Over the past year or so, I have been wondering about the state of Java Applets with respect to the whole web2.0 transformation and the current RIA war that is going on between the major RIA players. I kept wondering whether or not Applets could compete. Basically with the release of Java 6 update 10, some semblance of hope was brought back into applet development.
However, my major problem has been, that although these development were being made, no significant presence of applets could be felt on the Internet. As I have come to discover, it seems Java Applets, tend to solve mainly large problems that most of the new RIA can’t at the moment. The common applets than one may find, tend to be used either internally within large organisations, or are on the net for solving some specific problems, such as complex Math problems, advanced Image Editors, Scientific calculators, etc.
It seems due to the lack of media oriented components in the Java SE base, most developers cannot pull of things similar to what flash is currently popular for, ie Online Video Players, Photo Albums, Slide Shows, etc. But I’m guessing with the final releases of JavaFX later this year, that might change, since JWebPane will also be available then. I only wonder, just as many in the blogosphere, whether by then, it might be too late to compete. I am off the belief that is might not be, but time will tell.
But just to help many who may be wondering, here is a list of some of the current java applets (or sites that list them) that are taking center stage on the Internet:
The only conclusion that can be drawn, is that applets are still alive, but those in charge of making Java Applets work need to really get some muscle behind the code. The next year will be critical, and whoever emerges on top, might have a dominating lead for a good time to come.