Introducing Java Java has swept the computer industry with its promise to deliver executable content to the vast sea of computers connected to the World Wide Web. Here’s a look at why you’ll want to start developing with this language as soon as you can. In just a few months, Java has moved from the R&D labs at Sun Microsystems to the center stage of the World Wide Web. Never before had a simple programming language garnered so much attention and captured the imaginations of so many software developers and computer users alike so quickly.
Some cynics think that the best part about Java is its name, which is also the reason they think Java gets so much attention in the press. But most experts who follow Web development think that Java is the most significant thing that has been developed or announced for the Web.
Why has Java taken over so quickly? The short answer is found in its platform independence and potential to turn the Web into a much more dynamic and interactive environment—something that is badly needed. Other reasons are because of Java’s similarity to C++ and its support of popular object-oriented programming techniques, making it easier for hundreds of thousands of C and C++ programmers to quickly master Java’s powerful features.
Our goal in this chapter is to set the stage for Java, exploring where this language has come from and where it is going. We’ll introduce the key features of Java, give you some insight into why Java was developed in the first place, and examine some of the key similarities between Java and C++. We think it is important to spend as much time as possible looking at Java through the lenses of a C++ programmer because the syntax and object-oriented features are very similar.