Many browsers now disable Java applets by default, requiring them to be enabled on a per-page basis. It seems like applets have not changed much in the past few years. In fact, it seems that client-side Java (applets, desktop applications, ...) is dying completely, and Java is primarily becoming a server-side language.

Except for the sake of compatibility, is there any place where applets are still useful on today's web? As a web developer who is familiar with Java and with JavaScript, why would I ever choose to use an applet instead of some JavaScript?

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    along the same lines ... programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/102090/… Jun 27, 2012 at 19:49
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    @David Peterman That Q seems to be about Java on the server side, where as this is specifically about Java Applets in the browser.
    – James
    Jun 27, 2012 at 20:05
  • Would love to see an answer that dug up some stats on how many users have Java capable browsers these days; cos if that's a downward trend (which I'll bet it is) that's a big reason not to!
    – James
    Jun 27, 2012 at 20:11
  • @James, right; I am more interested in knowing the place of Java on the client. Jun 28, 2012 at 0:52
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    This is an interesting question where answers could easily be supported by "facts, references, or specific expertise"! FFS!
    – James
    Jun 28, 2012 at 9:23

3 Answers 3


No, not much.

It might be useful if you don't want to use Flash (i.e. you don't have Flash knowledge and learning it is not worth it because you need to develop just a simple component and your users have Java installed) and need to do stuff which is not widespreadly supported by browsers (i.e. local filesystem access), or you have a significant amount of Java code you can reuse.

Really, with today's processors and RAM, Java is no longer that heavyweight (the F1 live timing app starts reasonably quickly on my Atom netbook, and there are certainly Flash apps which choke more my CPU), upgrades are differential IIRC and the initial install under today's network connections is a shade of what it was back in the day, but still, applets are not the answer to many questions.

Webstart, on the other hand... :-p

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    Webstart is actually a fairly reasonable solution, especially since Java 6u10, but it's fair to say that it was too late to change the mind of consumers. Now with JavaFX coming onboard with native installers, who knows... Jun 27, 2012 at 20:41

Applets are still useful in some circumstances - they are an easy way to embed small Java programs in web pages that might well make sense in the following circumstances:

  • You have Java Swing or AWT skills and don't want to learn yet another language / GUI framework
  • You don't particularly care if the some users get an applet warning

But nowadays anyone wanting to develop this kind of application in Java would probably use either:

  • A proper Java client-side application launched through WebStart
  • JavaFX 2.x - for rich media applications

all Java apps requires third party software to work which has to be updated for security reasons very rapidly, each time download is huge and you need to restart browser many times it causes the browser to hang. I used to think java software is must for best experience but then after being tired of all this trouble just removed it. I cannot recall using any Java apps anyway. IMHO Java only useful for some dumb online games.

Long life PHP and other web based stuff that dont make my system slow for no reason.

Besides OP "The JavaScript programming language, developed by Netscape, Inc., is not part of the Java platform." Source http://www.java.com/en/download/faq/java_javascript.xml

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    Java applets run on the client side. Comparing them to PHP does not make much sense because PHP runs on the server. Jun 27, 2012 at 20:03
  • Thats why i am saying there's no need to have no java. Canyou give me the example of java app you use personally top 3?
    – MrPepers
    Jun 27, 2012 at 21:02
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    @MrPeppers: top 3 Java applications: RAD (based on Eclipse) with WebSphere, Oracle SQL Developer, MKS (for source control). All 3 are Java-based and they are all used by many people here on a regular basis. Jun 27, 2012 at 21:06
  • Ok IDE's are the exception because there's no other option. Besides i have IDE made in java that runs without java installed called PHP Storm only reason i started using it because it come without need of java it has local copy embedded Oracle SQL Developer Oracle is DB you use for java right so it dont count. MKS never heard of it but i bet you just developing java for $$$. Original post is about does client (like consumer) not developer need java?
    – MrPepers
    Jun 28, 2012 at 0:04
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    @MrPepers you have no idea what you are talking about! Aug 27, 2015 at 21:34

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