What is Java 2?

Java 2, which is also referred to as J2EE, is a large-scale computing platform designed for organizations that use enterprise-wide systems. Sun Microsystems collaborated with industry partner IBM to simplify this version of Java’s application development for thin client environments.

Java 101

Readers should understand that the Java platform and programming language are totally different. The Java programming language is used to create Java-based components such as applets, servlets and applications. This language is object-oriented and resembles the older language programming language C. Because the Java language is simple, programmers can more easily create robust, flexible and bug-free code. The Java platform refers to the structured set of Java classes used by the previously mentioned components during the Java installation.

Java platforms are sometimes simply referred to as the Java run time environment or the core Java APIs. APIs, or application program interfaces, are groups of tools, protocols and routines for building software applications. These predefined classes are the building blocks of all Java applets, servlets, components and applications. Java classes are categorized into groups called packages that each have specific security, graphics, networking and user interface functions and requirements.

Java Platforms

The word platform means different things to different people. To a software programming, a platform refers to the APIs used to write programs. APIs are dictated by the computer’s operating system, so Unix, Macintosh and Windows programmers will use different sets of APIs. Some people think that Java is an operating system, but it only has similar functions and operations. The Java-based operating system JavaOS is relatively unknown outside of software programmers.

Computer companies like Microsoft compete with Java because programmers prefer the simplified developer environment of Java 2. The flexible Java platform means that programmers are free to choose any operating system to write and develop their Java programs. The Java 2 platform allows programmers to write applications with advanced features for operating systems. Any applications written through a Java platform will run on operating systems that support Java, so Java 2 programmers do not have to create separate versions of their programs for Unix, Macintosh and Windows systems.

Java 2 Elements and Components

The Standard Edition Java 2 Platform comes with a core language package called the Java Development Kit (JDK) and a unique portability technology called Write Once Run Anywhere. Java 2 objects can communicate with older versions of Java objects over the network through the interface broker. The standard interface for Java 2’s database is the Java Database Connectivity 2.0 that includes a security model to protect internal and external data.

Java 2 can fully communicate and integrate with the older Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) server technology used in enterprise environments. Java 2 supports XML through enhanced deployment features and the Java 2 servlet API maintains non-GUI programming consistency. Java Server Pages, which is the equivalent to Microsoft’s Active Server Pages, is used to access and manipulate dynamic data. Java 2’s architecture includes a standard Application Programming Model for multi-tier, thin client applications in companies.

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Java 2 reduces the need for programming and the associated programmer training because the modular components are reusable, standardized and automated.