April 18, 2011, 11:58 a.m.
posted by berg
The Java Plug-in
Though popular web browsers began including their own Java interpreters with the first release of the language in the mid-'90s, these interpreters failed to keep current.
To make it possible for Java 2 applets to run in current browsers, Sun Microsystems offers the Java Plug-in, a substitute for a browser's built-in interpreter that supports the most up-to-date version of the language.
A plug-in is a program that works in conjunction with a web browser to expand its functionality. Plug-ins handle a type of data that the browser normally could not handle. Apple offers a plug-in to display QuickTime movies, Macromedia distributes a plug-in to run Flash animation files, and many other kinds of special content are supported in this manner.
If you installed the Java Development Kit, you were given a chance to install the Java Plug-in at the same time.
The Java Plug-in runs Java applets in place of the web browser's Java interpreter. Once the Java Plug-in is installed, all future Java 2 applets will run automatically if they specify that the Plug-in should be used to run them.
The plug-in is part of the Java Runtime Environment, which can be downloaded at no cost from Sun's Java site at the address http://java.com.