Java is different in the Mac world

I’ve been spending more time than I would like trying to figure out an issue with a Java applet that I would like to run on my Mac OSX laptop. I’m up to date on downloads, etc., so you might think that Java applets would be running 1.5 or 1.6 versions of Java within Firefox on my machine. Not so! Here are a couple of tips with regard to Java on Mac OS.

First, if you suspect that you are running the wrong version of Java for a particular applet in Mac OS, visit the handy dandy Java Tester page. Click on “Test the version of Java your browser is using” and be amazed when it returns:
1.4.2_21 or something like that. Keep reading on the Java Tester page (“Java on Macs”) for how to set the proper version of Java. Basically, “you need to run the utility Applications/Utilities/Java/Java Preferences.app This allows you to set the preferred order for selection of a JVM (along with various runtime and security options). You can set the order separately for applications and applets. Currently Mac users won’t have Java 6 unless they enable it manually this way. (thanks Marcus).”

Once you close and restart Firefox, you should be able to revisit the Java Tester page and verify that you are running 1.5 or whatever version you chose in the Java Preferences application. Of course, this didn’t fix the issue that I was having with my application. *sigh*

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2 thoughts on “Java is different in the Mac world

  1. That’s not the only problem with Mac and Java. I’m facing a problem with this on my website.

    In my application I used Javax.swing classes which are part of the Java foundation classes for windows.

    Since apple produces their own Java Run time package, their version dis-includes the Java extensions classes (Javax) that sun includes in the foundation installment for windows.

    I tried multiple attempts of repackaging the required classes in an associate jar file but that doesn’t seem to be working either.

    What I’m planning on doing now is using google web toolkit (GWT) to release the next version of my software to be truly platform compatible in CSS/HTML/JScript…

    I think it’s sad that apple would make this choice to diverge from the mainstream with respect to java and have their own packages and their own java… the whole concept of web apps is TO BE platform independent and as a developer to find that not to be the case is highly frustrating.

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