Sunday, September 07, 2008

Google Chrome and Java Applets

Well, loathe as I am to add yet another blog post to the insane amount of Chrome related items that were blogged and reported last week, I did notice something interesting with regard to Chrome running Java applets.

Pretty much the first thing I did after installing Chrome was to try it out with an applet as I wasn't sure whether Chrome supported applets or not. It did, it all seemed to work and I didn't think much more about it. It was only a day or two later after seeing some forum posts that I realised that Chrome only works with the latest version of Java SE, version 6 Update 10, which contains all the cool new features to make Java applets run better.

This could be a good thing - one thing I've said before is that Update 10 has some great features in it, but getting everyone to upgrade to it is going to be hard work. A lot of people, and especially most large corporations, do not regularly upgrade the version of Java SE on their desktop. So, if Chrome forces people to install the very latest version then great.

However, does Chrome explicitly tell users that they need that version of Java? Does it direct them to the right place to get it? If not, then it's just going to create more client-side Java confusion, and I've seen reports of Chrome not running Java properly even when Update 10 is present, and so it's great in principle to make people install the latest and greatest JRE, but unless it's a seamless and trouble-free experience to do so then it will not help Java's already tarnished client-side reputation.