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Daily Web Start News From Around The Globe
Updated weekdays (Monday to Friday)
Note, this page has moved and now lives at http://lopica.sourceforge.net/times. Please click on the new address and update any bookmarks you might have.

Lopica Web Start Services Pack Goes Live

Richard Osbaldeston has created a suite of servlets and scripts to help you serve up Web Start apps and Java runtimes. The suite includes:

  • Support for macros inside Web Start XML startup files (aka JNLP files) such as $$codebase, $$href or $$host to avoid hard-coded URLs, for example
  • Support for your own macros defined as servlet or container parameters such as $$JdbcHostString, for example, for passing on let's say the database connection info
  • Support for Java runtime auto-download installations from your own site
  • and much more

You can find out more @ http://lopica.sourceforge.net/services or grab a copy @ http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=64065

Talk Back. You're also more than welcome to discuss the new Web Start Services package by joining Richard and others on the lopica-talk mailing list @ http://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/lopica-talk

Your News Tips Welcome, Announce Your Web Start App To The Galaxy, Tell Your Story

I (Gerald Bauer) invite you to send your news straight to the Web Start News Wire also known as the lopica-announce mailing list (Subscribe/Unsubscribe).

You're also more than welcome to announce your Web Start app to the galaxy by sending a blurb (that is, a brief description) with the address to your app's web page to the lopica-announce mailing list.

If you want to stay anonymous or if you want stay away from the mailing list for whatever reason you can send your news tips to my private email, that is, gerald@vamphq.com. However, before you fire off an email to gerald@vamphq.com, please read the rules below; otherwise your email might end up unread in my trash.

Use plain text only. Please avoid sending HTML or "Stylelized" email as my mail reader cannot handle it and your message body will end up in an attachment. Please read on.

No attachments. Unfortunately my inbox gets swamped with junk mail daily using fake addresses and subject lines. I only can protect myself from viruses and unwelcome multimedia tutti-frutti by automatically deleting all emails infected with attachments as soon as the hit my inbox.

Use descriptive subject lines. Fast-track your mail using a nospam marker. The more detail you can squeeze into the fewest words in the subject line, the better. Avoid generic lines such as "Your Website" or teasers such as "Apache Foundation". Fast-track your mail by starting your subject line with the word "[Saturn]" marking it as nospam.

Article: Web Start and the Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) a.k.a. "Eclipse UI"

Jeff Gunther wrote an article for IBM's developerWorks titled "Deploy an SWT application using Java Web Start: Develop great-looking client-side Java applications".

Jeff wraps up the article: The coupling of the SWT user interface toolkit and Java Web Start provides developers with a great set of tools to create and deploy highly interactive client-side Java applications. The example file viewer application provides a build and packaging framework that you can use to create your own stand-alone SWT applications to distribute via Java Web Start.

Full story @ http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/library/os-jws/

Web Start News Wire Goes Live

I have launched the world's first Web Start News Wire also known as the lopica-announce mailing list to help promote all things Web Start and create an independent Web Start news source.

I invite you to send in your Web Start news or to announce your Web Start app, launcher, toolkit or whatever you can dream up to the galaxy by posting a blurb (that is, a brief description) with the address (URL) to your website, for example, to the lopica-announce mailing list.

For a start I will profile new Web Start apps here in the Saturn Times and add interesting Web Start links to the Unofficial Web Start FAQ or to the Lopica Web Start Link-opida. I am sure others will also pick up your news or announcements and will help to expand the Web Start universe and help promote your apps, toolkits, articles, books or whatever. Let the good time roll.

Java One Dev Pow Wow 2003: Upcoming Web Start Talks

Sun's Java Won 2003 Dev Pow Wow gathers rainmakers in San Francisco from June 10th to 13rd and includes sessions about Web Start, App-odroms, Java Runtime On-Demand Installation and Update and much more:

Automate, Automate, Automate: Maven JNLP Plug-in Released

Emmanuel Venisse and James Birchfield have created a JNLP plug-in for Maven (a next generation build system propelled by Ant and Jelly) that lets you create Web Start XML startup scripts for your apps using properties such as maven.jnlp.title, maven.jnlp.j2se.version and so on. The plug-in also lets you sign your jars; use properties such as maven.jnlp.signstore.store and maven.jnlp.signjar.alias to configure the keystore.

Full story at http://maven.apache.org/reference/plugins/jnlp

Package Once, Stock Anywhere: Vending Machines Dishing Out Web Start Apps

Eric D. Larson (a Sun stuff engineer) wrote up an article for the upcoming Web Start back office with the catchy title "An Overview of JSR-124: J2EE Client Provisioning".

Eric shows how the upcoming "vending machine" defined in Java spec #124 handles distribution, installation, billing, tracking and other back office drudgeries for mobile (J2ME/MIDP) or desktop (J2SE/Web Start) apps.

Discussion Thread Spotligth: Truth and Fiction about CashflowDirector and JNLP

Will CashflowDirector ever support JNLP? Join the discussion in Sun's Web Start forum and grill Sonal Champsee (CashflowDirector Marketing Manager) about what's working and what's not online at

NetX 0.5 Goes Live - NetX Now Top-Level Project

Jon A. Maxwell updated NetX - a free, open-source, high-quality, modular Web Start app launcher. NetX now includes:

  • Native library (e.g. dll, so) support
  • Headless mode (e.g. X server-less app launching from the console)
  • Pluggable download/progress popups/trackers
  • Messages translated into various languages
  • and more

Jon A. Maxwell also loosened up the NetX license from the GNU GPL to the GNU Library GPL allowing you to embed NetX into your own commercial apps free-of-charge for auto-updating or other special effects.

For some ideas check out Jon A. Maxwell's Java Start Button - a remodeled Web Start Jukebox - that lets you kick start Web Start apps a la carte.

