Java Compatibility

Last updated: 30.09.2001

The Java applets on these pages are intended to be compatible with as many browsers as possible. In practice, they often aren't.

The slogan of Java is "Write once, run anywhere", which is a noble goal. In practice, it's more like "Write once, spend the rest of the week trying to get it to work." This is not necessarily the fault of Java, but often seems to be more to do with browser implementations.

The first casualty is Netscape on the Macintosh. The Netscape Java Virtual Machine in older versions of Netscape browsers only supports Java 1.0. This means that unfortunately the newer applets won't work with older Netscape browsers on MacOS.

But even selling my soul to Bill Gates doesn't improve matters. Most of these applets will run fine under Explorer 4.5 on the Macintosh; Explorer 5.0, which uses the very same Java Virtual Machine (Apple's MRJ), declines to display about half of them. For the record, the Macintosh browser that does the best job seems to be iCab, which also uses MRJ, but seems to run Java faster and more consistently than either version of Explorer. Opera and newer browsers from Netscape also do quite well on most of the applets.

If the applets fail to work for you, please accept my apologies. They are all standard Java with no platform-specific nastiness. They aren't even very complicated or unusual. But it seems as if the dream of "Write once, run anywhere" is still not quite here yet.