Sabtu, 04 Oktober 2008

Object-Oriented Programming

At the center of Java is object-oriented programming (OOP). The object-oriented methodology
is inseparable from Java, and all Java programs are, to at least some extent, object-oriented. Because of OOP’s importance to Java, it is useful to understand OOP’s basic principles before you write even a simple Java program.

OOP is a powerful way to approach the job of programming. Programming methodologies have changed dramatically since the invention of the computer, primarily to accommodate the increasing complexity of programs. For example, when computers were first invented, programming was done by toggling in the binary machine instructions using the computer’s front panel. As long as programs were just a few hundred instructions long, this approach worked. As programs grew, assembly language was invented so that a programmer could deal with larger, increasingly complex programs, using symbolic representations of the machine
instructions. As programs continued to grow, high-level languages were introduced that gave the programmer more tools with which to handle complexity. The first widespread language
was, of course, FORTRAN. Although FORTRAN was a very impressive first step, it is hardly a language that encourages clear, easy-to-understand programs.

The 1960s gave birth to structured programming. This is the method encouraged by
languages such as C and Pascal. The use of structured languages made it possible to write moderately complex programs fairly easily. Structured languages are characterized by their support for stand-alone subroutines, local variables, rich control constructs, and their lack of reliance upon the GOTO. Although structured languages are a powerful tool, even they reach
their limit when a project becomes too large.

Consider this: At each milestone in the development of programming, techniques and tools
were created to allow the programmer to deal with increasingly greater complexity. Each step of the way, the new approach took the best elements of the previous methods and moved forward. Prior to the invention of OOP, many projects were nearing (or exceeding) the point where the structured approach no longer works. Object-oriented methods were created to help
programmers break through these barriers.

Object-oriented programming took the best ideas of structured programming and combined them with several new concepts. The result was a different way of organizing a program. In the most general sense, a program can be organized in one of two ways: around its code (what is happening) or around its data (what is being affected). Using only structured programming techniques, programs are typically organized around code. This approach can be thought of as “code acting on data.” Object-oriented programs work the other way around. They are organized around data,
with the key principle being “data controlling access to code.” In an object-oriented language, you define the data and the routines that are permitted to act on that data. Thus, a data type defines precisely what sort of operations can be applied to that data.

To support the principles of object-oriented programming, all OOP languages, including Java, have three traits in common: encapsulation, polymorphism, and inheritance.

Kamis, 02 Oktober 2008

Java’s Magic: The Bytecode

The key that allows Java to solve both the security and the portability problems just described is that the output of a Java compiler is not executable code. Rather, it is bytecode. Bytecode is a highly optimized set of instructions designed to be executed by the Java run-time system, which is called the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). That is, the Java Virtual Machine is an interpreter for bytecode. This may come as a bit of a surprise. As you know, most modern languages, such as C++, are designed to be compiled, not interpreted—mostly because of performance concerns. However, the fact that a Java program is executed by the JVM helps solve the major problems associated with downloading programs over the Internet. Here is why. Translating a Java program into bytecode makes it much easier to run a program in a wide variety of environments. The reason is straightforward: only the Java Virtual Machine needs to be implemented for each platform. Once the run-time package exists for a given system, any Java program can run on it. Remember that although the details of the JVM will differ from platform to platform, all understand the same Java bytecode. If a Java program were compiled to native code, then different versions of the same program would have to exist for each type of CPU connected to the Internet. This is, of course, not a feasible solution. Thus, the interpretation of bytecode is the easiest way to create truly portable programs.

The fact that a Java program is interpreted also helps make it secure. Because the execution of every Java program is under the control of the JVM, the JVM can contain the program and prevent it from generating side effects outside the system. Safety is also enhanced by certain restrictions that exist in the Java language.

When a program is interpreted, it generally runs substantially slower than the same program would run if compiled to executable code. However, with Java, the differential between the two is not so great. The use of bytecode makes it possible for the Java run-time system to execute programs much faster than you might expect.

Although Java was designed for interpretation, there is technically nothing about Java that prevents on-the-fly compilation of bytecode into native code. For this reason, Sun began supplying its HotSpot technology not long after Java’s initial release. HotSpot provides a JIT (Just In Time) compiler for bytecode. When a JIT compiler is part of the JVM, it compiles bytecode into executable code in real time, on a piece-by-piece, demand basis. It is important to understand that it is not possible to compile an entire Java program into executable code all
at once because Java performs various checks that can be performed only at run time. Instead, the JIT compiles code as it is needed, during execution. Furthermore, not all sequences of bytecode are compiled—only those that will benefit from compilation. The remaining code is simply interpreted. The just-in-time approach still yields a significant performance boost, though. Even when dynamic compilation is applied to bytecode, the portability and safety features will still apply, because the run-time system (which performs the compilation) will still be in charge of the execution environment.