Jon A. Maxwell also moved NetX to its very own sourceforge project and NetX no longer resides under the OCD (Object Component Desktop) umbrella.

Full story at http://jnlp.sourceforge.net/netx and http://jnlp.sourceforge.net/netx/start.html and http://sourceforge.net/projects/jnlp

Alternative Corner: All-In-One Self-Executing ClassWorlds Überjar

Bob McWhirter (of Jaxen fame) and Jason van Zyl (of Velocity and Maven fame) have created an Apache-licensed app launcher named ClassWorlds. In contrast to Web Start ClassWorlds lets you specify all your apps jars required for startup using a plain-text config file thus sidestepping any XML parser configuration conflicts and shrinking the bootstrap loader to fit into a rice corn. Example:

main is com.horstmann.violet.UMLEditor from app
[app]
load ${violet.home}/lib/violet.jar

To startup your app using ClassWorlds you need to add the classworlds.jar to the classpath and pass the startup file plus the application's home directory along to the Java runtime using system properties. Example:

java -classpath $VIOLET_HOME/lib/classworlds.jar  \
     -Dclassworlds.conf=$VIOLET_HOME/etc/classworlds.conf \
     -Dviolet.home=$VIOLET_HOME \
     com.werken.classworlds.Launcher

All-In-One Überjar. To stay away from milelong command lines or startup shell or batch scripts ClassWorlds lets you pack everything into a single self-executing jar that you can kickoff using java -jar violet.jar

ClassWorlds follows Web Archives (.war) and stores all jars inside the Überjar in the WORLDS-INF/lib directory and the startup config file inside the WORLDS-INF/conf directory. To make the Überjar self-excuting you also need to add ClassWorlds bootstrap classes (such as Bootstrapper, InitialClassLoader, JarUrlConnection). To put it all together here's a peek inside an Überjar:

WORLDS-INF/classworlds.jar
WORLDS-INF/lib/violet.jar
WORLDS-INF/conf/classworlds.conf
com/werken/classworlds/boot/Bootstrapper.class
com/werken/classworlds/boot/InitialClassLoader.class
com/werken/classworlds/protocol/jar/Handler.class
com/werken/classworlds/protocol/jar/JarUrlConnection.class

Automate, Automate, Automate. Pete Kazmier has written a Überjar Plug-in for Maven to let you automatically build Überjars while you sleep, jog or whatever.

Under Construction. Note, that ClassWorlds is still a work-in-progress and hasn't reached the 1.0 release yet. It's currently at Beta 3.

App Of The Week. Look Fabulosa. Vamp Up Your Apps With Better Look And Feels.

Swing lets you dress up your app using the latest and greatest looks from Paris, Milan, Berlin or Kiel. Check out the Spring 2003 fashion:

Luna Look. Stefan Krause created the Redhell Luna (=XP) look published under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Note, that the license excludes Micropoly XP icons and graphics and lets you run your app only under XP.

Try at http://www.stefan-krause.com/java/

Kunststoff Look. Jan Bösenberg (Incors) created the Kunststoff look published under the GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL).

Try at http://www.incors.org

Alloy Look. Alloy look - Kunststoff look's commercial sister - lets you make up your app with the season's color using pret-a-porter themes.

Try at http://www.incors.com

Skin Look. Frederic Lavigne created the Skin look offering a wide choice of themes such as Aqua, BeOS, MacOS Classico, Whistler (Windope 2000), Modern (Mozilla), Luna (XP) and others.

Try at http://www.l2fprod.com

Plastic Look. Karsten Lentzsch created the Plastic look offering more than a dozen ready-to-use color themes including a 3D theme (no goggles required).

Try at http://www.jgoodies.com

Web Start 1.4.2 Sneak Preview

Java 1.4.2 (=Mantis) upcoming in Spring 2003 will ship with Web Start 1.4.2. What's New?

  • Cosmetic: New Version Numbering. Web Start versions now sync with the Java Runtime (e.g. Web Start 1.4.2 ships with Java 1.4.2, Web Start 1.5 ships with Java 1.5 (=Tiger) and so on).
  • Auto-detection of "registered" Java Runtimes at startup. Previously Web Start detected installed Java Runtimes only once during its own installation. Now you can install or delete Java Runtimes as you please without worring about Web Start's Java Runtime registry getting out of sync.
  • Java Plug-In and Web Start join forces. Now you can configure Java Plug-In's and Web Start's configuration settings using a united control panel.
  • Web Start Jukebox Beefed Up. The Web Start application manager now lets you open URLs directly to start Web Start apps without worring about MIME types and also lets you bookmark Web Start apps or even Web Start app catalogs.
  • NTLM Proxy Authorization (Windope Only). Java 1.4.2 ships with NTLM proxy authorization support for HTTP and HTTPS.

OpenJNLP 0.7.1 Now Live

Kevin Herrboldt brushed up OpenJNLP - a Mozilla-licensed (MPL) Web Start clone. This minor update squashes some launching bugs and polishes the Mac OS X user interface.

New Features:

  • Use Main-Class attribute of main jar manifest if no main-class specified in <application-desc> tag of XML startup file.

Bug Fixes:

  • Properties were parsed but not passed on to app.
  • URLs containing special characters like '&'.
  • On Mac OS X the main window poped up twice in certain situations.
Swing Sightings #12 - Java on the Desktop Alive and Kicking - See Yourself

Check out episode #12 of Sun's ongoing showcase for Swing desktop apps dubbed Swing Sightings. Starring in the latest instalment:

  • Alloy Look & Feel
  • JDictionary (translates words and phrases from one language to another)
  • CryptoHeaven (Java email/chat/file-sharing client)
  • Oculus Layout System
  • Valuatum (tool for brokers to value companies)
  • SimplyHTML (a word processor using HTML and CSS)
  • Momentum (Jxta peer to peer (P2P) app for sharing and collaborating on documents and drawings using email, chat, and more)
  • ActiveStudio (dev studio for creating JavaScript "applets" on handheld wireless devices (RIM BlackBerry and Pocket PC))
  • JPhotoBrush (free image editing/brush-up app)
  • and more
Cutting Edge: JXTA + JNLP

Thomas Goldberg has created a JNLP-capable JxtaLoader. Thomas writes:

I'm interested in exploring how jxta-specific urls (possibly using cms or oopster) can be used to deliver classes and resources over the JXTA network, thereby eliminating the need to go to an external web servers for Module resources.

