Java on the Web

As would be expected with a language that started on the Web, there are numerous Web pages devoted to Java. Here are some sites that I've found to be worth a look.

Sun's Java site and Java Developer site

The former is Sun's home for Java on the Web. Because Sun developed Java, this is always the place to start for the latest and greatest information. When you want documentation on, for example, Java APIs, you know that here you're getting the word straight from the horse's mouth. While the main Java site is intended for everyone, the latter site is just for Java developers. Here you can find announcements and events, "What's New," and other information just for you.


Gamelan used to be the repository of many of the best applets on the Web. It was acquired by EarthWeb, and was swallowed up into It's still a good place to find articles written about Java by those who are currently using it, and you can also find other people's applets that you can download and use on your pages (depending on the license). While it still keeps a place in my list of Java bookmarks, it's not the site that it used to be.

The Java Review Service (JARS)

If, after reading this book, you write an applet that is just so new and wonderful you want the world to know about it, submit your page to JARS for evaluation. Applets are judged on quality and innovation. If you make the grade, you'll get a link from their site to yours, and a badge you can display to show that you are now a Java wiz. You can even apply to be one of the judges!

Then again, if you're still looking for examples to help you make your applets sing and dance, you can also check out other people's code here to see exactly how the wizards did it.

Café au Lait

Every technology needs a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page; Java's can be found at Café au Lait. The site is maintained by author Elliotte Rusty Harold, and includes a great list of Java news and resources, although the FAQ itself is somewhat out of date. If you're interested in XML, you can visit Café au Lait's sister site Café con Leche, where you'll find news and resources about all things XML.

Java Zone

The Java Zone is an informative site that is part of the portal with tips, tutorials, and articles about Java (as well as many other languages and technologies). Be sure to filter their articles through their pro-Microsoft bias, though. Sourcebank, their Java source code library, has a handy search interface as well as browsable categories with hundreds of downloadable examples and applications.

IBM alphaWorks

alphaWorks is a unique site provided by IBM. IBM's developers make their "alpha code" for newly developed technologies available for download before they are licensed or integrated into products. This gives you a chance to take a look at potential products from IBM for free during their development cycle. You must agree to the alphaWorks license agreement to get access to downloads, but it's a great place to find interesting and useful Java applications.

Online Magazines

Early in Java's development, several of the usual magazine companies tried to start up new publications to serve the Java developer community. Most of them later fell victim to "Internet time"--in the lag between the articles being completed by the author and the magazine arriving in the readers' hands, weeks had passed, and those Web-savvy Java developers had long since read the news online. While a few Java publications are still selling print subscriptions, all of the following also have active Web sites.

Javaworld Magazine

The last survivor of the big-time publishers' attempts at Java magazines, this is now an online-only publication from IDG. Monthly and bimonthly columns include How-To Java, Java Developer, Cool Tools, Enterprise Java, Java 101, Java Q & A, and Java Tips.

Java Developer's Journal

An annual subscription to the Java Developer's Journal is $50, or you can get a trial issue for $12. The digital edition is available to subscribers only, but many features and editorials are publicly available for viewing online.

Java Pro

Java Pro is another print magazine with some of its content available online. Qualified applicants can get a free subscription to the print version of the magazine; for the rest of us, it's $28/year.

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

Where most languages have compilers, Java (strictly speaking) doesn't. Instead, Java has what are called Integrated Development Environments, or IDEs, which are used to turn your code into something that the computer can understand. Here are the major players (in no particular order).

Metrowerks CodeWarrior for Java

If you want to write Java on the classic Mac OS, CodeWarrior is your only choice, but there's a version for Windows, also. You can download a 30-day trial copy of the Windows version and check it out before you buy the complete package. For Linux, Windows 95 and later and Mac OS 8.6 and later.

Purchase CodeWarrior for Linux 6.0
Purchase CodeWarrior Learning Edition (for Windows)
Purchase CodeWarrior Pro for Java 6 (for Mac)
Purchase CodeWarrior Pro 7 (for Mac/Windows)
Purchase CodeWarrior Pro 7 (for Windows)
Purchase CodeWarrior Pro 7 (for Mac)

Sun Microsystems Forte

This is the IDE from the folks who brought you Java. The "Community Edition" is available for free, and the "Enterprise Edition" is available for a 60-day free trial. For Solaris 8, Windows 98 and later, and Linux.

IBM's VisualAge for Java

VisualAge for Java was the winner of the Java Developer's Journal Readers' Choice Award in 2001. There is a free "Entry Edition" that you can download to try it out. For Windows 98 and later and Linux.

