There is a new java site that should make your user's Java installation experience a joy and a snap.
Using Java 2 applets on your web pages recently got improved.
I have noticed that with the 1.4.2 revision, installation seems smoother with no conflicts between the microsoft java virtual machine and new version applets.
Instead of routing your users to the java.sun.com site and getting them to figure out how to choose the right download, suggest you direct them to the new java site:
There is a wonderfully done splash screen, with links to java powered games, and java technology items such as watching TV on a mobile phone. There is a link to Java Technology Takes You to Mars.
There is an easy interface to download Java. All a user has to do is click Download Now, and the user is automatically rerouted to an automated java server page which checks the user's configuration and installs Java for them.
Its smooth and its slick. SIMPLE = USER HAPPY
With java installed, you can use ordinary applet tags, and drop all the object embed tag stuff.
Things are much much more improved than just a few months ago. There's definitely been some work on improving the user's experience. That makes the developer's job easier.