The JnlpLoader builds on the open-source Web Start clone, OpenJNLP.

Lopica - Web Start Enyclopedia Winter Edition Hot Off The Press

I have updated the Unoffical Web Start FAQ. New entries include

  • Can Web Start resume downloads?
  • Can I update running apps?
  • How can I install Web Start with a single click using the ActiveX auto-installer from an Intranet?
  • How can I install a Java Runtime plus Web Start with a single click using the ActiveX auto-installer?
  • How does Web Start check for updates? What's up with forceUpdate?
  • Why do I get a class loading error when turning off the Web Start debug console?
  • How can I set properties for unsigned apps?
  • How can I configure the java.util.logging.LogManager under Web Start?
  • Do I need to sign all jars?
  • Why does "Java Web Start Window" appear on top of my window on Unix?
  • Do unsigned apps work through a proxy?
  • How can I use JAAS and JBoss together with Web Start?
  • What are the major EJB Class Loading Headaches?
  • How can I set my applet's screen position?

You can find the Web Start FAQ online at http://lopica.sourceforge.net/faq.html

Note, that the Web Start FAQ is also available as a 100-page pdf booklet if you want to wrap it up as gift for Christmas. Grab the Lopica download package at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=64065

Please, send any suggestions or comments about the Web Start FAQ to the Lopica mailinglist - http://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/lopica-talk.

Web Start Back Office Upcoming

Sun and partners develop a new standard for back office support for Web Start under the JSR (Java Specification Request) #124 entitled "J2EE Client Provisioning Specification". The upcoming back office will also support other auto-download techniques besides Web Start such as Java Micro Midlets or DoCoMo iAppli (popular in Japan) for mobile phones. The spec also defines a new jar archive format named Provisioning Archive (PAR) that lets you drop in your packed up and versioned apps in any compliant back office server. The back office server will handle billing, user authorization, and much more.

Read the full spec request (JSR-124) at http://www.jcp.org/jsr/detail/124.jsp or read the full story at.

Who Shrank my Jars?

Sun posted a new JSR (Java Specification Request) #200 entitled "Network Transfer Format for Java Archives" aiming to shrink jars by a factor of seven to nine (instead of the current factor of about two) in the upcoming Tiger (=Java 1.5) release. Sun already field-tested the new format nicknamed "Pack" in the Java Runtime 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 installers for Windows yielding factor seven-to-nine download size reductions. Selected quotes:

The Java archive format can compress these classes at the byte level only, leading to meager reduction factor of about two. We need to compress the classes much more efficiently, thus, making network transfers faster and therefore more reliable.

An example of a more effective compression is the Pack format which was developed to reduce the download size of the Java Runtime 1.4.1 and 1.4.2 installer for Windows. The Pack format simultaneously organizes the layout of all classes and resource files within a jar, removing repetitions of shared structures, and yielding a reduction factor of seven to nine. (This relies on a post-packing compression step using, an off the-shelf-utility such as zip.) After a comparatively fast download, the receiving system uncompresses and unpacks the data, producing a locally stored jar archive equivalent to the originally packed jar ready for consumption.

The product will be ready for the Tiger release of J2SDK and J2RE.

Read the full spec request (JSR-200) at http://www.jcp.org/jsr/detail/200.jsp

Got Resources?

Vladimir Roubtsov answers the question "What is the difference between Class.getResource() and ClassLoader.getResource()?" in the Java Q & A article entitled "Got resources? Two strategies for loading resource bundles and property files from Java code" published at Java World.

Read the full story at http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/javaqa/2002-11/02-qa-1122-resources.html

Web Start vs. Zero G Powder Update vs. Sitraka CashflowDirector

Jonathan Simon (Liquidnet) wrote an article entitled "Update distributed applications: A comparison of auto-updating solutions for thick clients" published at Java World.

Since Jonathan seems a little too cheery about CashflowDirector ("If you are building an Intranet-deployed enterprise application requiring complex deployment logic, you should use CashflowDirector hands down ... CashflowDirector light years ahead of any other solution") I want to point out some facts to counter Sitraka's propaganda.

Jonathan gives CashflowDirector an unqualified Yes for automated JRE installation and management while trashing Web Start with "Minimial" saying that: "Web Start supports system-wide JREs only. Therefore if a client does not have the specified JRE installed, the client must still run a JRE Download Protocol-compliant JRE distribution and agree to a license."

How CashflowDirector can outshine Web Start, if you consider that CashflowDirector cannot even share JREs between different vendor apps, is beyond me. CashflowDirector also doesn't differentiate between platform and product versions for JREs. (Web Start, for example, lets you request a vendor-specific (=product) JRE (say from Sun or IBM) instead of a vendor-independent (=platform) JRE.) Finally, you don't need to agree to a license if you auto-download a JRE via Web Start.

While Jonathan has no shortage of showstoppers for Web Start the major CashflowDirector showstopper he lists reads: This is a heavyweight, complex product intended to handle complex deployment scenarios. It takes some time to learn the system.

