JAVA Plugin Problem Resolved…in a ZFE

While not as big as the EU referendum, desktop managers and IT security managers are also absorbing significant news. But unlike the #Brexit, Jonny Crawford offers a little certainty as Oracle are sundowning, or ending support, for NPAPI.

It’s been a big day. It’s time for Reflection.

While not as big as the EU referendum, desktop managers and IT security managers are also absorbing significant news. But unlike the #Brexit, Jonny Crawford offers a little certainty …

What’s happening?

Browser manufacturers and Oracle are sundowning, or ending support, for NPAPI. This is the plug-in widget that supports their browser-based Java applets. This affects those running host environments globally.

What widget?

NPAPI is an initialism for the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface. It has been how software developers have written browser plugins for as long as I can remember. So when Oracle want to give the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) the ability to be a browser plugin, both the JRE and the browser must support NPAPI.

What are applets?

Java applets are full Java programs that run inside web pages. Technology has pretty much overtaken them these days – Java Script and HTML 5 offer all the webpage functionality devs need – but back in the 90’s Java applets made webpages walk and talk.

What do they do?

Applets and other NPAPI tech like MS Silverlight pop up whenever the user shifts from online ‘shopping basket’ to order fulfilment. Call centre staff for insurance companies and banks use them to input details into their in-house applications.

Why are Oracle doing this?

In short, because it makes their life more difficult.  NPAPI has significant security holes and performance issues that makes browser security and performance more difficult. This must also be partly customer-driven; insurance companies are not big on tech that may cause a data breach.

Why is this a problem?

Phasing out this unsecure and awkward technology is not without challenges. These applets are buried pretty deep, often connecting the host application to either a back office system or customer-facing app. Work-arounds include launching the applet outside of the browser, which is neither sustainable nor future-proof.

A bigger issue is that Chrome, Firefox and MS Edge no longer recognize or support Java applets or their plugins, such as NPAPI. Google has even removed the technology completely to make way for HTML5.

Thin clients need plug-in support when connecting applications to a host but if the browsers no longer support these plugins, the end result is frustration for employees and customers alike.

Back to the call centre. They need a technology to connect to the host for productivity, lower call volumes and avoiding the necessity to flick between desktop and browser applications. If they can’t have the plug-in, then what is the alternative?

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Here’s an idea

Replace a thin client host with an HTML5 connection. Remove your company from the resource-intensive cycle of installing, configuring, patching, and managing traditional software across multiple desktops.

Micro Focus Host Connectivity solutions use no Java plugins. Micro Focus Reflection ZFE is efficient and secure browser-based terminal emulation. It uses a true, zero-footprint client that reduces IT costs and desktop management time. With Reflection ZFE, the host screens use HTML5, and therefore any browser. Lower client management costs can reduce the TCO.

What’s next?

Look towards the next generation of Host Connectivity solutions. Contact Micro Focus. It’s the right call.

 

Jonny Crawford
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