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About Java

This topic describes the Java platform, and its relationship with the DITA Open Toolkit and Ant.

Java is a platform-independent programming language, originally developed by Sun Microsystems. The term Java is also used to refer to the Java Platform, which is a set of software programs that pemit applications developed in Java to run on different computers running different operating systems.

In the DITA Open Toolkit context, the term Java means the platform needed to run Java-based tools in (or associated with) the Open Toolkit. Before you can use the DITA Open Toolkit, you must have the appropriate Java platform (or Java run-times) installed.

The Java Platform is available in two main forms:

To run most Java applications, you only need the JRE. But for the DITA Open Toolkit, you must have the larger JDK. The JDK version required for the Open Toolkit is version 1.4.2 or above. Confusingly, the JDK goes under different names, and has two sets of versions numbers. The other names for JDK are:

The current naming convention for the JDK is Java Platform, Standard Edition 6 SDK (source:

The two JDK version numbers are internal and external. An external version of Version 6 Update 10 Build 33 has an internal version number of 1.6.0_10-b33.

Figure 1. Sun Java About dialog box, showing version numbers
Sun Java About dialog box, showing external version 6 update 10, internal version 1.6.0_10

To even further complicate matters, different companies (including Sun and IBM) supply the JDK. The best approach is to download the latest Sun JDK version from

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