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The Magic of Java

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Why Java?

When I started making BingoCardMaker I wanted it to be useful to as many people as possible, so I chose to build it in Java. This means that BingoCardMaker will run on almost any computer, including (hopefully) yours, but you'll need to download Java first.

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What's Java?

Before I can answer that, you'll need to know a little bit about how computers and programs interact. A computer is basically a collection of abilities -- it can do many things, like show pictures, play sounds, or perform big calculations. A program is a list of instructions which tell a computer how to use its abilities to perform some useful task. Now the interesting bit is in how programs communicate with computers. As you may have guessed, the instructions used to access a computer's abilities vary between different types of computers. For example, a "Windows" computer has different instructions from an "Apple" computer. This gives rise to the concept of a computer language, which is really just the set of instructions a computer has to access its abilities.

Most programs are written in a specific language which will work on only one type of computer. This has two benefits. First, it's much easier to write a program in only one language for one type of computer than it is to write in multiple languages for multiple computer types. Second, a single-language program is very efficient, as it can be structured to make use of that computer type's specific abilities. However, with these benefits to writing a program in a single language comes the obvious drawback: it works on only one type of computer. This is a problem for someone who wants their program to work for as many people as possible, regardless of what type of computer they use. Luckily, there's a solution called Java which is designed to make programs written in a single language work on a variety of computer types.

Java conquers this problem by using a two-prong attack, ie: it's actually two components that work together. One is a generic language that's not based on any specific computer type. The other is a translator which sits between programs written in the generic Java language and the computers on which they run -- changing the program's generic Java instructions into specific instructions that the computer can understand. So, if a program is written in Java it can now run on any type of computer for which a translator is available (of which there are many, and they're all free).

So, in order to run a Java program on your computer you first need to have Java. You only need to download and install Java once. After that you can run as many Java programs as you'd like. Unless, of course, a new version of Java is released, in which case you'll need to download Java again (though that happens only once every few years).

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Alright Then

Hopefully you can now see why BingoCardMaker requires you to download Java, and further, why I chose to use Java.

Now you can:

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