CashflowDirector is hardly the proclaimed Web Start killer or the out-of-the-box, been-there-done-that, can-do-it-all swiss-army-knife. For a start, consider these showstoppers:

  • CashflowDirector doesn't support JNLP. (How future proof is that? All CashflowDirector can handle (if you're lucky), is converting JNLP files into CashflowDirector's secret, single-vendor format.)
  • CashflowDirector doesn't support code signing or sandboxing. (How complex is that?)
  • CashflowDirector can't share jars between apps (CashflowDirector has no clue about dependent libraries, for example. CashflowDirector also doesn't use a single download cache with all parts identified by URLs instead it's a classic, pre-Internet, DLL-hell area "solution" that lets you sprinkle downloads all over the place.)
  • CashflowDirector uses a signed applet as a bootstrap installer (requiring a browser with Java that also lets you break out of the sandbox; no ActiveX installer or browser helper app are available).
  • CashflowDirector is an over-priced, closed-source, single-vendor product. (How trustworthy is that? Also consider that Sitraka announced JNLP support more than two years ago and hasn't delivered anything other than an import-filter.)
  • CashflowDirector doesn't come pre-installed on Mac OS X or any other OS.
  • CashflowDirector can't use plain-vanilla hyperlinks. Say goodbye to your application portal.
  • CashflowDirector can't use plain-vanilla web servers.
  • And much more.

Read the full story at http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-11-2002/jw-1122-autoupdate.html

Discussion Spotlight: To Sandbox or Not To Sandbox

Mark Swanson wrote a paper arguing that you should think twice before signing your app to let it play outside the sandbox.

Inside Redhell: .Nyet "Zero-Touch" Rich Desktop App Whitepaper

Micropoly published a Whitepaper on "Zero-Touch" Rich Desktop Apps for .Nyet. Thanks to .Nyet and Jamie Cool, IT admins can roll out (Super) Rich Desktop Apps as easily as Web pages in three ways:

#1: URL launched executable

Run apps by pointing the Internet Exploder Petri Dish directly at executables, say http://redhell.com/truth-or-dare.exe

#2: Use the Assembly.LoadFrom method from the System.Reflection class

Requires that you dowload a hand-rolled, hard-coded, bootstrap installer before you can kickstart a "zero-touch" app off the Web. Repeat for every app and sprinkle your desktop with half-baked bootstrap installers; kickstarting through Web Browsers not included.

#3: Use the .Nyet Application Updater component

Use a handy piece of unsupported sample code (aka hack) written by Jamie Cool, a Micropoly .Nyet apparatchik, in his spare time to experience the state-of-the-art of rolling out thousands of .Nyet "zero-touch" desktop apps.

Full story at http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/techinfo/articles/smartclient/default.asp

Web Start Article. Moving on to Web Start 1.2

Sun published a Web Start article by John Zukowski entitled "Moving on to Web Start 1.2: What's New, Different, and Improved". John Zukowski shows off the Web Start's 1.2 goodies shipping with Java 1.4.1 and greater, such as

  • one-click Web Start auto-install for Windows using an Internet Exploder ActiceX plug-in
  • creating your own splash screens
  • using non-UTF-8 character encodings such as UTF-16, ISO-8859-1, or Cp1252 in XML startup files
Hasta Lavista

I'm on vacation and on the road in the Pacific Northwest. I will be back on air in October to kick off the fall season. Enjoy the summer.

Web Start - Just Click Here

Web Start Single-Click Button Gallery. How to seduce Grandma Trudy. Check out the case-studies from the real-world.

Web Start Button Green Web Start Button Red Web Start Button Now Web Start Button Poseidon Web Start Button Alloy
Web Start Vamps Up OS/2

IBM announced in a "Statement of Intent" to ship Java Web Start for OS/2 in Q4 2002 (that is, this fall). IBM plans to include desktop integration (that is, shortcut icons, startup menu entries, etc.) for OS/2 too.

Full story at http://www.ibm.com/software/os/warp/swchoice/

Gnome and KDE Shortcuts

Blackdown's Linux Java Runtime v1.4.1-beta available in x86 and SPARC flavors includes Web Start 1.2 that can create shortcut icons and menu entries for both Gnome and KDE desktops.

Sun's Java Runtime Redistribution Terms Revisted

Sun's Java runtime README lists all optional files that you can drop from the runtime without breaching Sun's free redistribution license. See for the fineprint.

To find out more about shipping your masterpiece with Sun's Java runtime check out the "Java Runtime Notes for Developers" at For Windope Sun reveals the Java runtime's registry settings and drop off points in case you want to roll your own installer. See for details.

App Of The Week. Go Go. Make your move and conquer the board.

The game of Go, a chess-like boardgame, started in the Himalayas and now, three thousand years later, you can fire off Go boards using Web Start and take on Go masters in Japan, Korea, China or Kentucky.

Kick start Rene Grothmann's Jago (1.3 Meg) - http://jagoclient.sourceforge.net - or Peter Strempel's gGo (1.4 Meg) - http://ggo.sourceforge.net and join the twenty-five million Go players worldwide or show Deep Blue who's the boss.

Post often, post early. Help promote all the great Web Start apps out there and post your comments about your favorite Web Start app at. Every week I will profile a different Web Start app - including your quotes.

Applets vs. Web Start. Both will thrive, side-by-side

Sun explains the difference between applets (Java Plug-In) and apps (Java Web Start) at its Grandma-Trudy-friendly Get-Java website.

What is Java Plug-in?

Java Plug-in allows you to run programs called applets inside your Web browser. Applets are mini-programs written in Java specifically to run within a Web browser.

What is Java Web Start?

Java Web Start allows full-featured programs written in Java to be launched by web links, and run outside the browser.

This allows Web sites to offer full-strength apps with the convenience of a web link: you simply click the link to get and run the program without typical installation hassles and without the limitations of applets running inside a browser.

Still Confused?

Roedy Green's applet glossary entry reads:

An applet is a partial Java program designed to run inside the womb of a web browser, with help from some predefined support classes. An applet must run inside a web browser. You cannot run it from the command line using java.exe.

