No. of Recommendations: 3
There seems to be a lot of confusion between these two languages, the choice of name is unfortunate.

One way to tell is by observing the logo that might show up. This is Java:

softwaretimes.com/pics/java-logo-1.png
softwaretimes.com/pics/java-logo.png

Unfortunately some people have used the steaming cup of coffee for JavaScript as well but they write "JavaScript" below the cup of coffee.

JavaScript is a language tightly associated with HTML and browsers. It allows you to alter and interact with the html code loaded into your browser from a web page (more correctly, with the Document Object loaded into your browser). It's called a "client side" language or code as opposed to something like php, which resides entirely on the server and hence it's called "server side" language or code.

To the uninitiated user Java and JavaScript can look very much alike but in fact they are very different. Java does not run in the browser, the runtime environment is loaded into your computer and the browser uses it like it would use a plugin. Look for the folder

/Applications/Utilities/Java/

you can find other Java folders using Spotlight

Java was conceived as a Windows killer by Sun's Scott McNealy. It would allow you to run applets in a browser without the need of an operating system, i.e. without Windows. Unlike JavaScript which executes within the browser, the Java applet executes outside the browser in the Java runtime environment and the results are displayed in the browser. You can also run Java applets independently from the browser. Not so JavaScript which works only in the browser.

Anyway, if you don't specifically need Java, and most of us don't, disable it in the browser preferences.

Here is a fun Java applet:

http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/applet/

If you ran it you would see something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN8DzlgMt3M

This is a screen dump of the boids applet running on my machine

softwaretimes.com/pics/boids.png

As they say on TV, don't try this at home. LOL

Denny Schlesinger
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