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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.".