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Soon all Java applets may look the same

Java applications are about to get Office-ised. Sun, Netscape and IBM said yesterday they are collaborating on making Java applets share a common user interface (UI) look and feel just as Microsoft imposes screen design regulations for software vendors who want to sport the 'Office-compatible' badge.

Java applications are about to get Office-ised. Sun, Netscape and IBM said yesterday they are collaborating on making Java applets share a common user interface (UI) look and feel just as Microsoft imposes screen design regulations for software vendors who want to sport the 'Office-compatible' badge.

The heavyweight troika is to produce a JavaBeans component toolkit - called Java Foundation Classes (JFC) - to aid developers build a UI that will remain the same whatever the platform. JFC will also be built into various Java development tools.

The fly in the ointment is that Microsoft, whose J++ is the best-selling Java development environment on the market, has not yet agreed to support JFC

PCDN Comment: The cosmetic differentiation of Java applets has made a nonsense of Microsoft's boasts that Windows will make all programs look and act the same way. Windows made a nonsense of IBM's attempts at UI standardisation through its Common User Access (CUA) guidelines. The sheer variety of Web sites adds another spanner to the works. Still, uniformity of Java UI design can only aid uptake, particularly among corporates with constrained training budgets.