Java SE 6 Update N, previously known as the Consumer JRE project, aims to make JRE and Java plug-in installation easier by incrementally downloading only those portions of the JRE used by an application.
One of the perennial complaints against Sun's standard Java distributions was that they involved a long download, followed by a lengthy and complex installation process. Consumers wishing to access Java applications on the Web, it was alleged, would not be willing to wait for the JRE update, especially when offered competing technologies, such as Ajax that requires no installation, or Flash, with its minimal and quick install process.
Following many months of development, Sun released last week a version of JRE 6 aimed to drastically reduce the size of the Java installation file. Officially called Java SE 6 Update N, the consumer-friendly JRE serves the goal of ease-of-installation in several ways:
The Deployment Toolkit takes the guess work out of determining what versions of the JRE end users have installed on their PC. It supplies Java based web applet/application deployers with a simple interface to accomplish Java detection and installation.
The Kernel installation mode (not available yet in this build) lets first time Java users run applets and Web Start applications without waiting for the whole JRE download. While the default Kernel installation will work with existing Java applets, application developers have the ability to select libraries that should be installed with the kernel, before the rest of the JRE is installed on the end user's system.
For current users of Java SE, the JRE update mechanism has also been improved, using a patch-in-place mechanism that translates in a faster and more reliable update process (the patch in place mechanism will take effect for end users who upgrade from this update release or later to a new update release). As an added benefit, follow-on update releases will no longer be listed as separate items in the Windows "Add or Remove Programs" dialog.
The JRE 6 update is available only on the Windows platform, for the time being.
Do you think that the consumer-friendly JRE 6 will encourage the development of more applets and consumer-facing Java applications?