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Oracle to Get Rid of Browser Plugin in Java 9 Release

January 28, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

If we think about all of the things that enable websites to deliver the content and experiences they do, there are a few key technologies that make it all possible. While HTML5 is steadily replacing a lot of this content, the likes of Java and Flash still hang around even today. The mobile web has managed to shun both Flash and Java plugins for years now, but those on a desktop machine or laptop will know only too well the pain of making sure plugins are up-to-date and safe. Adobe’s Flash has been a constant pain in the side for citizens of the web, and Google has bundled and taken care of their own Flash plugin for a long time now. Oracle, the firm responsible for the dreaded Java plugin is finally going to put it bed in the next release of Java this year.

As the company’s blog post notes, the decision was made due to software houses removing or reducing support for plugins in their browsers. Google has become quite bullish about their stance on Extensions for Chrome, and others are seeing more security and a more stable browsing experience in kicking plugins to the kerb. Oracle will use Java 9 as their opportunity to bid farewell to the browser plugin, and developers that create Java-powered web apps will need to become familiar with Java Web Start. The plugin-free solution will become the norm for all Java Applets in release 9 onwards.

This is perhaps a positive step for the whole web, too. Deprecated Java Applets that use an older version of the web plugin that don’t update to the plugin-free Web Start solution will fall by the wayside and become forgotten. This should ensure that average users – provided they’re using the latest versions of their browsers – won’t be exposed to insecure and outdated code. Regardless, it seems that the web is undergoing one more subtle change, moving away from clunky and hungry solutions that powered the early web in the early 00’s. Now, if we can only get rid of Flash entirely…