A Java applet is a Java program that has a graphical interface, but not a full application interface with a menu bar, Dock icon, and so on. Instead, it runs within a “wrapper” application. Most of the world’s Java applets live embedded in web pages, and most web browsers can act as their wrappers. You can also use Mac OS X’s Applet Launcher application to run applets that exist on your local machine.
Most modern web browsers (including Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the browser that ships with Mac OS X) feature Java applet support. If you load a web page containing an applet, your browser renders it within a rectangle right on the page, just as it does with images (or other embedded media, such as QuickTime movies or Flash animations). See Figure 10-1. This rectangle serves as the applet’s entire interface; using it involves clicking or typing into it, as appropriate.
Figure 10-1. A Java applet running in Internet Explorer
If you need to change the browser’s applet-running behavior (including switching off its Java support altogether), call up the appropriate part of its preferences window. In Internet Explorer, select Explorer → Preferences (
-;), and then choose the Java page, as shown in Figure 10-2. (This section makes specific reference ...