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are java applets pretty well supported in browsers nowadays?

Hi,

I was going to start writing an image gallery browser as a java applet (all the ones available for my current CMS system are broken, crappy, or not free).

Do most users have java support? I know at least one friend for which java applets can never load. I don't know if it's wiser to do this in flash. I'd prefer not to though as the dev environment is not free for flash, and I don't know if more ppl have the flash player plugin than people do whatever is necessary to run java applets.

Thanks
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DJ_AM_Juicebox
Asked:
DJ_AM_Juicebox
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1 Solution
 
ebertkCommented:
Overall support for Java applets is very hight.  All I do is create Java applet for financial website and they are very, very widely used.  Almost all major vendors include SUN's java on a new build and you can easily code the webpage to automatically install Java if they don't have it installed yet.

Almost all major sites use java applets in some form, except maybe google.  Yahoo, WSJ, Schwab all of applets of somesort.  

But do make sure to use the OBJECT tag instead of the applet tag in your HTML pages that contain the applets.  That is the only way to get Java to auto install if it isn't there yet.  

Set up your Object tag like this to allow it to work in IE and Firefox, Modzilla, Netscape, etc. (Note that all these browsers use the object tag, only IE uses it a little bit differently.  The EMBED tag was used by Netscape 4.7 but no need to bother with it anymore)

<object  name="calculator"  codebase="http://java.sun.com/update/1.6.0/jinstall-6-windows-i586.cab#Version=1,4,0,0" height="420" width="520">
 <param name="code" value="NameOfYourClassFileThatHasTheApplet" />
<p style="font-size: 1pt; color: white"><![endif]--></p>
<![if !IE]>
<object name="calculator" classid="java:NameOfYourClassFileThatHasTheApplet.class" type="application/x-java-applet" archive="NameofJavaAchriveIFYouHaveone.jar" height="420" width="520" > 
<p style="font-size: 1pt; color: white"><![endif]></p>
<param name="archive" value="NameofJavaAchriveIFYouHaveone.jar" />
<!-- all of our parameters go here-->
<PARAM name="LOGO" value="report.jpg">

          <strong>
            This browser does not have a Java Plug-in.
            <br />
            <a href="http://java.sun.com/products/plugin/downloads/index.html">
              Get the latest Java Plug-in here.
            </a>
          </strong>
</OBJECT>
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objectsCommented:
Applet support is pretty good, but be aware that IE does not by default support java.
It requires the plugin to be installed.

Flash probably has wider support, and would probably do a better job for what you need.
Depends a bit on what skills you have.
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objectsCommented:
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DJ_AM_JuiceboxAuthor Commented:
Yeah but if you look at those examples, they're honestly pretty crappy, not professional looking. I have a lot of image processing / GUI design experience in C++ i can carry over. It'd be a good excercise anyway.

IE users not having it installed by default is what worries me - any ideas out there of what percentage of IE users have it installed already?

By the way, anyone want to help me finish this question?
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Programming/Languages/Java/Q_22988753.html
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objectsCommented:
the flash one looked ok.
imo java is not the best tool for this, which is one reason why many of the java ones look crap.
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ebertkCommented:
I think you could make a very good Applet with your skills.  Flash isn't nearly as programmatical as Java.  I think with your background you are going to be pretty well served working with Java on this one.  Also - there is virtually no cost involved.
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ebertkCommented:
One more thing - Java is basically an language (as you all know) that can be used in all sorts of different ways, included applets.  Flash comes from a design layout background and it still has its roots there even with ActionScript and Flex.  If you are a good C++ programmer you probably will get frustrated with the limitations and inflexibility of Flash (like having to use their IDE).  A java applet should be an easy task for a C++ programmer.  It is up to you to make it look professional - like you said their is a lot of crappy stuff out there.  Flash, Java, Ajax, you name it someone somewhere has created something awful.
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objectsCommented:
one of my clients has a great example of what can be achieved using flash at http://www.tilefile.com/
you could never get that sort of user experience using java, swing is just not up to it.
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ebertkCommented:
I took a look - and agree.  But, this is also was not a "programmer" working on his or her own.  This had to be created with quite a bit of work from a graphic designer.  
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objectsCommented:
correct, but java is not going to make it easier to come up with a polished solution. My experience has in fact been the opposite. But as a java learning experience, go for it :)
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ebertkCommented:
Objects - you may be correct about the ability for a slick polished app, but this really wasn't the original question.  The original question was wether Java was still widelly accepted and used.  I believe it certainly is (and based on your other posts you probably agree).  This new discussion is whether the actual type of application lends itself to Flash or Java better.  Flash is probably the better solutions for the polished profession look of the type of application that is in question.  But - if cost is an issue Java can be done for free and skill of a C++ programmer might be better suited to Java than Flash.
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objectsCommented:
i don't disagree with any of that :)
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DJ_AM_JuiceboxAuthor Commented:
Yeah luckily the app doesn't have to be super slick like that, just have some blending etc. The thumbnail animations and transitions are easy to do. I can't buy flash right now anyway, which is probably the larger problem.

Thanks
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