" by David M. Arrow and Gerald Weiss. The distinguishing characteristic of this book is the focus of objects and introduces basic object orientation (OO).

After sifting through dozens of Web pages dedicated to Java and the various Java applications, I would recommend first going to Java. Sun. com and going through the tutorials and the books offered in the Java Series Store. Most of the Web is written in language for the average person and there is even a live chat discussion offered every other week on a variety of Java topics.

As to books I would first go through the ones recommended by John Hopkins. The people who recommend books should be the ones who actually use the products and on this site it appears that the programmers know what they are talking about. For the past decade, Java has been the answer to programmers' nightmare of trying to match systems with applications. It is not only compatible to almost every system but is fairly easy to use to.

Reference list: Focus on Java http: java. about. com/ "Original Java White Paper by James Gosling"Overview of Java Technology"Official Unofficial Java History" Internet article by William Wagers Recommended Java and Web Programming Books, http: web > "The Java Saga" Internet article by David Bank web > Java Website web > web.