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Java Web Start Critiqued: Is It Now 'Production Quality'?

Posted by editor on January 20, 2010 at 10:07 AM PST

In a recent article on JavaLobby, scalemania asks When Will Java Web Start be Production Quality? The article starts out with a folksy portrayal of what Java Web Start (JWS) offers:

Java Web Start (JWS) has always had great potential. With this deployment platform I can reach users such as mom-and-pops who would otherwise have to call their son (me) when they need to download and install something from the internet. Mom-and-pops are not that interested in computers but they know how to write an email and click a link on a webpage. To start a JWS application all they have to do is click a link on a webpage. While the application is being launched it is also cached locally. It can be started offline and updates are detected and installed automatically.

That's all good. As is the fact that Java Web Start peruses the user's system, installing Java SE if needed, and detecting whether extra permissions are needed (in which case, the user is presented with a security dialog).

What's wrong with JWS, in scalemania's view, is poor documentation and the bugginess of central features, along with "strange" implementations of some features.

What prompted scalemania's revisit to Java Web Start was the recent release of JDK 6 Update 18, which James Sugrue covered in a recent JavaLobby post. Among the highlights of this release is support for Windows 7.

But, scalemania notes that important problems in the updated Java Web Start are listed as being fixed. This includes issue 6888118 - JNLP Extension Installer is never invoked when uninstalling appliction, an issue scalemania reported himself:

Uninstalling a JWS application on windows is supposedly simple. The user navigates to the same place in the windows Control Panel where native applications are uninstalled, finds the JWS application and hits "uninstall". Unfortunately JWS has been broken and would only uninstall some parts of the application


Java Web Start 6u18 regression

Unfortunately the 6u18 doesn't still seem to be totally perfect with Java Web Start: Hope to get these (and possible other) bugs fixed since the JNLP/JWS still seem to have potential.. br, Touko