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Deploying Rich Internet Applications in Mixed Environments: An Introduction to the Java Deployment Toolkit

April 12, 2010

Java Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are browser-based applications that use Java applets or Java Web Start applications to provide a rich user interface. Not all RIAs have the same requirements; for example, an applet may require the latest version of the Java plugin or the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), while a Java Web Start application may require a minimum version of Java Web Start software. The Java Deployment Toolkit (DT) can help ensure your Java RIA can successfully deploy and run in multiple types of environments.

The DT consists of a JavaScript library, an ActiveX control, and a plugin. The ActiveX control (for Microsoft Internet Explorer) and the plugin (for Firefox and other Mozilla-based browsers) are automatically installed with the JRE; they provide native, enhanced implementations of functions in the JavaScript library. If the ActiveX control or plugin is not installed, the corresponding JavaScript function is used instead.

The Deployment Toolkit script, which is available at, exposes a single object named deployJava, which provides a number of convenient functions, including, among others:

  • getBrowser()
  • getJREs()
  • getPlugin()
  • runApplet(attributes, parameters, minimumVersion)
  • installJRE(requestVersion)
  • installLatestJRE()
  • launch(jnlp)
  • launchWebStartApplication(jnlp)

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