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Chapter 11. JAVA 3D OVERVIEW

Topics in This Chapter

  • An introduction to the Java 3D API, a member of Sun's Java Media APIs

  • Java 3D design goals and version history (1.0, 1.1, and 1.2)

  • Key Java 3D features

Java 3D is a collection of Java classes that define a high-level Application Programming Interface (API) for interactive 3D development. As a standard extension to the base Java technology, Java 3D allows developers to construct comprehensive, platform-independent applets and applications that feature interactive 3D graphics and sound capabilities.

Introduced in mid-1997 by Sun Microsystems, the same company that developed Java itself, the Java 3D API is today licensed by 95 percent of the world's workstation market (according to a 1999 International Data Corporation study), which means that implementations will soon be available for every major operating system and many minor ones as well. At the time of this writing Java 3D was available for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, and Sun Solaris systems, while SGI IRIX, HP-UX, and Linux implementations were on the horizon.

In this chapter you'll learn how Java 3D relates to Java, and how the two combine to form a powerful 3D-development platform. You'll see that Java 3D is part of the Java Media family of APIs, making it a sibling of many other media-centric Java extensions. In addition, you'll learn essential Java 3D jargon as you explore the fundamental structure common to all Java 3D programs.



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