(Source: http://mindprod.com)

Roedy Green's Java Web Start glossary entry reads:

Java Web Start applications don't require a browser to run, though they can be triggered from a browser. They don't require an Internet connection to run, though normally would require one to download. Unlike Applets, all application jars are cached on the client and are never automatically discarded. They are a quite different sort of animal from Applets, and are more closely allied to applications. Since they are only downloaded once, they can be just as large as any other Java application, e.g. running from a few kilobytes to twenty-five megabyte gorillas and beyond. I think of them as a Java application plus a simple installer and automatic update applier. The entire installation is controlled by a short XML text file with the extension .jnlp.

Some of the terms for Java Web Start applications are:

  • rich clients
  • rich Internet apps
  • rich desktop apps

(Source: http://mindprod.com)

Web Start != Applet 2.0/NT. To sum it up. Both apps and applets will thrive, side-by-side.

  • Applets run inside web pages on the browser's one and only Java runtime.
  • Web Start apps run outside the browser on their very own Java runtime.
  • Applets: dynamic content inside a web page in a browser
  • Web Start apps: full-blown, stand-alone desktop apps that run without browser
Amazon + XUL + Web Start

Robert Bajzet's Thinlet - the world's tiniest XUL engine squeezed into a 26 k jar - now sports demos that you can fire off using Web Start.

Web Start Desktop Liberation Campaign. Campaign Slogans Wanted

Web Start is the key to unlock the gates to King William's Windows empire. Once the Web Start trojan horse is inside the fortress a single-click is all that is needed to sneak in Java apps.

To spread the Web Start gospel and to help Grandma Trudy flood her desktop with Java apps, make up some slogans for a grass-root Web Start desktop liberation campaign. Here are some first chants:

  • You Click the Button - Web Start does the Rest
  • Web Start - Just Click Here
  • Web Start - The Real Thing
  • Web Start - Java Power for the Hoi Polloi
  • Web Start - End of Classpath Hell - Now Grandma Trudy Gets Her Java Fix
  • Web Start - The Java Conquest of King William's Island
  • Web Start - Opening the Gates to Windows
  • Web Start - Hyperlinks on Steroids
  • Web Start - Thousands of Apps At Your Fingertips
  • Web Start - Single-Click Magic

Post your campaign ideas in the Java lobby at http://www.javalobby.org

Design Corner. Kick start Web Start apps a la carte

Avante-garde artist Alex Prayle remodeled the Web Start Jukebox for Grandma Trudy.

One Degree of Separation. Jon A. Maxwell, of NetX fame, has already created a Java Start Button that you can kick off using Web Start today. Get your button at http://ocd.sourceforge.net/netx/start/start.html

dmoz.org Welcomes Web Start

The Open Directory - the largest human-edited directory of the Web - adds a Web Start chapter. Uncover Web Start links in Computers > Programming > Languages > Java > Development Tools > Deployment > Java Web Start and JNLP. Twenty-two and counting.

Web Start Article. Beyond the Java Plug-In

Sun published a Web Start article by John Zukowski entitled "Beyond the Java Plug-In - Deploying Apps with Web Start: Learn how to use Web Start to build and deploy cross-platform, client-side apps". John Zukowski concludes:

Now that Web Start is a standard feature of Java 1.4, look for its popularity to continue to grow. The ability to deploy rich clients easily without having to deal with browser incompatibilities and provide automatic caching are all the more reason to consider it as an installation option.

App Of The Week. Fly over the Grand Canyon or Play DukeRoids Full Screen

Sun's JCanyon flight simulator demos the new high-speed, high-througput I/O API built into Java 1.4. Once you kick start JCanyon, Web Start downloads the Grand Canyon packed into a tiny 20 meg jar and recreates the world wonder in a 300 meg explosion on your very own hard disk for a smooth flying experience.

DukeRoids, a miniscule game (100 k), demos Java's 1.4 built-in 2D performance acceleration, including:

  • full-screen/exclusive mode
  • multi buffering ("flips" the back buffer stored in offscreen memory onto the screen)
  • transparent sprite acceleration (Windope only)

Post often, post early. Help promote all the great Web Start apps out there and post your comments about your favorite Web Start app at. Every week I will profile a different Web Start app - including your quotes.

Web Start Encyclopedia. Summer Upgrade

I updated the Unofficial Web Start/JNLP FAQ. Newcomers this month include:

  • Can I create my own Java runtime installers without breaching Sun's license?
  • How can I change the splash screen?
  • How can I turn off Web Start's splash screen?
  • How can I create a shortcut on the first launch?
  • How can I auto-download an international Java runtime?
  • What's the best way to move my Web Start apps to a different server?
  • How can I install my own authenticator?
  • and many more.

Summer beach reading. You can also download a 97-page pdf booklet (250k) for printing and offline reading.

Web Start Applet Campaign

Free your applets from the browser's archaic Java runtime. Use Web Start to fire off your free-floating, popup applets and avoid the Java runtime version lottery.

Two easy steps to free your applet from the browser's shackels. 1) Put your applet's classes into a jar and 2) create a Web Start XML startup file using the <applet-desc> tag. Example:

<jnlp codebase="http://cloud7.org/applets" href="amoebas.jnlp">
  <information>
    <title>Amoebas</title>
    <vendor>Karl Hörnell</vendor>
    <homepage href="http://www.javaonthebrain.com/java/amoebas/about.html" />
    <offline-allowed />
  </information>

  <resources>
    <j2se version="1.2+" />
    <jar href="amoebas.jar" main="true" />
  </resources>

  <applet-desc main-class="amoebas" name="amoebas" width="288" height="288"/>
</jnlp>

Web Start Applet Spotting. Web Start applets in the wild. If you happen to spot a Web Start applet on the World Wide Web, please let me know. I will showcase this rare creature in an upcoming episode.

