The Java language elements available from Sun currently fall into
these two broad categories:
- Core Language - defined
as the essential set of packages and classes that must be available
in the VM regardless of the platform. The contents of the set
is defined by the version number and
- Optional APIs from Sun -
a number of useful Application Programming Interfaces are
available from Sun such as for audio and video applications, 3D
graphics, etc. However, they are not part of the core language
so they generally won't be available for all JVM's on all platforms.
These elements now involve an enormous range of packages, classes
and methods. So access to documentation on them is essential.
Sun provides a large set of
documentation on its java.sun.com
site and also for downloading.
The Resources section provides
information from many other independent sources.
We highly recommend that you download and install your own copy
of the Java
2 Platform Standard Edition, API Specification for the latest
Java version. It is a set of web pages that describe all the elements
(packages of classes
and the methods) of the
You will frequently refer to this documentation to find out, for
example, what exactly a given method does, what methods are available
for a given class, etc.
Note that these specification
pages indicate whether a class or method appeared in the core language
after version 1.1. This is important if you want to write a program,
for example, that is consistent with version 1.1. (Many browsers
currently in use will only run version 1.1 applets.)
References & Web Resources
Latest update: Oct.10.2004