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New user experience in Java Web Start

Posted by stanleyh on June 7, 2005 at 2:06 AM PDT

As I mentioned in my earlier blog, we have decided to revamp the user experience in Java Web Start in Mustang, and the scary security dialog was the first to go. Here is more exciting news! I am very glad to announce that Andy Herrick and Margarita Fisher have completed the initial implementation of the new user experience for Java Web Start, and it is available in the promoted Mustang snapshot (build 39). You can download and try it out today.

What's new in user experience?

Splash Screen

The default splash screen has been updated, and it looks pretty nice! Also, Java Web Start will no longer generate a splash screen for your application automatically if the application does not provide a custom splash, because the generated splash never looks great from users' prespective. In other words, in Mustang, your users will either see the new default splash screen, or a custom splash screen if the application specifies one, when the application is launched. If you are serious in perfecting the user experience, we strongly recommend you to provide a good custom splash screen for your JNLP application.

Download Window

The download window has been completely changed to look more friendly. I am also very glad to say that the blinking progress bar is finally gone!

Desktop Integration Dialog Box

If your application is signed, the desktop integration information will be integrated as part of the security warning dialog box, so your users will be informed by only a single dialog box for security and desktop integration. If your application is unsigned, your users will see a single dialog box about desktop integration, no matter how many file extensions or MIME type associations the application has requested.

More Information Dialog Box

After I blogged about the new security warning dialog box, many people commented that the UI does not reveal sufficient security related information to the users. The puzzle is now solved! Clicking on the "More Information" link in the new security warning dialog box will now reveal an additional dialog box which contains more detailed information, so the users would be better informed.

Java Cache Viewer

As part of the Unified Download Engine work in Mustang, a new cache viewer has been added for the download cache shared between Java Web Start and Java Plug-in, and you could launch the viewer directly from the Java Control Panel. Does anyone miss the JNLP Application Viewer in Tiger or the JNLP Application Manager in earlier versions of Java Web Start? I certainly don't, especially after I have used the new viewer!

There are other exciting features and improvements in the pipeline.

We will continue to make a series of UE/UI changes in Java Web Start before Mustang goes beta, including graphics and layouts, so what you see at this point is just a snapshot of what we have been cooking, but it should give you some ideas about the direction we are headed. Certainly, your feedback will help us a great deal before these changes are finalized.

- What do you think about the new user experience?
- What other improvement do you like to see?

So, what are you still waiting for? Download Mustang today and experience these improvements! Most importantly, tell us what you think.

- Stanley

P.S. Thanks Andy and Rita in the Java Deployment team for doing a nice job on the implementation! Special thanks go to Chris Le Dantec, Coleen Baik, and Mike Albers in the xDesign team.

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