Mozilla Java Activator

This document researches potential for an open-source implementation of Java Activator for Mozilla. Here's a list of current issues and a list of ideas for better Java support in Mozilla. And I've been collecting a list of suggested prototype ideas.

As of around April 24th, 1998, I've stopped investigating this project to do other things. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

WIRED has published an an article that suggests caution to anyone putting energy into Java for Mozilla.

What Is Java Activator?

Activator is native glue between the browser and a compatible JVM. This product by Javasoft currently supports only Solaris and Win32 in the form of special dynamic libraries, Java JARs, and a basic JRE. All of this is independent of the browser's support for Java. Read more at Javasoft's Project Java Activator page.

Motivation for Java Activator

Separating the browser from the JVM has become desirable since browser and JVM development progress at a different rate.

Suggested Project Statement

Develop a portable, reference implementation of the Java Activator API for Mozilla on Linux.

Alternatives to Activator

Immediate Todo List

  • Find out as much as possible about Java Activator works.
  • Investigate similar technologies.
  • Attempt to persuade Javasoft to release the relevant Java Activator source code.
  • Hack Mozilla to run Karl Asha's Activator for Linux to work without the <EMBED> tag.
  • Progress

  • My brief experiences with Java Activator and some ideas. (Contains hefty screenshots and images.)
  • What I've Done So Far

  • Read the NSPR syslayer information.
  • Installed Activator on Windows and tried it.
  • Read the Mozilla modularization techniques paper.
  • Skimmed Netscape's plugin API documentation.
  • Kept up (as much as possible) with Netscape's OJI, General, and Mozilla's Java newsgroups.
  • Looked over Mozilla's ns/sun-java/stubs/ and ns/nav-java/stubs/ directories.
  • Read the Java 1.1 JNI API specification.
  • Built JDK 1.1.5 from source.
  • Exchanged several (very helpful) E-mail messages with Netscape personnel.
  • Related Information

  • Karl Asha has already ported Activator for Linux!
  • Who's currently in charge of Java Stubs now?
  • The Source Release Announcement's discussion of OJI. (Open Java Virtual Machine Interface.)
  • Mark Andreesen on a JVM API
  • Netscape's Open Java API FAQ and its Open Java Statement.
  • The W3 Amaya web browser combines native code and the Kaffe JIT.
  • Hungry Programmers' Japhar JVM project.
  • David Hopwood has some interesting perspectives on a JVM/Plugin.
  • Stay in touch with what's happening in the browser comunity by reading Browser Watch's News.
  • Al Sutton and associates have an effort to port Mozilla to pure Java underway.
  • I owe special thanks to Amit Patel for his generous guidance on this study. Mistakes and wrong assumptions are mine, however.

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