A small program that runs on a server. The term usually refers to a Java applet that runs within a Web server environment. This is analogous to a Java applet that runs within a Web browser environment.
Java servlets are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to CGI programs. The biggest difference between the two is that a Java applet is persistent. This means that once it is started, it stays in memory and can fulfill multiple requests. In contrast, a CGI program disappears once it has fulfilled a request. The persistence of Java applets makes them faster because there's no wasted time in setting up and tearing down the process.