Notes on using Java applets in browsers
updated: March, 2014
Test your browser's Java version by clicking here
Security changes in Java version 1.7.0
If you have installed this version of Java or the Java plug-in, you will only be able
to run applets from sites that have created "signed versions" of the applets. Many, but
not all of our applets have been converted and/or repackaged.
Regardless, you will still get a "Security Advisory" pop-up that will require you to agree
to run the applets. While you may change the security level in the Java Control Panel,
this is not advised.
If you upgrade to Firefox to version 3.6 or later...
You must install the Java 1.6.0_10 plug-in or later applets simply will not work! We
have also found that you might need to clear out the Java cache ("Temporary Internet Files")
using the Java Console.
Upgrade to Java 1.5 or 1.6 (version 1.6.x is preferred) -- BUT, beware the cache size!
For security and performance reasons, it might be a good time to
upgrade to Java 1.6....however, it is very important to go into the
Java Control Panel, and set the cache size to something reasonable!
(In Java 1.5, the default is "unlimited", in Java 1.6 it is a GB!).
There are also issues coming to light regarding the amount of memory available for
the Java Plug-in to use...which can even cause the plugin not to start.
Please refer to this
page for information on changing the values.
Important information regarding Java version 1.4.1 (May, 2003)
Try not to use Java version 1.4.l - it has significant problems with layouts of
widgets and screen refreshing. If that version is installed in your browser, I recommend
strongly that you revert back to version 1.3.1 or install 1.4.2...or
jump to 1.5.
Information about Microsoft's support for Java - April, 2004
You might be interested in reading
this page, and consider using the Sun
JVM, as noted at the bottom. If you cannot use the Sun JVM and still have problems, you might
consider trying to turn off the Microsoft VM's "JIT" -- Click here for
While we make every effort to keep our applets compatible with the
various versions of Java available in common browsers, you might at
times experience some difficulties. Here are some of our tips and
notes that we hope will be helpful. If, after reading and trying out
this information, you still have difficulties, please write to Tom
Whittaker (tomw at ssec.wisc.edu). Thanks!
General Instructions for enabling Java
- Firefox: Tools -> Options (in some, this is Edit -> Preferences) and then under the
Content tab, check "Enable Java"
- Mozilla and Netscape 4.x: Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced and then check
- Internet Explorer 5.5 and 6.0:
- Windows and Linux:
Tools -> Internet Options -> Advanced
and then select either the "Microsoft VM" or the "Java Plug-in"
Tools -> Internet Options -> Security -> Custom
Level... then scroll down to make sure Java is enabled
- Mac: On the "task bar", Internet Explorer -> Edit -> Preferences -> Web browser -> Java
and then Under "Java options", check the "Enable Java (Apple MRJ)" box
- Opera: File -> Preferences -> Multimedia and then check
What to do if you have a problem
The first thing to do is to find the "Java Console" and open it. This may be
located in the "View" menu, the "Tools" menu, or the "Web Development" menu,
depending on your browser. If you are using the Java Plug-in, then you
can also launch the Java Console by clicking (sometimes right-clicking) on the
Java icon when you try to run the applet.
If you have error messages in the Java Console, these will be very helpful to
the software support people, and you should consider sending the text in the
Java Console to them.
General Information on the Java Runtime
Try to use the Sun Java Plug-in whenever possible.
If you experience an "out-of-memory" error, or receive messages about "multiple instances of
Java running", please
refer to this
page and adjust the "heap space" memory
- Netscape 4.x - no known problems - comes with Java version 1.1.5, and
cannot be changed (does not allow for 'swing' components).
- Netscape 6 and 7 - must get the Java Runtime Plug-in from Sun.
- Mozilla 1.x - no known problems; must install Java Runtime plug-in (as
- Internet Explorer 6+ - install the Java Runtime Plug-in (version 1.3.1
-- there was a time where Microsoft was not packaging their own Java
(some legal battle) so if you have that version, you'll need to use the Plug-in.
- Internet Explorer 5.x - no known problems; may use the Microsoft
VM or install the Java Runtime Plugin (version 1.3.1 or 1.4.2+).
- Opera - for newer versions, you must install the Java Plug-in (as above); older
versions could be downloaded with the Opera version with Java (recommended).
- Netscape 4.x - do not use!!
- Netscape 6 and 7 -
Classic MRJ version 2.2.5 or later and enable Java. Some say it is better
to install the MRJ before installing Netscape.
- Internet Explorer - enable Java and choose the Apple MRJ
Comes with Java installed. Please be sure you have the latest update from Apple.
The beta versions of the Safari browser do not re-draw images correctly (line
drawings look like they don't get "erased" properly) and do not layout some widgets (buttons, etc).
While newer versions
of Safari seem to have corrected some of these issues, if you encounter
difficulties, you should use a different browser.
If you are using IE, Mozilla or Opera you might check the JVM version they use. If it is 1.3.1, you might
visit this site and try the plug-in from there (which is designed
to enable Java 1.4.2 with these browsers). You can check the version
- Netscape 4.x - usually will only allow you to use the built-in
runtime, version 1.1.5. This does not have "swing" components (modern
buttons, menus, etc).
- Netscape 6 and 7 - install Java Plug-in (version 1.3.1 or 1.4.2+) and enable Java
- Mozilla 1.x - install the Java plug-in (version 1.3.1 or 1.4.2+) and enable Java.
- Opera 6 - unknown
Solaris (Unix) on Sparc