Sign of the times: Sun's Java Web site, which was redesigned recently, no longer uses applets on any of its well-trafficked pages. The last design featured applets that scrolled Java-related news and presented a directory of user groups, but Sun appears to have come to the same realization as most of the Web: The load time required for the Java virtual machine makes applets a poor choice for popular pages.
Sites that use applets today are employing them for games, chat, the visual depiction of information, and the like. The best way to use them is to put applets on a page that can be requested by the user, rather than integrating them into the main parts of a site. One holdout to this theory is the New York Post, which puts a Java headline ticker on its home page.