Inside Redhell. The politburo takes on Web Start, Episode II

Comrade Joel Semeniuk further outlines the politburo's scheme to take over the Net in the article "Extend App Usability With Smart Clients: After the popularity of fat clients, thin was in. Now combine - and surpass - the best features of thick and thin clients with .Njet" published in the .Njet Magazine July issue. Selected quotes:

Many application architects overlook the ability to create Windope Forms applications that leverage the auto-deploy and auto-update features in .Njet.

Auto-deploy applications consist of a small "loader" application that resides on the client desktop. Its sole responsibility is to find and load the application's assemblies and forms.

You also need to install the .Njet runtime on each desktop computer.

When launched, the loader application downloads and caches your application's assemblies.

If all your clients run Windope XP, your loader application can even take advantage of Windope XP's Background Intelligent Transfer Service to download updated versions of the assemblies behind the scenes, even while the user is using the application.

OpenJNLP 0.7 Now Live

Kevin Herrboldt polished OpenJNLP. OpenJNLP now even supports applets and you can kick start OpenJNLP itself using Web Start.

Developer pack. You can also embed the GUI-less OpenJNLP engine (parser, launcher, cache, and so on) in your own apps. It's now available as separate package.

Inside Redhell. The politburo takes on Web Start

Comrade Chris Sells outlines the politburo's scheme to take over the Net in the article ".Net Zero Deployment: Security and Versioning Models in the Windope Forms Engine Help You Create and Deploy Smart Clients" published in the Micropoly Pravda July issue. Selected quotes (I'm not making them up):

Compared with Visual Basic, MFC or even Win32, HTML is woefully inadequate for building applications.

.Net marries the latest version of the forms engine that made Visual Basic a corporate development mainstay with the kind of deployment model that turns an IT manager's head. The engine is called Windows Forms and the deployment model is built right into .Net.

Just like Web application, a Windows Forms application can be deployed on a Web server and executed by merely surfing to a URL.

Full story at http://msdn.microsoft.com

Understanding Politburo-speak. The following is a short guide to some Redhell words and phrases:

Dot Njet Web Start
assembly jar
global assembly cache (GAC) Web Start cache
private assembly unsigned jar
global (strong name) assembly signed (trusted) jar
isolated storage muffins
app base code base
ieexec.exe javaws.exe
.dll, .exe .jar

Web Start 1.2 Beta Now Playing. Sun delivers big time

Web Start 1.2 Beta ships with Java 1.4.1 Beta (aka Hopper). Download it at.

Web Start Promoted. Note that starting with Java 1.4.1 you can no longer download Web Start without a Java runtime (or a Java runtime without Web Start).

Breakthroughs. What's new in Web Start 1.2?

  • "One-click" auto-install using an ActiveX browser plug-in that pulls down the Java runtime plus Web Start (if needed) and your app (Windope only)
  • https support (that is, SSL - secure socket connections)
  • roll your own splash screens
  • examples, examples, examples (WebPad, random access file demo, extension installer demo, nativelib demo, CORBA RMI-IIOP demo)
  • and much more
App of the Week. Data mining

Jerason Banes's Data Dino lets you play with your favorite database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, DB2, etc.). Data Dino includes a schema browser, SQL editor, data importer/exporter and more. Kick off Data Dino at http://www.datadino.com/tryit.html or watch a trailer at http://www.datadino.com/screenshots.html.

Markus Kobold's iSQL Viewer lets you pick your database's brain using a SQL shell with a table grid and even a picture, hex edit or HTML browser view for blobs. Launch iSQL Viewer at http://isql.sourceforge.net.

Puzzle of the Month. Offline CD Installer

Create a single, self-contained, self-executing jar that contains a stripped down Tomcat web server and servlet engine, Sun's JnlpDownloadServlet and all your app's jars, JNLP startup files, icons and so on.

Hint. Check out Christopher K. St. John's Tomcat offspring (dubbed MinTC) designed to run from inside an app's jar requiring no local file system access for running servlets and dishing out ready-made content .

Legalese demystified. Sun's Java runtime redistribution terms in plain-English

Warning: I'm not a lawyer, a ballerina, Scott MacNeally or Elvis Presley.

You can freely (free-of-charge) redistribute Sun's Java runtime (including Web Start) with your masterpiece (known as value-added app).

Sun also allows you to repackage the Java runtime (so that you can auto-install it with your very own Web Start installer).

Taboos. Sun doesn't allow you to redistribute stand-alone Java runtimes (that is, without your app) on CDs in books or magazines, for example, without asking their licensing department first.

Also Sun doesn't allow you to redistribute pre-release (aka Beta) Java runtimes (e.g. JRE v.1.4.1 Beta) without permission.

Sun's license states that you aren't allowed to "modify" the Java runtime meaning you aren't allowed to change the code (e.g. replacing Sun's java.net.Socket class with your very own). Note that, "modify" in legalese doesn't forbid repacking. You can even drop some files from Sun's Java runtime distro if Sun tagged them as optional (vs. required).

On Language. Fattie. What's wrong with fat clients?

Ask a family doctor and she will tell you that thin clients snacking on low fat pretzels instead of greasy Cheddar chips live longer, heart-stroke-free lifes. Also like yin goes with yang and every coin has two sides so every client needs a Sun server and the thinner the client and the fatter the server the healthier Sun's bottom line looks.

Let's spin it. Pick your favorite fat client word killer:

  • connected desktop app
  • rich Internet app
  • rich client
  • smart client

If you want to stress the zero-admin, single-click, always-up-to-date, auto-install Web Start magic, try rich Internet app.

Micropoly calls their .Net Web Start-like apps "smart" clients.

If you sell Web Stat apps to your boss, try rich clients. If he doesn't blink, try super-rich clients.

Web Start Applet Campaign

Rise Again. Help to repackage high-quality, fun Java applets such as Karl Hörnell's Iceblox, Solitaire, Mastermind or Rubik Unbound (http://www.javaonthebrain.com/brain.html) to give them the attention they deserve.

