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[Page 9 (continued)]

1.10. History of Java

Microprocessors are having a profound impact in intelligent consumer electronic devices. Recognizing this, Sun Microsystems in 1991 funded an internal corporate research project code-named Green. The project resulted in the development of a C++-based language that its creator, James Gosling, called Oak after an oak tree outside his window at Sun. It was later discovered that there already was a computer language called Oak. When a group of Sun people visited a local coffee shop, the name Java was suggested and it stuck.

The Green project ran into some difficulties. The marketplace for intelligent consumer electronic devices did not develop in the early 1990s as quickly as Sun had anticipated. The project was in danger of being canceled. By sheer good fortune, the World Wide Web exploded in popularity in 1993, and Sun saw the immediate potential of using Java to add dynamic content (e.g., interactivity, animations and the like) to Web pages. This breathed new life into the project.


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Sun formally announced Java in 1995. Java generated immediate interest in the business community because of the phenomenal success of the World Wide Web. Java is now used to develop large-scale enterprise applications, to enhance the functionality of Web servers (the computers that provide the content we see in our Web browsers), to provide applications for consumer devices (such as cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants) and for many other purposes. Current versions of C++, such as Microsoft®'s Visual C++® .NET and Borland®'s C++Builder™, have similar capabilities.


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