{ by david linsin }

September 28, 2007

Is the Consumer JRE on par with flash

A while ago I kinda ranted about Java applet's start up time in comparison to flash. Yesterday I read an article at InfoQ about the progress on the Consumer JRE, that Sun is working on. And it sounds very interesting.

Apperently the JRE will consist of a so called kernel, which contains the basic blocks of the Java runtime. When an application needs additional resources of the runtime, they are being downloaded transparently. As I understand it, you will have a custom JRE installation on your system, that only consists of the parts that are needed to run your application. I think that's pretty awesome! Think of an average user, that only wants to use a chat applet on a website. Instead of downloading and installing the full-fledged JRE, which is more than 10MB, he downloads about 2MB and is ready to start chatting.

This is definitely going to be positive in terms of start up time, since the overall JRE is quite small (depending on your application of course). In addition to that, Sun is planning to further improve start up time, at least on Windows. A configurable background service is going to keep the JRE files in the disk cache, so that access time is minimized. In my opinion this should allow flash-like experience with applets.

I really like where this is heading and I hope that one day applets are able replace flash in the browser.

4 comments:

Dominik said...

Well, as long as Firefox doubles its memory footprint everytime a applet is starting, I won't cheer for applets anytime soon...

david said...

Stuff like that is supposed to be addressed by the Consumer JRE, which tackles memory footprint.

Anonymous said...

That Firefox increases from 70 MB to 140 MB means very little to a user with 2GB of RAM. That level of memory increase is becoming a total non-issue to non-system admins (read: everyone).

I've tested the consumer JRE with quickstarter and it's very impressive: load time for Java is in the 1-2 second range. Not as fast as flash, but fast enough to not be noticed by the average user. In other words, Java may well we on its way back. We just need some killer applications.

One I saw recently is UpNext, at www.upnext.com. Demonstrates what Java can do that other platforms cannot yet.

david said...

That Firefox increases from 70 MB to 140 MB means very little to a user with 2GB of RAM.

That might be true, but I don't think the average consumer machine has 2GB RAM.

I've tested the consumer JRE with quickstarter and it's very impressive

Thanks for the insight! I hope to get a chance to check it out on the weekend.


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