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Applets and Multiple JRE Versions

 
 
joe.joesmith4j@gmail.com
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      11-01-2006
Hi,

We are trying to figure out the best way to support a Windows XP SP2
configuration where the users regularly access (4 to 5) java applets
that all require different versions of the jre. We have between 15 and
20 users.

Each applet is written by a separate third party and we have no control
or influence on their development activities, the version of the jre
they use, etc. The applets are updated several times througout the
year and frequently require newer versions of the jre. Many times, a
user will download a new version of the jre without informing IT. Then
sometime in the future, the user will experience some sort of problem.

The users are non-technical and we are trying to architect a user
friendly solution. The use of the applets is mission critical to this
group of users.

OS = Microsoft Windows XP Professional Version 2002 Service Pack 2
Browser = IE Version 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519

An example of a problem/resolution that we are having is as follows:

1. User visits web site A. Applet downloads and is successful.
2. User finishes task at web site A, but leaves browser open.
3. User visits web site B. Applet downloads, but fails to load.
4. User closes browser.
5. User visits web site B. Applet downloads and is successful.

The above is just one simple example. Opening/closing the browser is
one potential solution that we have considered. However, most of these
applets require some sort of advanced authentication such as smart
cards, secure id cards, etc., and the users may flip back/forth between
the applets multiple times.

Other solutions that we are considering:

- separate computers for each applet
- virtualization
- citrix (or equivalent)

Each of the above has pros/cons especially when factoring in the
various authentication devices.

Any advice would be appreciated.

TIA...Joe

 
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Wesley Hall
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      11-02-2006
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> Hi,
>
> We are trying to figure out the best way to support a Windows XP SP2
> configuration where the users regularly access (4 to 5) java applets
> that all require different versions of the jre. We have between 15 and
> 20 users.
>
> Each applet is written by a separate third party and we have no control
> or influence on their development activities, the version of the jre
> they use, etc. The applets are updated several times througout the
> year and frequently require newer versions of the jre. Many times, a
> user will download a new version of the jre without informing IT. Then
> sometime in the future, the user will experience some sort of problem.
>
> The users are non-technical and we are trying to architect a user
> friendly solution. The use of the applets is mission critical to this
> group of users.
>
> OS = Microsoft Windows XP Professional Version 2002 Service Pack 2
> Browser = IE Version 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519
>
> An example of a problem/resolution that we are having is as follows:
>
> 1. User visits web site A. Applet downloads and is successful.
> 2. User finishes task at web site A, but leaves browser open.
> 3. User visits web site B. Applet downloads, but fails to load.
> 4. User closes browser.
> 5. User visits web site B. Applet downloads and is successful.
>
> The above is just one simple example. Opening/closing the browser is
> one potential solution that we have considered. However, most of these
> applets require some sort of advanced authentication such as smart
> cards, secure id cards, etc., and the users may flip back/forth between
> the applets multiple times.
>
> Other solutions that we are considering:
>
> - separate computers for each applet
> - virtualization
> - citrix (or equivalent)
>
> Each of the above has pros/cons especially when factoring in the
> various authentication devices.
>
> Any advice would be appreciated.
>
> TIA...Joe
>


Joe,

What a nightmare!!

Firstly, if maintaining strict control over the available JREs is
required for your systems to work I would recommend you have a word with
your admins to prevent your users from having the kind of access where
they can mess up the platform infrastructure.

My general advice would be to seriously consider having the applets
re-engineered into a single, cohesive application that can be controlled
and deployed onto a single JRE version, but I understand this may not be
practical in legacy environments.

Failing this, you should probably drop the browser as your deployment
platform and use the appletviewer tool that comes bundled with the JDK.
It should be possible to create launchers for your applets that use the
applet viewer of the appropriate Java version's applet viewer
application. Drop these launchers on your user's desktops and you are away.

See http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.3/docs/to...letviewer.html
for more info.

Good luck

Wesley Hall
 
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Chris Uppal
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      11-02-2006
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> - separate computers for each applet
> - virtualization
> - citrix (or equivalent)


There might be some mileage in setting up shortcuts which use the Windows "run
as" mechanism to force each browser instance to be a separate process (I don't
know whether you would need a different user for each shortcut, or whether you
could get away with re-using the same user for all of them).

Note that such shortcuts would not be the special Windows "url" shortcuts, but
normal launch-a-named-program-with-arguments shortcuts.

I haven't tried it, but I think that it /should/ work. In principle...
Whether the users would be able to cope is a different question.

-- chris


 
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