Web Start in Your Palm

If you feel adventurous, try out X-Smiles, a XML browser sporting XHTML, SVG, XForms and more. For the rundown on how to kick start X-Smiles on your SaveJe-powered iPaq surf to http://www.x-smiles.org/configuration2.html

App Of The Week. Model-mania.

If you hunger for Rational Rope or Together Cemetery copycats that you can fire off using Web Start's single-click magic, try out Tigris Argo UML (http://argouml.tigris.org) or Gentleware Poseidon (http://www.gentleware.com).

Marc van Woerkom comments on Argo UML, a free, open-source UML editor:

An interesting bit about Argo UML is how they speed up their large app by forcing class loading in a background thread.

Marc van Woerkom comments on Poseidon, a commercial cousin of Argo UML:

Interesting about Poseidon is how they handle key registration for their Web Start app, a common task for commercial apps.

Be warned that Poseidon goobles up about 10-30 meg of disk space (in case you happen to outlive the download). For something lighter try out Cay Horstmann's Violet, a Rose killer, squeezed into a 90 k jar at http://horstmann.com/violet/.

Free JNLP Tag Reference

Take away. I will bundle the framed JNLP tag reference with the upcoming Luxor Beta 5. Check back in a week at http://luxor-xul.sourceforge.net to get your offline copy.

XML Insight

JNLP is 100 % pure, squeaky-clean, authentic XML allowing you to use a bonanza of XML gizmos to create, check or kick around JNLP startup files.

Body check example. Use Xerces' SAXCount to study your JNLP start-up file's well-formed'ness. Example:

java sax.SAXCount c:/sandbox/ramses/src/etc/notepad.jnlp

results in the diagnosis below:

c:/sandbox/ramses/src/etc/notepad.jnlp: 660 ms (22 elems, 16 attrs, 0 spaces, 287 chars)

Even without a DTD or XML W3C schema you can now safely claim that

  • quotation marks enclose all attribute values
  • all non-empty elements sprout proper opening and closing tags
  • all tags nest smoothly (without any overlap)
  • and more
Free, Zero-Dollar Web Start Key Certificate

Sign your Web Start apps with a free, zero-Euro key certificate underwritten by Thwate Free Mail (http://www.thawte.com/getinfo/products/personal/join.html) that is included in Web Start's built-in certificate key ring.

Richard Dallaway wrote up all the steps including all keytool commands (that is, generate a RSA key, export the key to a certification request text file, import the underwritten real thing in your key ring) and shows screenshots how Web Start's dire security advisory warning changed to

"Caution: Thawte Freemail Member asserts that this content is safe. You should only install and run this application if you trust Thawte Freemail Member to make this assertion."

from

"Warning: Failed to verify the authenticity of this certificate. No assertions can be made of the origin or validity of the code. It is highly recommended not to install and run this code.".

Surf to Richard Dallaway's "Java Web Start and Code Signing" hands-on, how-to paper (available as a 4-page pdf booklet as well) at - http://www.dallaway.com/acad/webstart/

Automate. Automate. Automate

Use Ant (http://ant.apache.org), the open-source, cross-platform, extensible, XML-scriptable build world wonder, to package your Web Start apps in jars and sign them off with your key certificate in less than ten lines of self-explaining, tab-less, !&#%-free XML text. Example:

<jar jarfile="${build.bin.dir}/notepad.jar">
  <fileset dir="${src.dir}/chrome/notepad" />
  <fileset dir="${build.classes.dir}" includes="demo/notepad/**" />           
</jar>

<signjar alias="aphrodite"
    storepass="mercury"
    keypass="mercury"
    keystore="${src.dir}/venus.keystore"
    jar="${dist.bin.dir}/notepad.jar" />

Read about Ant on the beach or in your jacuzzi.

  • O'Reilly published "Ant: The Definitive Guide" by Eric M. Burke, Jesse E. Tilly in May (288 pages) - O'Reilly, Amazon
  • Manning finishes up "Java Development with Ant" by Erik Hatcher and Steve Loughran expected in store in August (450 pages) - Manning, Amazon
Book Freebie

What's new in Java 1.4? You can download Greg Travis' 400-page Java 1.4 Tutorial published by Manning as a free pdf copy (~10 Meg) (http://www.javalobby.org) at Java Lobby's "Members Only" section (http://www.javalobby.org) (Sign-up is free-of-charge). Greg Travis shows off all the goodies that Sun packed into Java 1.4 including Web Start. Don't let the title fool you as the Java 1.4 Tutorial is not a beginner's crash course explaining while loops or garbage collection. Web Start coverage in Chapter 4 includes:

  • Understanding the Web Start execution model (Client, server, and application; The Sandbox)
  • Building and deploying a Web Start app (Jar files; The JNLP file; Configuring the web server)
  • Using the Sandbox: Services (Using the Sandbox: Resources)
  • Bypassing the Sandbox
  • Example: A simple drawing program

See Amazon, Manning for reviews, table of contents, and more.

Discussion Thread Spotlight

Is Sun doing enough to promote Web Start? Join the discussion and share your opinion in the Java lobby at http://www.javalobby.org

Web Start + XUL + Web Services

Web Start + XUL + Python + SVG. Luxor XUL, the world's first Web Start-ed XUL browser/engine/sandbox, reaches beyond the Web Services craze and tops off the GPL'ed open-source toolkit with a built-in scripting interpreter (Python - http://www.jython.org), a built-in portal engine, a built-in template engine (Velocity - http://jakarta.apache.org), a built-in 2D engine (Batik SVG - http://xml.apache.org/batik) and more.

Download the future and time travel at Luxor XUL's site @ Sourceforge - http://luxor-xul.sourceforge.net.

