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Lesson: Applets

This lesson talks about the basics of applets, advantages of applets over applications, how to load applets in a web page, how to convert applications to applets and how applets work. You should thoroughly understand this lesson before going further in this trail.

An applet is a special kind of Java program that a browser enabled with Java technology can
download from the internet and run. An applet is typically embedded inside a web-page and runs in
the context of the browser. An applet must be a subclass of thej av a. ap pl et .A pp le t class, which
provides the standard interface between the applet and the browser environment.

Swing provides a special subclass of Applet, calledja va x. sw in g. JA pp le t, which should be used
for all applets that use Swing components to construct their GUIs.
By calling certain methods, a browser manages an applet life cycle, if an applet is loaded in a web
Life Cycle of an Applet: Basically, there are four methods in theAp pl et class on which any applet
is built.
\ue000 i n it: This method is intended for whatever initialization is needed for your applet. It is called after
the param attributes of the applet tag.
\ue000 sta r t: This method is automatically called after init method. It is also called whenever user returns
to the page containing the applet after visiting other pages.
\ue000 sto p: This method is automatically called whenever the user moves away from the page containing
applets. You can use this method to stop an animation.
\ue000 de st ro y: This method is only called when the browser shuts down normally.
Thus, the applet can be initialized once and only once, started and stopped one or more times in its
life, and destroyed once and only once.
For more information on Life Cylce of an Applet, please refer to The Life Cycle of an Applet
When to write Applets vs. Applications

In the early days of Java, one of the critical advantages that Java applets had over Java applications
was that applets could be easily deployed over the web while Java applications required a more
cumbersome installation process. Additionally, since applets are downloaded from the internet, by
default they have to run in a restricted security environment, called the "sandbox", to ensure they
don't perform any destructive operations on the user's computer, such as reading/writing to the

However, the introduction of Java Web Starthas made it possible for Java applications to also be
easily deployed over the web, as well as run in a secure environment. This means that the
predominant difference between a Java applet and a Java application is that an applet runs in the
context of a web browser, being typically embedded within an html page, while a Java application
runs standalone, outside the browser. Thus, applets are particularly well suited for providing
functions in a web page which require more interactivity or animation than HTML can provide, such
as a graphical game, complex editing, or interactive data visualization. The end user is able to access
the functionality without leaving the browser.

Loading Applets in a Web Page
In order to load an applet in a web page, you must specify the applet class with appropriate applet
tags. A simple example is below:
<applet code=AppletWorld.class width="200" height="200">

For development and testing purposes, you can run your applet using the lightweight appletviewer application that comes with the JDK. For example, if AppletWorld.html is the html file name, then you run the command as

appletviewer AppletWorld.html

Once you know your applet runs within the appletviewer, it is important to test your applet running
in a web browser by loading the applet's web page into the browser window. The browser can
retrieve the class files either from the internet or from the local working directory used during
development. If you make changes to your applet's code while it is loaded in the browser, then you
must recompile the applet and press the "Shift + Reload" button in the browser to load the new

Getting Started with Applets
This section tells you how applets work. When you want a program to run directly in a browser
window, you want an applet.
Taking Advantage of the Applet API
This section describes how to use the API to which only applets have access. It covers sound, applet
parameters, the<A PP LE T> tag, interapplet communication, and making requests to the browser.
Practical Considerations When Writing Applets

This section discusses topics that are covered elsewhere in this tutorial but that are affected by the
applet environment. For example, it mentions some factors you should consider when writing the
graphical user interface (GUI) for your applet. It also talks about security restrictions on applets and
how a server-side application can help you get around those restrictions.

Finishing an Applet
This section describes the characteristics of a high-quality applet. It includes Before You Ship That
Applet, a checklist of some annoying behaviors you should avoid in your applet.
Deploying Applets
This section explains to HTML authors how and when to use theap pl et,ob je ct, ande mb ed tags to
add Java applets to Web pages.
Common Problems (and Their Solutions)
This section explains the solutions to some problems you might run into while writing your applet.
Questions and Exercises: Applets
Test what you've learned about applets.
Additional References
This lesson is intended to get you started with applets and Java Plug-in and does not include all
available documentation. For more information about applets, see the following:
Java Plug-in Developer Guide
Getting Started with Applets
Below is the HelloWorld applet, which is a simple Java class that prints the string "Hello World" in
small rectangle.
Note: If you don't see the applet running above, you need to install Java Plug-in, which happens
automatically when you install the Java(TM) SE JRE or JDK. This applet requires JDK 1.4 or later.
You can find more information on the Java Plug-in home page.
We strongly recommend that you install the latest version; release 1.4 or later is required for all our
applets. You can find more information in Troubleshooting Applet Problems
Following is the source code for the HelloWorld applet:
import javax.swing.JApplet;
import java.awt.Graphics;
public class HelloWorld extends JApplet {
public void paint(Graphics g) {

g.drawRect(0, 0,
getSize().width - 1,
getSize().height - 1);

g.drawString("Hello world!", 5, 15);
}An applet such as this is typically managed and run by Java Plug-in. Java Plug-in, which is
automatically included when you download the Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (JRE), extends

the functionality of a web browser, allowing applets to be run under Sun's Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (JRE) rather than the Java Runtime Environment that comes with the web browser. It works with the Mozilla family of browsers and with Internet Explorer.

Converting Applications to Applets

An application is a standalone program consisting of at least one class with am ai n method. Applets differ significantly from applications. First, applets do not have am ai n method that is automatically called to begin the program. Instead, several methods are called at different points in the execution of an applet. The difference between Java applets and applications lies in how they are run.

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