BUH-BYE: Java finally fades away

Yellow broken cup on wooden background

Well, at least it will. Java, once the darling of programmers all over the world, is finally planning to leave the browser. Three years ago, I spat on Java, calling it a “must-miss.” I took some flak for that position but I stood by it as the rest of the world caught up.

What am I talking about? Gizmodo reports that the Java plug-in for browsers will be deprecated in the next release and will eventually just go away (it’s already gone from Chrome and has been for close to 2 years.) This means that developers have been served notice — if there’s anything on your site that requires the Java plugin, it needs to get changed out for HTML5 right away. And it’s about darn time.

Let me back up for a minute and say that I’m not talking about the standalone, non-browser Java system that is used by people like Ubiquiti. I still hope that all of Java goes away as soon as possible but running a Java-based app on your computer is far more secure than running something in a browser, so they have a little time. I’m also not talking about Javascript, which is an essential component of the web and no one is thinking about removing it for quite some time. I’m talking about the Java plugin that was used for 15 years to add interactive content to web pages.

That plugin was responsible for rash upon rash of security breaches. I personally lost hours upon hours of my life with people bringing me broken PCs that had become hopelessly infected thanks to Java exploits. I won’t be sad to see it go, but I have to say that there are one or two prominent web sites that still use it and probably ought to think about changing soon.

Let’s be honest, we should have stopped talking about Java back in 2010. In its final years it was nothing but a vehicle for crapware, demanding updates for no other reason than to give us another chance to install the “Ask Toolbar” or some other nonsense. Apple led the way by keeping Java out of the iOS ecosystem and developers got motivated to create Java-free pages, and what a good thing it was. Now finally six years later we can finally say goodbye to Java in the browser…

…but we won’t be free of it for years to come in other places. Java has intimated itself into everything from cars to disc players to network setup. It’s like a giant colony of roaches. I don’t honestly know if we’ll ever be free of it as long as one Blu-ray disc player is still spinning, but I’ll tell you this — today’s news is a start. I sincerely, sincerely encourage manufacturers to move away from Java as aggressively as possible and maybe, just maybe one day we can stop talking about it. One day, Java will be nothing but a nickname for coffee, like it once was. That day can’t come soon enough.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.