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6u10beta is available.. please test it..!

Posted by robogeek on April 16, 2008 at 4:52 PM PDT

Recently we made Java SE 6 update 10 available for beta testing. Beta testing is a period in product release cycles where testing is taken to people outside the product team, and those "external" testers bang on it with their applications and let the product team know what's wrong (or not).

There is a lot of exciting stuff in 6u10 (formerly known as 6uN) .. there is a lot more here than the typical update release. Unlike most update releases where the work is limited to critical fixes, for 6u10 the changes are pretty dramatic, will be affecting a lot of things, which leaves us wanting to hear about regressions or other kinds of bugs we may have created along the path of getting to 6u10.

(um.. before the wags get ahold of what I just wrote -- any time you write new code it's common to write some bugs as well)

Let's go over some of the new features:-

Java Deployment Toolkit:- hooboy the description is pretty hairy but says a few interesting things. "allows developers to easily deploy applets and applications to a large variety of clients with JavaScripts.... makes it possible to automatically install Java Platform for Java Plug-in applets and Java Web Start applications. The script exposes a single object, named deployJava" and the deplyJava object has a buncha useful functions to reduce the complexity of deploying an applet across multiple browsers.

The Java Kernel (FAQ) makes for a tiny Java platform which can be more quickly downloaded & installed while still allowing the full Java SE platform to be available, requiring downloads of missing pieces as required.

The next generation Java plugin looks really cool and ought to drastically improve applet and javawebstart functionality and behavior. It is a ground-up reimplementation of the venerable plugin which uses a more intelligent architecture which immediately fixes several outstanding glaring bugs and problems. I think that while in most cases incremental improvements and bug fixes are good, there are times where it's better to just start over from scratch and that this is one of those times.

The most critical part of 6u10 to test is this new plugin.

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If it does not support Firefox 2, then how are we supposed to beta test it?

AFAIK, there are good reasons for dependencies on the latest browsers. Firefox itself needed changes to support the new plugin, and on MSIE, there are JPI improvements like specific support for Vista security, so my guess is that porting the new plugin to the older versions of either browser wouldn't be a trivial effort. I'd rather have ann excellent and timely 6u10 release than not having that because Sun had to divert effort to support extra browsers. Notice that 6u10 is still a beta, the FCS is only scheduled for Q3. By that time, FF3 will be FCS too, and IE7 usage will vastly outnumber older versions of IE (if it doesn't already).

David, I'd love to test... However, I'm not running Firefox 3, nor IE7. I don't know the API differences between FF2 and FF3, but it seems like it was short sighted of Sun to not make the plugin FF2 and IE6 compatible. This isn't merely a complaint. Consider this actual feedback to my u10 "testing". That is, the release has a SERIOUS bug that MUST be fixed before it is shipped. FF2 and IE6 support.

If it isn't supported on Mac it is pretty much dead to us. Moving along, nothing to see here...

@ewin: FWIW: Java SE Naming and Versions

6u10? So the Sun product renaming and renumbering gang has hit again :-( Why the f... can't they stick with a consistent naming and numbering schema? Can't someone give these ... some real work to do? Like counting the bathroom tiles and then cleaning them with a toothbrush? Some honest work where they can't do any harm?

Supported Platforms make it clear :- The new Java Plug-In is designed to work in the following browsers: a) Internet Explorer 6 and 7 on Windows XP and Vista b) Firefox 3 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Solaris and Linux . So, hey, it already is IE6 compatible... as for FF2, well, sigh. FWIW by the time 6u10 is finished FF3 will also be the current release and I daresay FF users are accustomed to upgrading. This is good feedback, thank you.

I think Sun has over promised/ under delivered once to many times. Good luck at Java One selling "java applets".

@fuerte2: install the FF3 beta?