Alternative Corner. Farewell Farlets

Igor Gorbunov adds farlets to the zaplets, weblets, swinglets, spotlets, portlets, pluglets, pagelets, midlets, domlets, applets and aglets battery. Farlets supposedly let you run Web Services on your own machine after auto-downloading the code or Google search appliance. Join the clueless at http://www.theserverside.com/discussion/thread.jsp?thread_id=13793

Web Start Talk Spotlight

You can find my fast-paced, no-fluff, tip-packed, all-in-one, frameless Web Start JUG talk slides at http://www.vamphq.com/talk/jug-jan-2002/slides.html. Headlines include

  • Is Java Dead On The Desktop? - What The Critics Say
  • Java On The Desktop: Dream On
  • Isn't Dynamic HTML and JavaScript enough?
  • Web Start vs. Applets
  • Web Start Cache - End of Classpath Hell
  • What Is A Client Archive (.car)?
  • Web Start 2.0 - If I Were King
  • and much more
ResMan Power Getters

Rachel 2.0 now sports high-level power getters such as getText, getIcon, getImage, getProperties and even getXmlDocument that hide the low-level, close-to-the-metal getResource and getResourceAsStream class loader wizardy. Full story at http://rachel.sourceforge.net/tutorial2.html.

Apple Mac OS X

As Web Start ships with every Macintosh New York Times Columnist and Bestselling Missing Manual Comedian David Pogue introduces thousands of Apple users to Web Start in Mac OS X: The Missing Manual. David Pogue writes:

... when you click on of the demo Launch buttons, Web Start kicks in to do its thing ...
Web Start downloads all the necessary files and starts running the program you select - all with one click, and without relying on the Web browser. In fact, Web Start doesn't just run Java programs; it also stores them on your system so you can launch them again later, either by double-clicking their icons or from within the Web Start application itself. You don't have to use a Web browser or reconnect to a Web Site.
... connect to a Web site, click a button, and start using whatever program you need, without having to hassle with manual installation at all.

For full details about David Pogue's Mac OS X: The Missing Manual swing over to Amazon, O'Reilly or http://www.missingmanuals.com

To witness that Mac OS X 10.1 ships with Web Start stop by at http://developer.apple.com/java/javawebstart/ If you think Sun's Web Start demos are lame, don't even bother kicking off any from Apple.

Bookshelf. 500-page Jave Deployment Tome

Mauro Marinilli wrote a 500-page tome about Java Deployment (JNLP, WebStart, J2EE, J2SE) published in September 2001 by Sams - Amazon

Java 1.4 Auto-Download. It's official

Sun sent in an email that Java 1.4 runtimes are now available for Web Start auto-downloading. Runtime flavors include Solaris-SPARC, Linux and Windows US and I18N.

Alternative Corner. Go Native

Using Eclipse SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) you can now compile your Java GUI app into a binary that fits onto a single 1.44 Meg floppy disk (including the Java runtime). For compilers check out:

Kirk Vogen wrote an article entitled "Create native, cross-platform GUI applications: How GCJ, Linux, and the SWT come together to solve the Java UI conundrum" (April 2002) online at http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/java/library/j-nativegui/

Alternative Corner II. Compile your Java GUI app including runtime into a less-than-one-Meg, self-installing ActiveX control. Check out Adam Megacz's open-source GPL'ed XWT (XML Windowing Toolkit) engine for a real-world example - http://www.xwt.org

Oops, I did it again

JavaZoom's jlGui WinAmp-skinned MP3 and OGG Vorbis music player builts the JNLP startup file to suit your personality. Choose a skin and a song and let a JSP dish out your made-to-order JNLP startup file - http://www.javazoom.net

Discussion Thread Spotlight

Can Web Start save Java on the Desktop? Join the ranting in the Java lobby at http://www.javalobby.org

Awards. The Winner Is ... Web Start

Web Start wins JavaWorld Editor's Choice 2002 as Best Installation Tool - http://www.javaworld.com

News
Breaking News About Web Start; also known as the lopica-announce Mailing List
Getting Started
Web Start Link Bonanza to Get Started
Official Sun FAQs, Forums
Ask newbie or troubleshooting questions at Sun's Java Desktop site (Censored)
Java runtime installer and auto-update forum at Sun's Java Desktop site (Censored)
Unofficial FAQs, Mailinglists
No details spared. Uncensored answers from the trenches.
Beyond the basics; Share insights, scripts, code snippets, extension installers, how-tos and other goodies
Launchers
Open-Source App Launcher; Last Updated: February, 2003
Open-Source Projects
Suite of servlets and scripts to help you serve up Web Start apps and Java runtimes
Launch Web Start Apps Without Web Start; Test Skeleton and Sandbox Services Toolkit
Resource Loading Made Easy; Resource Loading Toolkit for Web Start
Top 10 - Hall of Fame
Wrinkle-Free, High-Glossy Swing App for Browsing Your Hard Disk
Address Book, Instant Messenger, Calendar, Event and Task Tracker Suite
IRC Client includes Encrypted DCC, Scripting, Skins, Whiteboard, SSL
Japanese Characters Demystified; Kunststoff Look And Feel
Internet Privacy and Anonymity Proxy
Java Unit Tester
Stare at Geolocated Scientific Datasets
Graph and Diagram Designer
Gerald's Picks
Pump Up the Volume; WinAmp Skinned MP3 Player
Kick Start Web Start Apps A La Carte
Newcomers This Week
Nicer Look, Better Feel Showcase
Catalog your Albums, CDs, Books and other Music Memorabillia
App Catalogs
Categorized App Directory
Sun's Bi-Monthly Swing Sightings Series Includes Links To Web Start Apps
More Links
Open-Source Project Bonaza Creek; Dig for Nuggets
Pick-Up Open-Source Projects at the Meat Market

Send your comments, suggestions, praise or poems to webmistress@vamphq.com Copyright © 2002, 2003 Gerald Bauer