Microsoft's development and marketing engines continue to power the company's Java initiatives at full steam. The software giant is pushing beyond the latest language and platform specifications outlined by Sun Microsystems' JavaSoft division - while pledging to preserve compatibility with the standard Java feature set.
Microsoft has announced its Application Foundation Classes (AFC) for Java, and outlined plans for the upcoming implementation of its Java Virtual Machine for Windows, slated for release along with its Internet Explorer 4.0 browser update that is expected around midyear.
The Microsoft AFC class libraries, written in Java, provide Java developers with a palette of graphics, user interface and multimedia functions. While JavaSoft's Java Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) has been faulted for a lack of features and inefficient system resource use, Microsoft officials tout the ACF libraries' wider assortment of UI elements, as well as the classes' speed and low-memory requirements, while claiming that they adhere to the AWT programming model.
Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine, which has been a focal point in the company's pitched marketing battle with Sun Microsystems, is set to incorporate rules-based security, and will support interoperability between Microsoft's ActiveX technology and the Java Beans component model; Unicode, for localized versions of Java; and cross-platform features included in the latest version of the Java Developers Kit (JDK) Version 1.1.