The Deployment Toolkit

Jindrich Dinga is an Interaction Designer at Sun Microsystems, and he currently designs developer and consumer software.

It has been a couple of months since we posted the blog entry about changes to the Java installer. Today I want to tell you a couple of things about another usability improvement in the deployment area -- the Deployment Toolkit (DT).

If you're responsible for a web site that provides Java content, like games, applets or other features, you probably struggle with these common concerns: What if people who come to the site don't have the latest Java? Will they come back to the site after they get the latest Java? Are they confused when they have to allow an ActiveX control to run? There are currently a whole set of related issues. Using the Deployment Toolkit, however, these issues will be gone.

The Deployment Toolkit consists of some Javascript code and a browser plug-in. It works with the majority of browsers on Windows. DT will be delivered as a part of the basic Java installation, and because it is signed by Microsoft, Windows users who have it on their machine will no longer see an ActiveX warning when they update Java.

So, assuming that users will have the DT plug-in already installed, how will the user experience improve? DT Javascript on your web site will detect if users have the required Java version, and if not, it will redirect them to the java.com web site to download and install the latest. When they're done, it will redirect users back to your web site. This means that users will no longer get lost or distracted, and they can continue with your provided Java content. And what if a browser restart is required by the update? No worries -- after the restart, your website will be loaded in the browser automatically.

Now, you may ask when this feature will be available to try? The beta is scheduled for the first quarter 2008 as part of Java release 6uN.

Continue to follow the Design@sun blog to learn about other usability improvements in the Java space.

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