Is Java WebStart Deprecated?

Tim Anderson tanderson at
Mon Nov 6 23:32:31 UTC 2017

WebStart isn't just used for distributing and updating packages. It is 
also used for providing a link between web application and desktop clients.

E.g., Weasis <>, 
is a desktop application that allows users to view DICOM images hosted 
A user clicks on an image link and WebStart is used to launch Weasis on 
the desktop to view and manipulate the image.

In our case,  our web application hosts patient documents in OpenOffice 
and Word format. These can be edited via WebDAV.
Users can click an edit button within the app which triggers a WebStart 
app to launch OpenOffice to edit a document.

The "app store" model doesn't help in either of the situations.

It would be disappointing if WebStart was deprecated, as it would make 
this kind of functionality harder to support.
In particular, it would require users to perform additional steps to 
install the desktop clients.
Presumably the desktop clients would also need to set up their own file 
associations to trigger launching.


On 7/11/2017 1:26 AM, Donald Smith wrote:
> Hi Michael,
> No doubt this was true, but the OSes have shifted hard and fast away 
> from this model.  The "app store" model is now it.  macOS has been 
> ratcheting this down hard for several years now.  MSFT -- even in the 
> enterprise market -- has signaled this direction as well.  For sure we 
> need to find options to support the legacy, but the future here is 
> limited.
>  - Don
> On 06/11/2017 5:31 AM, Michael Nascimento wrote:
>> Hi Donald,
>> I've heard this argument before and it seems Oracle is not aware of
>> why enterprises use Java WebStart. It has *nothing* to do with a
>> central JRE, but actually with distributing and upgrading applications
>> automatically without using installers and requiring admin privileges,
>> especially in Windows environments. That's at least what I see here in
>> Brazil in several companies I've consulted for and what people tell me
>> after desktop-related talks.
>> Saying this could be replaced with a jlink generated image or an
>> installer is really ignoring how this is really dealt with by the Java
>> community and even why Java was a good pick for those desktop
>> applications - a WORA that doesn't require an installer with admin
>> rights and auto-upgrade with a differential download protocol is the
>> key factor for choosing JWS. And I see no replacement being provided
>> by the JDK or even in the roadmap.
>> Regards,
>> Michael<div id="DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2"><br />
>> <table style="border-top: 1px solid #D3D4DE;">
>>     <tr>
>>          <td style="width: 55px; padding-top: 13px;"><a
>> href="" 
>> target="_blank"><img
>> src="" 
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>> /></a></td>
>>         <td style="width: 470px; padding-top: 12px; color: #41424e;
>> font-size: 13px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
>> line-height: 18px;">Virus-free. <a
>> href="" 
>> target="_blank" style="color: #4453ea;"></a>
>>         </td>
>>     </tr>
>> </table><a href="#DAB4FAD8-2DD7-40BB-A1B8-4E2AA1F9FDF2" width="1"
>> height="1"></a></div>
>> On Sun, Nov 5, 2017 at 6:40 PM, Donald smith 
>> <donald.smith at> wrote:
>>> The release notes are accurate.
>>> As we noted early in September [1]:
>>>> As client application development continues to shift from the old 
>>>> “plugin” world to modern deployment, the need for a standalone Java 
>>>> Runtime Environment (JRE) that is installed centrally, separately 
>>>> from Java applications has diminished.  Using the ‘jlink’ tool 
>>>> introduced with JDK 9 will make it even easier for application 
>>>> developers to package and deploy dedicated runtimes rather than 
>>>> relying on a pre-installed system JRE. Oracle will begin 
>>>> transitioning from the standalone architecture later next year in 
>>>> what will be a multi-year effort.
>>>   - Don
>>> [1] - 
>>>> On Nov 3, 2017, at 4:30 PM, August Nagro <augustnagro at> 
>>>> wrote:
>>>> The Java 9 Release Notes [1] include:
>>>> "Java Deployment Technologies are deprecated and will be removed in a
>>>> future release. Java Applet and WebStart functionality, including the
>>>> Applet API, The Java plug-in, the Java Applet Viewer, JNLP and Java 
>>>> Web
>>>> Start including the javaws tool are all deprecated in JDK 9 and 
>>>> will be
>>>> removed in a future release."
>>>> The bell has been ringing for Applets for some time, but I am 
>>>> surprised by
>>>> the inclusion of Java WebStart / JNLP. The technology is the 
>>>> recommended
>>>> migration path from applets [2], and provides some really enabling 
>>>> features
>>>> like os-agnostics shortcuts, icons, and the ability to auto-update 
>>>> in the
>>>> background.
>>>> The `appletlauncher` executable has a clear deprecation warning in 
>>>> Java 9,
>>>> but `javaws` has no such notice, leading me to believe there may be an
>>>> error. In any case, Java Web Start is a mature, useful technology 
>>>> that has
>>>> undoubtedly received large investment over the years. It's sudden 
>>>> removal
>>>> would be quite disappointing.
>>>> Regards,
>>>> August Nagro
>>>> [1]:
>>>> [2]:

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