I'm not going to spend too much time on Java because it seems to be a technology that has not realized its promise. Originally Java was going to be the "write once, run anywhere" solution to computing. Java code would download to your computer, safely compile itself according to your computing platform, and run the application or applet.
At first Java was slow. Programmers and web surfers alike seemed to accept the slowness, believing that as Java was new and would improve over time. Then Microsoft complicated matters by announcing that it was developing its own version of Java that is streamlined to run best in Windows environments. Although most machines are Windows machines, Microsoft seemed to be undermining the cross-platform value in Java. As the debate between hardware and software companies continued, the next wave of browsers came out and Java was no faster than before. What's more, some Java applets (including one I was running last year on the Registrar's Home Page at Richmond) that worked in IE 3.0 didn't work in IE 4.0.
Until Sun, Microsoft and the rest work out their issues, and until Java performance improves, I don't recommend extensive use of Java. The two applets you can try here are those I've used at Richmond. The scrolling text applet doesn't work in IE 4.0, so you may want to check with other sources like developer.com to see if there are any cross-browser scrolling applets that fit your needs. The countdown applet, which we use to count down to graduation each year, does work in both IE 4.0 and Netscape 4.0.
IE 3.0 +
Nescape 3.0 +