In recent years, TinyOS and nesC are gradually becoming the de facto software development platform for implementing sensor applications. However, developing sensor applications is difficult for programmers since the programming paradigm used in nesC is different from that used in other popular programming languages. In view of this, we propose in this paper a virtual machine-based programming environment for rapid sensor application development. With the proposed programming environment, sensor applications are implemented in TinyJava, which is a subset of Java programming language. Developing sensor applications is very similar as developing a traditional Java applications. Therefore, we believe that the proposed programming environment is able to speedup the development of sensor applications.