Rabu, 01 Oktober 2008

Java’s Contribution to the Internet

The Internet helped catapult Java to the forefront of programming, and Java, in turn, has had a profound effect on the Internet. The reason for this is quite simple: Java expands the universe of objects that can move about freely in cyberspace. In a network, there are two very broad categories of objects that are transmitted between the server and your personal computer: passive information and dynamic, active programs. For example, when you read your e-mail, you are viewing passive data. Even when you download a program, the program’s code is still
only passive data until you execute it. However, a second type of object can be transmitted to your computer: a dynamic, self-executing program. Such a program is an active agent on the client computer, yet it is initiated by the server. For example, a program might be provided by the server to properly display the data that it is sending.

As desirable as dynamic, networked programs are, they also present serious problems in the areas of security and portability. Prior to Java, cyberspace was effectively closed to half of the entities that now live there. As you will see, Java addresses those concerns and, in doing so, has defined a new form of program: the applet.

Java Applets

An applet is a special kind of Java program that is designed to be transmitted over the Internet and automatically executed by a Java-compatible Web browser. Furthermore, an applet is downloaded on demand, just like an image, sound file, or video clip. The important difference is that an applet is an intelligent program, not just an animation or media file. In other words, an applet is a program that can react to user input and dynamically change—not just run the same animation or sound over and over.

As exciting as applets are, they would be nothing more than wishful thinking if Java were not able to address the two fundamental problems associated with them: security and portability. Before continuing, let’s define what these two terms mean relative to the Internet.


As you are almost certainly aware, every time you download a “normal” program, you are risking a viral infection. Prior to Java, most users did not download executable programs frequently, and those that did, scanned them for viruses prior to execution. Even so, most users still worried about the possibility of infecting their systems with a virus or allowing a malicious program to run wild in their systems. (A malicious program might gather private information, such as credit card numbers, bank account balances, and passwords by searching the contents
of your computer’s local file system.) Java answers these concerns by providing a firewall between a networked application and your computer.

When using a Java-compatible web browser, it is possible to safely download Java applets without fear of viral infection. The way that Java achieves this is by confining a Java program to the Java execution environment and not allowing it access to other parts of the computer. (You will see how this is accomplished, shortly.) Frankly, the ability to download applets with confidence that no harm will be done to the client computer is the single most important aspect of Java.

As discussed earlier, many types of computers and operating systems are connected to the Internet. For programs to be dynamically downloaded to all of the various types of platforms, some means of generating portable executable code is needed. As you will soon see, the same mechanism that helps ensure security also helps create portability. Indeed, Java’s solution to these two problems is both elegant and efficient.

How Java Relates to C#

Recently a new language called C# has come on the scene. Created by Microsoft to support its .NET Framework, C# is closely reated to Java. In fact, many of C#’s features were directly adapted from Java. Both Java and C# share the same general C++-style syntax, support distributed programming, and utilize the same object model. There are, of course, differences between Java and C#, but the overall “look and feel” of these languages is very similar. This
means that if you already know C#, then learning Java will be especially easy. Conversely, if C# is in your future, then your knowledge of Java will come in handy.

Given the similarity between Java and C#, one might naturally ask, “Will C# replace Java?” The answer is No. Java and C# are optimized for two different types of computing environments. Just as C++ and Java will co-exist for a long time to come, so will C# and Java.

Selasa, 30 September 2008

How Java Relates to C and C++

Java is directly related to both C and C++. Java inherits its syntax from C. Its object model is adapted from C++. Java’s relationship with C and C++ is important for several reasons. First,
many programmers are familiar with the C/C++ syntax. This makes it easy for a C/C++ programmer to learn Java and, conversely, for a Java programmer to learn C/C++.

Second, Java’s designers did not “reinvent the wheel.” Instead, they further refined an
already highly successful programming paradigm. The modern age of programming began with C. It moved to C++, and now to Java. By inheriting and building upon that rich heritage, Java provides a powerful, logically consistent programming environment that takes the best of the past and adds new features required by the online environment. Perhaps most important, because of their similarities, C, C++, and Java define a common, conceptual framework for
the professional programmer. Programmers do not face major rifts when switching from one language to another.

One of the central design philosophies of both C and C++ is that the programmer is in charge! Java also inherits this philosophy. Except for those constraints imposed by the Internet environment, Java gives you, the programmer, full control. If you program well, your program reflect it. If you program poorly, your programs reflect that, too. Put differently, Java is not a language with training wheels. It is a language for professional programmers.

Java has one other attribute in common with C and C++: it was designed, tested, and refined
by real, working programmers. It is a language grounded in the needs and experiences of the people who devised it. There is no better way to produce a top-flight professional programming language.

