Back in 1991, Sun Microsystems was looking into the future in anticipation of the future of computing, and they tasked a team that became know as the "Green Project". Their main focus was to come up with a plan for the future of computing, but what they came out with was something quite unexpected. Under the guidance of James Gosling, a team was locked away in an external site to work on the project that would define Sun's technology direction for the future. Their conclusions pointed toward a future that had computers and digitally controlled devices converging. What they came out with was a language called "Oak", named for the type of tree outside their office window. After failed attempts at selling the technology to the cable industry, the team convened again to determine the future of this new language.
With the realization that the Internet was becoming a good way to move media content, the team took that to heart. What they came out with was a language that would use existing the HTML language, and what it did was revolutionize the Internet, and increase its use dramatically. In 1993, after an easy-to-use front-end to the web called Mosaic showed many that the Internet had many possibilities, the team knew that Java was the right fit for the Industry. Within a few years Java came to be just the technology that it was intended to be. With the development and acceptance of Java, it soon became apparent that it had been created with several key things in mind. To start with, Java had the capability of being architecture independent, which was truly a look into the future, since today we have so many different ways of accessing the Internet.
It was able to do this using the compiler known as Java Virtual Machine (JVM) in order to interpret the language on the user's machine, thereby eliminating the issue of varied user platforms. Because Java looked very similar to C and C++, it was easy to learn, which help it to gain acceptance within the programming community fairly quickly. In addition, since the code was put out to the Internet as freeware and all were welcome to help the make the code cleaner, it helped to gain credibility. With its use of classes, Java is object-oriented, which also gives it the advantage of being a concept that is widely understood and adhered to. In addition, Java is portable, which means that in theory it will work with virtually all types of devices, including PC's, handheld, and laptops, to name a few. Lastly, Java is distributed which means that programs have the flexibility of using objects that reside on different web servers, and it us secure, especially since you have foreign Internet code running on user's machines.
Although Java has its benefits, it can also be said that it has its drawbacks. One of the biggest drawbacks for programmers is that it provides single inheritance versus multiple inheritance for other programming languages. Another issue is that Java programs often use more memory than programs written in lower-level languages, while many times the performance of Java can be varied. I addition, something that the user may find unattractive is that GUI applications that have been written in Java can be unpredictable visually, as well as not looking like the native applications. With that said, the type of growth Java has had since its inception can be nothing short of amazing, not to mention the impact it had on the Internet. So it continues to be used by programmers all over the world, especially if your looking for a dynamic and robust web site.
Once the Java is compiled, it is set. Sure, you can go back to the original text and alter it, but then you need to compile again. As for Java applets, they run independent of the HTML document that is calling them. Sure, they appear on the page, but the HTML document did little more than call for the application and place it. If the programmer allows it, you can set parameters in the HTML document. This includes the background color of the applet of the type of text it displays, etc.