Friday, August 24, 2007

Sun is Java's Worst Enemy

I'm a programmer, and I've been programming professionally for 12 years, 8 of those using Java. But even I find it hard and confusing to download Java! So how's a layman supposed to do it, if all they want to do is play a game that requires Java?

I'm trying to download it to a PC now. Here's the steps I take (bear in mind I'm impersonating a layman here):-

* First I type in "Java" into Google. Oh good, the first result is a link to
* At, there's a nice big link saying "Free Java Download". I click on it.
* Oh, this page says it's for Firefox/Mozilla. I don't want any kind of browser plugin, I want to be able to run programs on the desktop!
* Oh, there doesn't seem to be any other download link, apart from a small one at the top of the page, and that only takes me to the same "browser plugin" page.

* Let's try There's a link to Java SE in the "Popular Downloads" list.
* What's with all the JDK's? I just want the runtime? (Though, being a layman, I have no idea what JDK, JRE, or "runtime" mean anyway).
* Aha, I've found a link to "Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 Update 2". Update? I haven't even got Java to be able to update it? Does it contain Java and the update? If so, do I still need "Update 1"? Who knows. I'll download it anyway. What hell, I've spent too long already.
* The download page has two links for Windows; one "online" and one "offline". I'll choose the "online" download, as it's only ~400Kb. There seems to be a tickbox to the left of it. Do I tick this? No, I'll just click on the link.
* Oh, I need to accept the licence agreement. Okay, done. Now I click on the link again.

You get the idea. By now of course, the user would have just gone onto something else that doesn't involve Java.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Good point. Really, there should just be a big fat "I want to be able to run the latest Java applications" link on the front pages that jump straight to the relevant JRE.