A java applet as a jewel box for your games/screenshots

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by clilian, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. clilian

    Original Member

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    Hi everybody,

    I've created a java component that I use on my "digg like" website to present news in a rather aestethic way.

    a simple demonstration can be found here (in french, but it shouldn't be a problem).

    I was thinking this component could be used in gaming sites to showcase games and/or screenshots. As of today it's not yet feature complete (I'm working on improvements right now).

    Would you buy such a component ? what features should I add to interest you ? (provided most of what you see in the component is already customizable : news come from rss feeds, general background and "card" background are replaceable.)


    Lilian :)
     
  2. GBGames

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    I think it would be more useful to a site that lists multiple games, and since the applet seemed to slow down my ability to load the page, it would really only be useful for customers who already know they are planning to purchase and just want to find out which game.

    For single games, it would probably be perceived as a webmaster who added some glitz without thought to purpose and utility, especially during those loading times. Otherwise, I thought it actually seemed pretty cool. If the loading time could be reduced or maybe just seem to be reduced by showing something sooner, it might not seem so bad.
     
  3. clilian

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    Well, the applet is 70k, so download time shouldn't be high (unless my server is stressed).

    Another factor to take into account is the java plugin startup time, which can be long, but only for the first time you load it. Unfortunately I can't do anything about that (but on modern computers it should be only a few seconds).

    The applet startup time is meant to be fast, but I haven't optimized it yet (from 2 seconds to 0.5-1s seems achievable).

    Thanks for the comments !

    Lilian
     
  4. thijs

    thijs New Member

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    Nice work!

    I really like it, feels very sleek. I certainly think there's a market for this... however keep in mind many companies are skeptic against java applets these days. Also applet's aren't allowed to spawn new browser windows without popupblockers blocking them (which doesn't have to be a showstopper, but it can be annoying).

    Good luck!

    Thijs
     
  5. soniCron

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    What's wrong with Flash, a faster loading, more compatible alternative?

    I wouldn't trust my catalog served with Java, but I might with Flash.
     
  6. clilian

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    agreed on load time (although not significant if the web site uses other applets : only initial java startup is slow)

    About compatibility : just as with any application, don't take compatibility for granted and test it : I've deployed many java applications in corporate environments (some of them sticking with well known buggy versions of java, like 1.4.0) : our apps always ran fine after tests.

    Don't forget code maintenance : java is a stronger language that resists well through time : less differences of coding style than flash, a strong (well, more than one) developper oriented IDE

    This is mostly a developper's point of view, not an end user one (the applet shown in this thread has been successfully loaded and ran fine on 97% of thousands of page views). I'm afraid nothing I say will convince you, so I won't try (it's like if you wanted me to use one of these unmaintanable flash components ;) ).

    About pop up blockers, this could be fixed with some JS communication (the link button beeing positionned in the html page outside the applet) or with a page-to-page communication (pinging destination page), but many pop up blockers allow fine grained pop up management, and there aren't any other pop ups on that web site, so I'll lazily leave it like that.

    Many thanks for the feedback !

    Lilian :)
     
  7. soniCron

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    No, this is an end user's perspective. Are those 97% loads coming from your Java site? If so, I'm not surprised by your results. However, my visitors tell a different story: Just over 70% of my visitors have Java where almost 90% have Flash. To serve a catalog of products through a plugin, it'd best have as wide penetration as humanly possible.

    Nevertheless, it is a neat little applet! Great work! :)
     
  8. Bad Sector

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    Beware, this may lead to a Flash vs. Java discussion!

    ...whatever, i can't resist, so...

    I personally i wouldn't develop with Flash - i don't like the medium - and everything web-based that can't be done with JavaScript and DOM (btw, it's amazing what can be done with JS and DOM, i do it in Java.

    However, i just can't blindly ignore the fact that Flash is more widely available than Java (Sun must do something about that, btw... everyone knows about Flash but that isn't true about Java). So i wouldn't rely on Java for something important as my game/application's presentation.

