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Java users reveal their habit

Readers report high hopes for Java. Better tools a common request

By Michael O'Connell

October  1995
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In our July 1995 feature story "Java: The inside story," we called upon SunWorld Online readers to detail their level of addiction to the language that aspires to transform the Web into the application platform of choice.

Though unscientific, the poll -- which generated nearly 200 responses -- reveals a fair amount of interest in Java applets. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they're developing Java applications now or in the near future. "Now that you've introduced (at least the idea of) Java, I've permanently lost my C++ ambitions," one Java enthusiast proclaims. Another says he's trying to use Java as a replacement for C++. Beyond development, nearly half of the respondents indicated they use the HotJava browser at least occasionally.

The results
How often do you use HotJava (or some other Java-aware Web browser)?

                                                  Percent  number
   It is my primary web browser:                     16.5% ( 31)
   Occasionally:                                     31.4% ( 59)
   Rarely:                                           11.2% ( 21)
   Not at all (at least not yet):                    36.2% ( 68)

When do you plan to DEVELOP Java applications?

   Immediately:                                      36.2% ( 68)
   In the next few months:                           33.5% ( 63)
   In the next year:                                  9.6% ( 18)
   Not in the forseeable future:                     15.4% ( 29)

Number of respondents: 188 Source: SunWorld Online reader survey, July - mid-September, 1995


Reader comments
Sun's Java home page recently hosted a Java applet-writing contest, spiced-up by the chance to win a SPARCstation Voyager. The winning entries offer only begin to illustrate Java's potential. Many of our readers offered comments that shed further light on the types of applications Java may enable and inspire.

Although some respondents were reluctant to discuss their current efforts ("Shhhh ... sorry" and "It's a secret!"), others kindly shared their plans.

As one respondent noted, a key advantage to developing applets today is "to get ahead of the learning curve before the technology takes off." Another reader wrote: "With Java, I can see Web browsers being the Swiss Army knife of Internet tools." Indeed, Java proponents see it as a key to enhancing the Internet's level of interactivity with users.

Java projects in the works include:

Java-based dreamware
We also asked readers to describe what applets they'd request if they had an ace Java developer at their disposal. Their answers may provide added inspiration to others. (Entrepreneurs, take note!) Many users indicated a craving for development tools. Here are some highlights from the list of proposed dreamware:

-- Michael O'Connell

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