Because of the similarities between Java and C++, especially their support for objectoriented programming, it is tempting to think of Java as simply the “Internet version of C++.” However, to do so would be a mistake. Java has significant practical and philosophical differences. Although Java was influenced by C++, it is not an enhanced version of C++. For example, it is neither upwardly nor downwardly compatible with C++. Of course, the similarities with C++ are significant, and if you are a C++ programmer, you will feel right at home with Java.

Another point: Java was not designed to replace C++. Java was designed to solve a certain set of problems. C++ was designed to solve a different set of problems. Both will coexist for many years to come.

Sabtu, 20 September 2008

The Origins of Java

Computer language innovation is driven forward by two factors: improvements in the art of programming and changes in the computing environment. Java is no exception. Building upon the rich legacy inherited from C and C++, Java adds refinements and features that reflect the current state of the art in programming. Responding to the rise of the online environment, Java offers features that streamline programming for a highly distributed architecture.

Java was conceived by James Gosling, Patrick Naughton, Chris Warth, Ed Frank, and Mike Sheridan at Sun Microsystems in 1991. This language was initially called “Oak” but was renamed “Java” in 1995. Somewhat surprisingly, the original impetus for Java was not the Internet! Instead, the primary motivation was the need for a platform-independent language that could be used to create software to be embedded in various consumer electronic devices, such as toasters, microwave ovens, and remote controls. As you can probably guess, many different types of CPUs are used as controllers. The trouble was that most computer languages are designed to be compiled for a specific target. For example, consider C++.

Although it is possible to compile a C++ program for just about any type of CPU, to do so requires a full C++ compiler targeted for that CPU. The problem, however, is that compilers are expensive and time-consuming to create. In an attempt to find a better solution, Gosling and others worked on a portable, cross-platform language that could produce code that would run on a variety of CPUs under differing environments. This effort ultimately led to the creation of Java.

About the time that the details of Java were being worked out, a second, and ultimately more important, factor emerged that would play a crucial role in the future of Java. This second force was, of course, the World Wide Web. Had the Web not taken shape at about the same time that Java was being implemented, Java might have remained a useful but obscure language for programming consumer electronics. However, with the emergence of the Web, Java was propelled to the forefront of computer language design, because the Web, too, demanded portable programs.

Most programmers learn early in their careers that portable programs are as elusive as they are desirable. While the quest for a way to create efficient, portable (platform-independent) programs is nearly as old as the discipline of programming itself, it had taken a back seat to other, more pressing problems. However, with the advent of the Internet and the Web, the old problem of portability returned with a vengeance. After all, the Internet consists of a diverse, distributed universe populated with many types of computers, operating systems, and CPUs. 

What was once an irritating but a low-priority problem had become a high-profile necessity. By 1993 it became obvious to members of the Java design team that the problems of portability frequently encountered when creating code for embedded controllers are also found when attempting to create code for the Internet. This realization caused the focus of Java to switch from consumer electronics to Internet programming. So, while it was the desire for an architecture-neutral programming language that provided the initial spark, it was the Internet that ultimately led to Java’s large-scale success.

Kamis, 18 September 2008

The Second Java Revolution

Java 2 Platform Standard Edition, version 5 (J2SE 5) marks the beginning of the second Java revolution. J2SE 5 adds many new features to Java that fundamentally change the character of the language, increasing both its power and its range. So profound are these additions that they will forever alter the way that Java code is written. J2SE 5 is a revolutionary force that cannot be ignored.
To give you an idea of the scope of the changes caused by J2SE 5, here is a list of its major new features covered in this book:
● Generics
● Autoboxing/unboxing
● Enumerations
● The enhanced, “for-each” style for loop
● Variable-length arguments (varargs)
● Static import
● Metadata (annotations)

This is not a list of minor tweaks or incremental upgrades. Each item in the list represents a significant addition to the Java language. Some, such as generics, the enhanced for, and varargs, introduce new syntax elements. Others, such as autoboxing and auto-unboxing, alter the semantics of the language. Metadata adds an entirely new dimension to programming. In all cases, substantial functionality has been added. 
The importance of these new features is reflected in the use of the version number 5. The next version number for Java would normally have been 1.5. However, the changes and new features are so significant that a shift from 1.4 to 1.5 just didn’t seem to express the magnitude of the change. Instead, Sun elected to increase the version number to 5 as a way of emphasizing that a major event was taking place. Thus, the current product is called J2SE 5, and the developer’s kit is called JDK 5. However, in order to maintain consistency, Sun decided to use 1.5 as its internal version number. Thus, 5 is the external version number and 1.5 is the internal version number.

Because of Sun’s use of 1.5 as the internal version number, when you ask the compiler its version, it will respond with 1.5 rather than 5. Also, the online documentation supplied by Sun uses 1.5 to refer to features added by the J2SE 5. In general, whenever you see 1.5, it simply means 5.