TECHNOLOGY BEHIND THE SITE
The selection of applets provides a quick download of the application, which runs on your machine which provides scalability and the use of inexpensive file server, and therefore without the burden of expensive computing intensive hardware and associated server software. The low cost is essential to maintain a free site in the face of the current dot com meltdown.
Applets also provide another very important feature: rapid software update. When you hit the site your browser cache, assuming you have set up the browser cache, will be compared with the class files on the server, and if there is a difference the browser will download the latest files. This makes application deployment and updating easy and ensures that you have all of the latest files and do not encounter problems analagous to the .dll clash issue with the desktop. And don't worry if you have not set up a cache on your browser, the browser will then always download the latest class files.
The downside of using applets is some time, usually seconds, involved in downloading class files and launching the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), but I believe that this is a good trade-off for the low cost and deployment assurance offered by applets.
Copyrighted 2001, 2003