Purchase Visualage for Java Professional Edition 3.5 Program Pack (for Windows)
Purchase Visualage for Java Professional Edition 4.0 Program Pack (Multi-platform)
Purchase Visualage for Java Enterprise Edition 3.5 Program Pack
Purchase Visualage for Java Enterprise Edition 4.0 Program Pack

Inprise's Borland JBuilder 6

JBuilder was awarded "Best in Show" by the readers of JavaPro and is one of the few IDEs that can be run on a Mac (OS X only). You can also download a free "Personal" version of the previous version of JBuilder to use as long as you like (just not for commercial purposes). For Windows 2000 and later, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X 10.1 and later.

Purchase Borland JBuilder 6 Personal
Purchase Borland JBuilder 6 Pro
Purchase Borland JBuilder 6 Enterprise

WebGain Visual Café

In March 2000, Symantec spun off a new company (WebGain) to focus on Java development tools, and Symantec Visual Café became WebGain Visual Café. It's still a good visual tool for Java development. The Standard Edition is a great environment for learning Java. Visual Café provides productivity wizards and utilities as well as a two-way drag-and-drop interface that keeps the code and the visual designer always in synch, producing source code in real-time. For Windows NT/2000.

Purchase Visual Café Expert Suite 4.5.2
Purchase Visual Café Enterprise Suite 4.5.2

Apple ProjectBuilder

If you own Mac OS X 10.1 or later, you've already got a copy of ProjectBuilder, Apple's multi-language IDE, as it's included with every full version of OS X. Combined with Apple's InterfaceBuilder (also included), it's worth a spin. For Mac OS X 10.1 and later.

Java Books

The book you're looking at now is just an introductory text--there's a lot more to this language! Here are a few of the best books to check out if you want to take the next step on the path to Java expertise.

Java in a Nutshell

Now in its fourth edition, this book has everything you always wanted to know about Java but didn't even know where to begin to ask. Written by David Flanagan, Java in a Nutshell is a great reference when you need the exact syntax of that one method.

Java Examples in a Nutshell

This book is a companion guide to the previous volume, and is also written by David Flanagan. While Java in a Nutshell is an excellent reference, it has virtually no examples. This book makes up for that lack, though the examples assume that you're starting with some programming background.

Core Java 2, Volume 1: Fundamentals and Core Java 2, Volume 2: Advanced Features

Volume 1, by Cay Horstmann and Gary Cornell, has been fully updated for JDK 1.3 and has completely revised coverage of object-oriented development and Swing classes. It also has very good GUI coverage. Many people buy the first volume while they are learning Java and then get volume two when they want to learn more about enterprise Java development.

The Elements of Java Style

I find that I return to this book again and again. It is an excellent style guide. Your code will really benefit if you follow these suggestions--especially if you are working with other developers. Applying the principles in this little book will make your life easier as well as help you to write understandable and maintainable code.

Graphic Java 1.2, Mastering the JFC: AWT, Volume 1 and Graphic Java 2, Volume 2, Swing

The first volume in this set by David M. Geary tells you everything you need to know about the AWT, including an in-depth look at each of the layout managers. If you're working with the AWT, you'll need this book. If you plan to develop any kind of Java application with a GUI, you'll definitely want to own the second volume as well. In it, Geary starts from the ground and works his way up through every aspect of developing an interface with the Swing API.

Mr. Bunny's Big Cup o' Java

Yes, this book (by Carlton Egremont III) really does exist. In it, Mr. Bunny enters saying "Hello World!" and proceeds to attempt to teach Farmer Jake all about Java. While reading this book won't teach you (or Farmer Jake) much, it's great reading when taking short breaks from other, drier books. And you can be proud of yourself that you understand all the in-jokes for geeks.


In the far distant past, there was one newsgroup, and virtually overnight it became extremely busy. Consequently, it was split up into many little Java newsgroups, most of which are carried by most news servers.

The following is a list of the newsgroups that Google carries. Your news server may not carry all of these, but it may also carry some that aren't here.

Cross-Platform Issues

The original promise of Java was "Write Once, Run Anywhere." Here are two sites that have little in common except a strong commitment to that philosophy.

Apple Java Developer Pages

If you're developing Java applets or applications where you want Mac compatibility, you need to check out this site. While Sun handles Java for Unix and Wintel systems, Apple has the sole responsibility for updating Java on the Mac. Consequently, it always seems to be a little behind and a little slow. However, you should at least try out your programs on the Mac to be absolutely sure that you've handled all the cross-platform issues. This site includes news and a link to Apple's java-dev email list.

The Java Lobby

These are the folks fighting the good fight for an open and standard Java. For them, 99% pure Java just isn't quite good enough. This is an excellent resource site for finding out what all the fuss and lawsuits are about.

Last updated: Monday, April 8, 2002
This site © Dori Smith 2002