Three weeks after posting a Java-less beta version of its Internet Explorer 3.0, Microsoft has posted a separate program to its Web site that adds Java support to the browser.
When the beta version of Internet Explorer 3.0 debuted late last month without Java support, Microsoft said it would offer a new beta including the technology by the end of June. Rather than post an entirely new version of the browser, however, the company is offering a Java add-on available on its FTP site that allows the current browser to run Java applets once the additional program is downloaded and installed.
Microsoft expects to release a full second beta version of Explorer 3.0 that will integrate Java support into the browser application itself, but it won't be available for two or three weeks, according to Mike Ahern, Microsoft product manager.
"We're still testing the whole integrated [Internet Explorer 3.0]," Ahern said. "For two weeks or so, Java support will be available separately."
Microsoft is anxious to get Java in into the hands of beta testers. The release of the beta in May without Java had disappointed many users who expected to see it in the first full beta release of the browser.
The second beta will also include a just-in-time compiler, or Java engine, which Microsoft has promised will boost the performance of Java applets substantially. Netscape Communications' Navigator, which has supported Java since last year, also plans to add a just-in-time compiler licensed from Borland International that will take on the same task, but the company has set no specific ship date other than to say it will be rolled out by the end of the year.
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