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JavaScript and Embedded Objects


There's more to Web browsers than (X)HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. ActiveX, plug-ins, and other embedded objects help make the Web what it is today. Get the scoop on these and more in this chapter excerpt from JavaScript: The Complete Reference, second edition, by Thomas Powell and Fritz Schneider McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN 0072253576.

Author Info:
By: McGraw-Hill/Osborne
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 92
October 26, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · JavaScript and Embedded Objects
  2. · Java
  3. · Including Applets
  4. · Accessing Applets in JavaScript
  5. · Issues with JavaScript-Driven Applets
  6. · Plug-ins
  7. · MIME Types
  8. · Detecting Specific Plug-Ins
  9. · Interacting with Plug-Ins
  10. · Refreshing the Plug-Ins Array
  11. · Interacting with a Specific Plug-In
  12. · ActiveX
  13. · Cross-Browser Inclusion of Embedded Objects
  14. · Interacting with ActiveX Controls
  15. · Summary

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JavaScript and Embedded Objects - Java
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Many think that JavaScript is a boiled-down form of Java because of the similarity in their names. The fact that JavaScript was originally called “LiveScript” suggests the mistake in drawing such a conclusion. While Java and JavaScript are both object-oriented languages, they are both commonly used on the Web, and the syntax of both resembles the syntax of C, they are in truth very different languages. Java is a class-based object-oriented language, whereas JavaScript is prototype-based. Java is strongly typed, whereas JavaScript is weakly typed. Java is compiled into platform-independent bytecode before execution, while JavaScript source code is generally interpreted directly by the browser. Java programs execute in a separate context called a “sandbox,” whereas JavaScript is interpreted in the context of the browser.

This last difference—in execution context—is very important. Java applets are nearly platform-independent, stand-alone programs designed to run in a restricted execution environment. There is a lot of theory that goes into the Java sandbox, but in essence applets run in a “virtual machine” that is somewhat isolated from the user’s browser and operating system. This isolation is designed to preserve platform independence as well as the security of the client’s machine.

Java applets are most often used to implement applications that require comprehensive graphics capabilities and network functionality. Java packages installed on the client machine provide networking code, graphics libraries, and user interface routines, often making it a much more capable language than JavaScript for some tasks. Common applications include applets that display real-time data downloaded from the Web (for example, stock tickers), interactive data browsing tools, site navigation enhancements, games, and scientific tools that perform calculations or act as visualization tools.

McGraw-Hill-OsborneThis chapter is from JavaScript: The Complete Reference, second edition, by Thomas Powell and Fritz Schneider, McGraw-Hill/Osborne, ISBN: 0072253576). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.

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