Sun debuts Java Web Start

The software allows users to launch Java applications without worrying about browser compatibility

Sun Microsystems announced Wednesday at Internet World that it is shipping its Java Web Start software, which allows users to launch Java applications without worrying whether the Java platform is compatible with a particular Web browser.

Because Java Web Start determines which version of the Java platform is necessary to run a Java application, users of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator/Communicator and other browsers simply click on a link to download and run applications, said company officials.

"We want to be independent of the browser to launch new applications," said George Paolini, vice president of technology evangelism and marketing at Sun, in his keynote address in Los Angeles. "We want to provide Java applications in a truly heterogeneous environment in the enterprise and to [enterprise] customers."

In addition to one-click deployment, Java Web Start enables users to launch from a desktop icon or the Start Menu in Windows; provides the same look and feel from any platform user interface; automatically caches and updates applications to reduce startup time; and is secure, Sun officials said.

The software is based on the Java Network Launching Protocol, which is developed through the Java Community Process program. JCP is the process for developing and revising Java technology specifications, reference implementations and technology compatibility kits.

Sun also announced the release of its Java Media Framework API software, which allows users to capture, play back, stream and transcode audio and video media content across operating systems. Developers can use this API to integrate media content into Java applications and applets.

The JMF API multimedia toolkit can run on version 1.1.x and higher of the Java platform.

Paolini spent much of his keynote reviewing Sun's strategy of making Web and network services interoperable as well as intelligent through Sun's Open Network Environment architecture. He and a colleague, Oliver Petry, also demonstrated how the StarOffice 5.2 application productivity suite works on a Sun ONE Webtop as well as with wireless handhelds.

"This is the first application to build smart Web services," Paolini said.

Java Web Start can be downloaded for free from Sun's site.

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