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Ivor Horton

Ivor HortonIvor Horton, author of the highly successful Beginning Java series of books, and the upcoming Beginning Java 2 - JDK 1.3 Version, talks to us about the Java language. He also discusses some of the most significant changes he sees over the past twelve months, and what the future holds in store for us all in the next version.

Q: What has been the biggest development within the Java Community in the last 12 months?

A: It's hard to single out one development as being the biggest - there have been so many. For me I see the confirmation and reinforcement of Java as a major application development tool. This derives from several recent advances in Java technology:-

  • the functionality provided by Java 2
  • the layered structuring of the Java development environments from the Enterprise Edition down through the Standard Edition to the Micro Edition.
  • the continuing general improvement in Java execution performance

Q: What are the advantages working with Java, as opposed to working with other technologies?

A: I would pick three major advantages that I believe Java offers over other programming technologies:-

  • The write-once run anywhere capability that is implicit in Java. The same code will run under Windows 98/NT, Solaris, Unix in a variety of flavors including Linux, plus mainframe operating systems. No other programming technology offers this.
  • A programming language with virtually none of the 'gotchas' of apparently (and superficially) similar object-oriented languages.
  • A set of coherent class libraries that span a truly remarkable spectrum of application function - supporting text, graphics, image processing, sound, networking, plus many others. I'm not sure there is an equivalent in any other context, and definitely not for free.

Q: What is the fundamental difference between JDK 1.2 and JDK 1.3?

A: While there is a whole range of incremental improvements to the capabilities that already exist in JDK 1.2, the Sound API is a major step change in functionality. You now have in JDK 1.3 a comprehensive facility for recording and replaying sounds in a wide variety of audio formats. It also provides you with extensive support for MIDI including a software synthesizer. Of course, the Sound API underpins the Java Media Framework, too.

Q: Ivor Horton, thank you for your insight into changes to the Java platform. Ivor's latest book, "Beginning Java 2 - JDK 1.3 Version" is now available from retailers, and published by Wrox Press.

Interview Copyright 2000 Wrox Press. Used with permission.

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Last updated: Monday, June 05, 2006