CNN Technology


World Wide Web gets jolt from Java and Shockwave

From Correspondent Brian Nelson

December 8, 1995
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EST

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- Web users brace yourselves. New software for the World Wide Web is expected to give new meaning to multimedia on the Internet. (884K QuickTime movie)

In a move that's seen as a capitulation to emerging Internet software standards, Microsoft Corporation announced Thursday plans to license a new, universal programming language called Java.

The move means that Microsoft has accepted a rival standard from a competitor, Sun Microsystems, which developed Java.

Java boosters claim the language will revolutionize the World Wide Web, adding vitality to otherwise dull web sites. Java promises to bring animation, video, music, narration, and astounding interactivity. Best of all, it's all made possible by new software you can download from the Internet, free.

"It's the difference between a telegraph and a telephone. Between black and white, and color television," says Eric Schmidt of Sun Microsystems.


"It will become the multimedia place to be, very very quickly," says Joe Dunn, vice president of product management for Macromedia, a leader in multimedia software development for the Internet.

The World Wide Web of the Internet, where you are now, hit the world's consciousness just two years ago. New browsers like Mosaic, and later Netscape, transformed a nerdy playground of dry scientific reports into a vast landscape of amusing but still lifeless pictures and graphics.

Java is expected to be at the forefront of what some are calling the "third wave" to hit the Internet, a multimedia revolution.

Leading the march is Sun Microsystems, a specialist in large computers called servers. In 1990, Sun programmers wrote a universal programming language. At first, they thought it would become the heart of interactive television. And later, the brains of a generation of consumer products like personal digital assistants.

When both failed to take off, Sun, in desperation, last year turned to the Internet. And suddenly, big computer giants like Microsoft, face perhaps their biggest challenge in history.

"You write a software application, you write it once, and it runs on a Mac, a PC, a Sun machine ... basically any operating system out there," says Kim Polese of Sun Microsystems.

"No single vendor will be able to get proprietary control over any of the standards, in any of the services," says Schmidt.

Soon, anyone will be able to create home pages that move. You'll see fun, unexpected things happen, with video and animation without the need for Macintosh or Microsoft software.

Here's why. When you download an application, Java sends the program needed to view it along too. The only thing you need to do is make sure you have Java's browser, Hot Java, which you can get now, by downloading Netscape's new 2.0 Beta from its web site.

Java web pages are dynamic and can be interactive, including such features as a Wall Street stock ticker with an up-to-the-minute calculation of your holdings and net worth.

Also leading the web revolution is Macromedia, a San Francisco software developer specializing in multimedia programs. Macromedia's Director software currently puts video, animation and sound into many business computer presentations.

With its new Internet software called Shockwave, Macromedia is about to do the same to the World Wide Web, without placing an additional burden on your computer's memory.

Macromedia demonstrated the new look with a hypothetical re-make of CNN's home page. (272K QuickTime movie)


Shockwave will "instantly transform (the web) from a place that is defined by text and graphics, to a place that's defined by motion and interactivity and sound," says Macromedia's Dunn.

Shockwave can be downloaded free of charge from Macromedia's home page on the net.

So, net surfers, get ready. Shockwave and Java are bringing new life to the Web.

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