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(Last Updated 05/18/2002)
There have been varying reports in regard the performance of the
uShopTM Java Applets on the Macintosh platform. As of
05/18/2002, here's what we know:
Netscape browsers on the Mac platform have no problem.
Internet Explorer browsers on the Mac platform have a problem when it comes to
adding items to the shopping cart.
Why is there a problem with IE browsers on the Mac platform? First a little
background about Java....
Java is a programming language that gets compiled into "byte-code" and then
interpretted at runtime by a Java Virtual Machine (JVM). The purpose of the
JVM is to execute each Java byte-code instruction and handle all platform
specific tasks such as byte ordering and memory management. By handling such
platform specific tasks, the JVM essentially hides all platform specific
implementations and thus allows the same Java byte-code to run on any platform.
That is, no matter what platform that Java is running on (Unix, Windows, Mac, etc.),
the JVM will ensure that the Java byte-code is executed the same way....essentially
making Java "platform independent".
Unfortunately, true "platform independence" exists only in a perfect world. That is,
each operating system has it's own implementation of the JVM and there are subtle
differences (and bugs) in the way each browser/OS interacts with the JVM. Since the
release of uShopTM back in 1997, we have run across many of these differences...
and by isolating each problem and then performing a little experimentation... we have
usually been able to handle each subtle difference and/or create a work-around for it.
The latest (and seemingly on-going) problem that we are currently trying to find a
solution for is why Macintosh Internet Explorer browsers do not allow items to be added to the shopping
cart. Apparently, Macintosh IE browsers do not maintain "static class data" across
across web pages... which essentially results in Macintosh IE users to not being able to
add items to the shopping cart (and maintain the shopping cart data when going to a
different web pages). "static class data" is a Java standard by which much of uShop's
inter-applet communication is based on and unfortunately, if Macintosh IE browsers
do not maintain "static class data" across different web pages, then there is really
not much we can do about it. We are, of course, always investigating possible solutions
but until we find one - or more likely, until Macintosh IE browsers do maintain static
class data across web pages - then you may just have to put a note on your web pages
stating that "Macintosh users must use Netscape.".