    At the other hand though, with some HTML trickery one could use a Java applet where available and a DOM-based animation wherever else.
     
  9. clilian

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    well, my users don't come from a java site, but surely they are geeky (most traffic come from other web 2.0 sites). So may be for gaming sites, these numbers would fall into your 70% category (I'll trust you on these numbers, I haven't got as much experience in that domain).

    I'm going to include more statistics on the applet page (jvm version, os, returning users...) so I will report more accurate stats later.

    This applet was proposed here as an enhanced replacement for screenshots / games presentation. As badSector said,with a little JS trickery users could be sent to this page only if they have java enabled.

    Lilian :)
     
    #9 clilian, Oct 10, 2006
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  10. Philippe

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    I'm sorry to say this, but as much as I like Java (especially Processing is very interesting to me and makes for a very nice game prototyping environment), I would never ever use an applet on a public site without giving advance warning, especially not for something that could as well be done with flash or even dhtml.

    Plug-in penetration issues aside, the real problem is start-up time. On my machine (WinXP, 1.5Ghz centrino laptop, Firefox with Java 1.5), Java applets completely freeze up the browser for as much as 20 seconds when the virtual machine starts up. In most cases this causes me to immediately close the site (once firefox responds again) and vow to never return to it.
    I'm not the only one experiencing these troubles with applets, and I know I'm not the only person responding in this manner. Java applets have their place - where they represent content you cannot deliver by other means. But in my opinion it would be reckless to use them to display images or a newsticker.
     
  11. thijs

    thijs New Member

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    It could be argued however that some of the biggest online game portals offer java applets (some even exclusively):
    -pogo.com
    -yahoogames
    -miniclip
    -shockwave.com :eek:
    -arcadetown
    -gametrust

    Given their traffic and Java acceptance I'm sure there's still a good marked for applets. Im not sure about the exact Java vs Flash penetration, but if a company like EA (pogo) or Yahoo would lose 20% because they're sticking to Java, I'm sure they'd switch (at least gradually) to better penetrated technologies...

    Though I'm a bit biased as I run a applet based game portal myself :p
     
  12. Sharpfish

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    Well, I don't know anything about the merits of Java vs Flash but I do know I ALWAYS have flash installed and I NEVER have java installed. I have never liked it on my system and on the occasion I have installed it specifically to run something or view something on a site, I uninstall afterwards due to the processes running in the background which I don't like (I run as streamlined a system as possible, I consider flash essential, java not-so). Though I'm sure it's running in the background could be adjusted I just don't need the hassle.

    If I think like that i'm sure many more casual browsers would also?

    Either way, it sounds good but unforntunately I can't view it. (Firefox bringing up it's "additional download needed" flag).
     
  13. thijs

    thijs New Member

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    Well I guess not the casual users, probably 90% of them doesnt even know how to uninstall anything. You're right when talking about technical oriented people. Also I admit Java has kind of a bad reputation among these people (like I said in my first post many companies are skeptical about the use of java on their website).

    For example, I would never install any activeX plugin unless Im absolutely sure it's to be trusted... but most casual players dont seem to have a problem with accepting all kinds of exotic activeX plugins to play games. Most just click and install ;)
     
  14. electronicStar

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    Nice app.
    As many people I had a pop-up blocker issue with your applet, tht should be fixed.
    I didn't have any problems with startup time, and it ran fine on my machine.

    As a game devellopper I wouldn't buy something like that, but there might be a market if you try to contact web designers?
     
  15. Bad Sector

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    Well startup and download time are the most important issues with java, but they seem to work on it for Java 7 using a modular design (which is the most logical thing to do with Java's package-based design) where everything is downloaded "on-demand". So, i hope that you won't need to download Swing if you only browse sites with Java games since rarely any of these use Swing :).

    Or any of the other rarely used packages/classes....
     

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