Is Java WebStart Deprecated?

Alex Kashchenko akashche at
Tue Nov 7 12:16:37 UTC 2017


On 11/06/2017 11:32 PM, Tim Anderson wrote:
> 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 
> in DCM4CHEE.
> 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.

There is an open-source WebStart implementation ( ) that is shipped in 
RHEL. You can also try it on Windows - it is bundled with 8u151 
installer from here ( ). Samples from 
the DICOM link worked fine for me.

It should not be too hard to implement a custom WebStart launcher for 
your application on top of IcedTea-Web. I think you can get away with 
pure java + script launchers (that will run JNLP files with 
"-Xbootclasspath/a:javaws.jar") for all platforms without using 
OS-specific native APIs.

It may be better to use for 
questions about IcedTea-Web.

> 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.
> -Tim
> 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="" 
>>> alt="" width="46" height="29" style="width: 46px; height: 29px;"
>>> /></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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