Sun Download Manager 2.0 Goes Live!



SDM 2.0 puts our customers in charge of their download experience with the click of a button.

I am really pleased to announce the release yesterday (December 7, 2006) of Sun Download Manager 2.0 (SDM) in conjunction with major enhancements to the Sun Download Center (SDLC). Together they mark a milestone in the Sun download experience. For the first time, customers can easily download, install, and run SDM without ever leaving the download page for the products they desire. This is accomplished by integrating SDM directly into the SDLC, using Sun's Java Web Start (JaWS) technology. Users simply check the boxes next to the files they want, click the bright orange button to download with SDM (you can't miss it!), and JaWS takes over. It automatically downloads SDM, installs it, and starts it up with the selected files already loaded into SDM and ready to download.

Here's a picture of the enhanced SDLC download page:

SDLC download page


SDM offers many features and benefits. A few highlights include:
  • Pause and resume downloads, plus recover from dropped connections without having to start over.
  • Built-in, patent-pending verification technology ensures the integrity of downloaded files.
  • Saves time and bandwidth for Sun and our customers; conserving bandwidth saves money for all.
  • Greatly increases the download success rate. Greater customer success means higher customer satisfaction, more adoption of Sun's software, and all the corresponding benefits that entails.

Additionally, SDM 2 features a complete redesign, sporting a clean new look and feel that's more in sync with the rest of sun.com. There's even a small, unobtrusive banner ad window, the first application (i.e. not a web page) to leverage Sun's ad server to deliver dynamic, timely promotions and offers to customers' desktops. Of course SDM remains a completely free product with no spyware or malware whatsoever.

Here's the new UI:

Sun Download Manager user interface

It would be great if you would give it a try and let us know what you think by leaving me your comments. Frankly, we're pushing into new territory with this creative use of JaWS, and just our testing alone on a zillion different browser/platform/Java version combinations was an amazing challenge. That's no replacement for the "real world," however, which is why it's so important we get your feedback. While SDM 2 remains available as a "stand alone" application (with installer), the biggest change is the way we've integrated it dynamically into SDLC. The way to test that is to simply pick your product on the SDLC, select the files you want to download, and push the big orange button!

Please note SDM is a 100% Java application and runs on virtually any modern operating system with a Java Runtime Environment v1.4.2 or higher (though the latest version really does work best). If you are running a lower version of JRE, your SDLC web page will look like the "old" version, and you will not be offered the integrated SDM.

This release was a true cross-functional effort -- many thanks to the teams that made it happen: CWP Product Marketing, Download Engineering, Web Operations, and SDLC IT. 

Comments:

Just downloaded it on a Mac OS X system (Macbook Pro) and it automatically installed like a charm. I don't have anything to download using it at the moment, unfortunately but it looks great.

Posted by Jon Hamlin on December 08, 2006 at 05:35 AM PST #

Hi Jon, thanks a lot. I appreciate your giving SDM a try and your positive feedback!

Posted by Gary Zellerbach on December 08, 2006 at 05:57 AM PST #

It's neat-- and I like the integration you did. I assume you've open sourced it as well? This seems like it could be a real win for the whole Java community.

Posted by Sun Loves Open Source on December 08, 2006 at 09:08 AM PST #

Congratulations, SDM2 seems like quite an improvement! I used it to download the JRE update 10 and it worked well. The interface is nice and the ads aren't intrusive at all. I noticed "automatic download" as a feature, but my downloads don't automatically start, you have to press the Start button - is automatic download something else? (Ah, I see it in the options now). One suggestion, if this is off, it might help users unfamiliar with these types of things to have the start button in a different color or have it pulse so attention is drawn to it.

Posted by Anthony Bryan on December 10, 2006 at 01:21 AM PST #

To "Sun Loves Open Source" --
Thanks for the comments and checking out SDM 2.0. We have not open sourced it as of yet but are looking into the possibility. There is a certain amount of internal "paperwork" that goes along with that decision, as well as figuring out how the project would best be managed. So I can't make a commitment at this time but do agree it might be a great thing to open source SDM, and we'll continue to investigate what it would take.

Posted by Gary Zellerbach on December 11, 2006 at 01:17 AM PST #

Hi Anthony! Thanks much for checking out SDM 2 and your feedback. As a trusted expert on download managers, it's most reassuring to hear it worked well for you, and I'm really glad you liked the interface improvements.

Regarding the "Start Downloading Automatically" feature, I agree, it doesn't work exactly as I had envisioned. It only works when you add files to SDM before it starts up (for ex., by selecting files on the SDLC download page, then firing up SDM. If you select the option to start automatically, it will then start downloading the selected files.) It also starts automatically if you have files in the queue, close SDM, and then start it up again. You would think it would start downloading automatically when you add new files to the list while it's running, but alas, that will have to wait for another release. This is mostly my fault for not explaining this clearly enough in the functional spec, and also my engineering team interpreted the spec very literally. Their interpretation was technically correct but I only figured that out too late in the game. Oh well, I think it's pretty minor at least.

Good suggestions about the Start button -- will definitely keep that in mind for "SDM 2.5"!

Posted by Gary Zellerbach on December 11, 2006 at 01:27 AM PST #

Hi Chris, thanks for your comment. The look and feel of the new download manager was designed by the sun.com Web Experience Design Team following (where applicable at least) the Sun design guidelines. I believe it was done using Java Swing components, but don't ask me specifics -- I'm not a programmer! There's lots of good info here on the sun.com design process and standards: http://www.sun.com/webdesign/

Posted by Gary Zellerbach on July 31, 2007 at 07:55 AM PDT #

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About

I helped design, build, and manage download systems at Sun for many years. Recently I've focused on web eMarketing systems. Occasionally, I write about other interests, such as holography and jazz guitar. Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/garyzel

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