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Over the past year, Microsoft Corp. has made a comprehensive, end-to-end investment in Java™ technologies. We were one of the first Java licensees. We delivered what is widely acknowledged as the industry's best virtual machine with Microsoft® Internet Explorer 3.0. We provided robust development tools and cross-platform class libraries that ease Java development. And we are one of the first to provide support for new JDK 1.1 technologies such as JavaBeans™, inner classes, etc.

By making these investments, Microsoft has allowed developers to do two things in Java - create great cross-platform applications and create applications that take full advantage of customers' investments in the Windows® operating system. This strategy provides customers with the freedom to choose how they use Java in their development efforts.

Using Java to Develop Great Cross-Platform Applications
Our strategy is to offer the best basic implementation of Java - and then to build upon that implementation with things like great cross-platform class libraries that enable developers to create the fastest, highest-quality, fully compatible Java applications. Already, we've delivered the following:

  • The Microsoft Virtual Machine for Java, acclaimed by the press and developers as the fastest, safest, most robust and most functional Java execution environment. The Microsoft Virtual Machine is the official Reference Implementation for Windows 95 and the Windows NT® operating system. It's also available for Windows 3.1 and the Macintosh; versions for the Windows CE operating system and UNIX are in development.
  • Microsoft's Application Foundation Classes (AFC) for Java, GUI Libraries and Enterprise Libraries that provide a comprehensive set of building blocks to create commercial-quality Java applications more quickly. These libraries are written in Java and run on any standard implementation of Java.
  • The Microsoft Visual J++™ development tool, the most widely used Java development tool for powerful Java programming, with the fastest Java compiler on the market and robust, integrated debugging.
These contributions enable developers to use Java better and more reliably - yet they're fully compatible with the software and other investments that developers have already made in Java. The result: Commercial and corporate developers can become more productive and successful with Java.

Using Java to Develop Great Windows-Based Applications
Often, developers need a highly integrated solution, one that offers the most power and performance for a specific need or that fully exploits the customer's hardware and software. That's especially true when developers want to take advantage of the rich features in the Microsoft Windows operating system, which powers more than 85 percent of personal computers. Developing with Java specifically for Windows lets developers gain the productivity benefits of coding in Java, plus the benefits of Java on Windows, including:

  • Faster performance, with access to high-performance system services such as the DirectX™ set of APIs for multimedia and the ability to integrate native code for components requiring the highest performance
  • Broader functionality using the rich device support in Windows, including TrueType font support, multiple mouse-button support, printing support, setup, integration with existing applications, access to hardware and system services and access to the Win32® API
  • Easy integration with other applications and tools because of compatibility with ActiveX™ and Component Object Model (COM) technologies
  • Faster and more powerful development, taking advantage of the large existing library of applications and components for Windows and easy interoperability with popular development tools
Microsoft's strategy for Java is to make both of these developer options possible. We've already delivered significantly on this strategy, and we'll continue to do so in the future.

Cornelius Willis is the Director of Platform Marketing for Microsoft Corp.


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