Downloading Java Compilers and Java-Enabled Browsers
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Downloading the Java Developer's Kit and Java-Enabled Browsers.

Which Java version do you want? You have three main options: the standard edition, the enterprise edition, and the micro edition. The Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) is the basic version for creating regular applications and applets. If you don't know otherwise, this is the version you want. The Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) is the Java version that comes bundled with support for EJB, JMS, JNDI, servlets, JSP, and other enterprise services. The Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), is the Java version for developing programs on small platforms such as cell phones, PDAs, and printers.

Do you want a JDK (SDK) or a JRE? A Java Developer's Kit (JDK) or Software Developer's Kit (SDK) includes a compiler for Java source code (.java files) as well as a runtime engine for Java classes (.class files). A Java Runtime Enviroment (JRE) includes only the runtime engine. If you plan on writing code, then you should download the developers kit (called "JDK" or "SDK", depending on the Java version). If you only need to run Java classes that someone else created, the runtime environment (which is much smaller) is enough.

Assuming you want the standard edition (J2SE), which release do you want? You can download Java's previous version, JDK 1.3 (if you need compatibility with some existing Java product); the current version, JDK 1.4 (the most common choice); or the newest trial version, JDK 1.5 (the Tiger Edition). If you don't have a specific reason to choose otherwise, select JDK 1.4. If you need an older version, you can find it at the Java archive. Note: every version from 1.2 and beyond is known as "Java 2", and contains Java's advanced graphics libraries(Swing and Java 2D).

Bottom line: most developers want JDK 1.4 for the standard edition (J2SE). Most users want JRE 1.4 for the standard edition (J2SE).

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JDK: Java Developer's Kit (Free) Browsers that Support Java

Note that these Java compilers are non-visual, command-line systems. There are plenty of visual Java development environments, but they either cost money or require one of the following compilers to already be installed. See the Java IDEs section for more info. If you are just going to use these compilers without using a full development environment, I strongly recommend getting a good programming editor. See the Java editors section for some good options for Windows, Unix, and MacOS.

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer.
    Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is the latest version of Internet Explorer. This version includes a full installation of the Web browser and the most recent version of Outlook Express, the e-mail client that is included with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer also comes automatically whenever you install windows. Internet Explorer is the most commonly used browser, but does not include support for Java 2. If you want to use Internet Explorer to run applets later than Java 1.1, you must install the Java plugin. If you install JDK 1.4 or later, the pluging is installed automatically.
  • Netscape Navigator 7
    Netscape works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. Offers two different downloads, you can either download a small installation that pulls out the files that you need, or you can download the whole Netscape, and install it yourself.
  • Mozilla
    Runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Offers a bunch of browsers: Mozilla 7.1 for web browsing, email, HTML editing, IRC chat, and more; Firefox, their next generation browser; Camino, designed from the ground up for Mac OS X; and more.
  • Opera
    There are two versions, the free one that comes with banner adds, and the one that costs $39. Both are very fast, very compliant with the latest specifications, and run on many platforms. The site provides tutorials, screenshots, "why choose Opera" and downloads.
Other Standard Java Packages
This is only a small subsection of Java products. For a more detailed list go to the Sun Java resources page, the Java Product page, or the Java download page.

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