​Oracle says goodbye to Java browser plugin in JDK 9

Oracle will finally deprecate its Java browser plugin in the next release of the Java SE Development Kit, JDK 9, which is scheduled for release in 2017.

The Java browser plugin and other software that use NPAPI (the old Netscape Plugin API), such as Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight, have posed security risks for desktop browsers for years. And for security and performance reasons, desktop browser makers have gradually pulled support for the API.

Oracle on Wednesday announced it will move with the times and deprecate support for its 21 year old platform that supported web “applets”.

“Oracle plans to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9. This technology will be removed from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release,” Oracle announced on Wednesday.

Oracle gained Java through its 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems and has since fought a protracted legal battle with Google over its use in Android.

On the desktop front, Google disabled NPAPI by default in Chrome in April last year because of “hangs, crashes, security incidents”.

Mozilla followed suit, announcing plans in October to kill support for NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016, also because plugins triggered “performance problems, crashes, and security incidents”. Microsoft has removed ActivX support for plugins in its Edge browser with the exception of its in-built support for Adobe’s Flash.

Oracle is encouraging developers to use its “plugin-free” version of Java called “Java Web Start”.

“With modern browser vendors working to restrict and reduce plugin support in their products, developers of applications that rely on the Java browser plugin need to consider alternative options such as migrating from Java Applets (which rely on a browser plugin) to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology,” the company announced in October.

Read more: Unpatched OS use declines in Australia but out-of-life Java, Flash persist

Oracle’s current schedule for Open JDK 9 is for a general availability release in March 2017.

Oracle’s move to deprecate Java plugins follows Adobe in November announcing plans to phase out its Flash for its HTML5-friendly Animate CC.

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