Java was born out of a want to develop rich client side applications in the form of Applets originally. But, the horrendousness of the AWT and the poor when it comes to the JRE plugin pretty much killed off that idea. Even today with Swing being available to help create nicer looking UIs, the JRE plugin nightmare remains. I can vouch for this as recently finished an Applet project that took 4 months to get through QA because of all of the issues related to the JRE installation process on different platforms and .

So blew it the first time around when they tried to take on the consumer facing domain and retreated back to the server-side which they seem to be doing pretty well on.

So now in the age of , , Flash, Silverlight and Laszlo, Sun appears to want to take another shot at it with . They are positioning it as a tool for not only coders, but also designers. Nothing I have seen looks anything like a Flash editor, so maybe I have missed something there. The designers I know are not going to be too interested in writing , no matter how “script-y” or “dynamic-y” it might be.

I had given up on Sun ever trying to fix the plugin issue. It seemed clear to me that they had written off the client side and had put all of their eggs on the server side. I had resorted to hoping the open sourcing of the JDK might provide an opportunity for a project to spring up that aimed to write a better JRE plugin that would work as seamlessly as the Flash Player Plugin. There is some glimmer of hope on this from Sun with update 10 of JDK 6, but only time will tell if they have done enough.

The latest bump in the road is the acquisition of Sun, and there seems no clear indication what ’s intention for Java on the client might be.