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Chapter 7. JavaTV > The Java Language

7.1. The Java Language

Java is a programming language and environment that was designed to solve a number of problems in modern programming practice. It started as a part of a larger project to develop advanced software for consumer electronics. These are small, reliable, portable, distributed real-time embedded systems. When James Gosling and his group started the project, they intended to use C++, but quickly stumbled on a number of crippling problems. Initially these were just compiler technology problems, but as time passed they realized that a new programming language was required.

One of the key properties that makes Java suitable for iTV programming is the ability to build mobile code that can run in small machines (see Figure 7.1). The source code of an iTV program is typically produced using Integrated Development Environments (IDE), which often enable generating code using wizards and subsequent editing of the code manually. Typically, the IDE allows developers to compile the code into executable mobile class files. Those files are transported to receivers, which use the JVM interpreter to execute the code residing within those class files [JVM]. The size of the basic JVM interpreter and class support is about 30 kB, adding the basic standard libraries and thread support (essentially a self-contained microkernel) brings it up to about 120 kB. The size of a Java program, which needs to be transported over the air, is usually on the order of 100 kB, as opposed to the megabyte code sizes common in modern PC environments.


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