JRE Hell

Few things have caused me more heartache and frustration while writing my book than the JRE Java plugin. Just trying to get this plugin to work in both Internet Explorer and Mozilla at the same time is an exercise in patience and luck.

Since I’m trying to promote the best coding practices in my book, I’m using only the <object/> element to embed Java applets instead of <applet/>. Now, <applet/> works in all browsers, mind you, so I figured it would be easy to switch to the plugin. Big mistake.

I first go to Sun’s site and download the JRE, since that installs the browser plugin automatically…or so I thought. I open up my example file in Internet Explorer, and I get a message saying that IE needs to download an ActiveX control. It then proceeds to download the JRE (same version) again! Fine, so now I have two copies of JRE 1.4.2 on my machine and IE is happy…but Firefox isn’t. It says I am missing a plugin for the page. So I click on the button to install, it says I need J2SE 5. Fine, so I download and install that, then restart Firefox…same message. Apparently, it’s just not going to work in Firefox.

This has been going on for the past hour and a half, and it’s certainly not helping me finish this chapter any faster. Oh look, the JRE has finished installing after I uninstalled it, here we go again…

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