JavaScript Help

What are Java and Javascript?

Java and Javascript are different things, but both enhance web pages and add extra features which are not possible in normal HTML.

If you ‘enable’ Javascript in your browser, web designers can use additional tricks to resize the page or add extra functionality.

For example drop down menus, buttons to make navigating websites easier and changing the cursor when you roll over an icon are all tricks done by Javascript.

Java versus Javascript

Because of the similar name, many people (even some programmers) confuse Java with Javascript.

The difference is that Java is a fully fledged programming language whereas Javascript is simply part of a normal web page.

Java allows programmers to make small applications, called applets, which get downloaded along with a web page.

These can be anything from games and interactive maps to currency converters or sound players.

The downside of these applets is that they can take a little time to download and because they are so flexible can be used in harmful ways.

Javascript, on the other hand, is not a separate program from the web page itself. It simply allows designers to perform simple tricks like opening a new window from within the normal code used to generate the page.

How do I enable Javascript?

Internet Explorer for Windows

Go to the Tools menu in IE and choose Internet Options.

Next click the Security tab.

Make sure the Internet Zone is highlighted and press the Custom Level button to open the security options.

Internet Explorer for Mac

Find the Preferences option on the Explorer menu. Select the Web Content bullet from the list on the left hand side of the window.

Find the Active Content section. Make sure that the checkbox next to Enable Scripting is checked.

Click the OK button. Close this window and click the Refresh button of the page requiring Javascript.

To enable Java, click the Java link in the Web Content section.

Safari for Mac

In Safari, go to the Safari menu and choose Preferences.

Click the Security tab.

You can check or uncheck both Java and Javascript here.


Firefox users should go to the Tools menu and select Options.

Next click Web Features. Check Enable Javascript (or Java) in the main panel and press OK.

Downloading Java

Remember, if you need to enable Javascript, you just switch it on by following the instructions above.

Java, on the other hand, is a program which you may have to download if you use a PC. Apple Mac owners will have this already as part of OS X.

Click the step-by-step guide below if you need to get Java for Windows.