New to Java? We'll help you get started with our revised beginner's tutorial, or our free online textbook.

Get the latest Java books
h t t p : / /w w w . j a v a c o f f e e b r e a k . c o m /

Java Coffee Break


Learning Java

Author Profiles
Talk Java!

Using Java

Discuss Java

Looking for Java resources? Check out the Java Coffee Break directory!

Java Profiles

Grant Palmer

Grant Palmer, a scientific programmer for the Space Technology Division of the NASA Ames Research Center, is the author of the Java Programmer's Reference. He talks to us about the evolution of the Java platform.

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

A: I think the biggest development over the past 12 months has been the maturation of the Java platform. When Java moved from the 1.0 to 1.1 the change was enormous. You almost had to start over from scratch and re-learn Java. The changes from 1.1 to 1.2 were less dramatic, but with the addition of the Java Foundation Classes (JFC) the changes were still quite extensive. The release of 1.3 this year represents more of a refinement than a revolution. The Sun developers seem to have finalized the basic structure of the Java language. New classes and functionality continue to be added but the overall framework of the language is the same. This is important from the standpoints of continuity and program compatibility.

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

A: In my opinion, the two great strengths of Java are its built-in libraries and the scope of activities that the Java language encompasses. Because of the thousands of classes contained in the Java API, a lot of the low level programming work has already been performed. The libraries also contain the building blocks for a lot of the classes. For instance, if a user wants to create her own type of button she can do so. The second wonderful aspect of Java is the breadth of activities that the language covers. Java can be used for programming tasks ranging from network programming to GUI development to scientific programming. It's also possible to integrate the different disciplines under one language framework. For instance, Java can be used to create a scientific application that accesses the network and features a GUI front end. 

Q: What's the most exciting upcoming Java technology? What need does it address?

A: That's really hard for me to answer because Java is going in so many directions. I'm mostly involved in developing Java programs for scientific applications. The release of the Java 3D 1.2 API allows the generation of three-dimensional visual data. It also allows the transmission of 3D data across different platforms. Much of the numerical analysis in the aerospace and other fields involves 3D data and researchers need the ability to visualize and share this data.

Q: Grant Palmer, thank you for your time. Grant's book, "Java Programmer's Reference" is published by Wrox Press.

Interview Copyright 2000 Wrox Press. Used with permission

Back to main

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 David Reilly

Privacy | Legal | Linking | Advertise!

Last updated: Monday, June 05, 2006