Managing changes of Oracle Java and Micro Focus Reflection for the Web

In this blog post, I’ll share how Micro Focus Reflection for the Web will continue to support your needs as Oracle Java licensing continues to change.

Hi, I’m Donovan Deakin, product manager for Micro Focus Reflection for the Web. I have been with Micro Focus for three years now, but previously worked on Reflection for the Web in its earliest days with WRQ in customer support and as product manager. Over the years, I have enjoyed working with customers to help solve their business problems. Together, we have seen many changes in Java, from both Sun and Oracle.

Reflection for the Web provides browser-based access to mainframe and host applications that use web-based technologies. Using Java applet technology, Reflection for the Web is built for the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) that became the standard used by technologies such as Flash and Active X, as well as Java in all major web browsers. By using browser and web server technologies, Reflection for the Web uses these new technologies to allow for web-based deployment. As many of you have experienced, this has reduced costs and provided more control with centralized management and deployment.

What’s Next?

In recent years, many changes have come about for Java on the client side. In 2015, Oracle announced that the Java plugin API (which enables Java applets to work) would be deprecated in Java 9. The Java plugin API is not supported in Java 11.

Oracle has continued to support the Java plugin for Java Standard Edition 8. In March 2018, they stated that they might remove Java plugin API support after March 2019.

In 2015, web browser developers began moving away from NPAPI support, leaving Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 as the only browser with NPAPI support. Microsoft will continue to support Internet Explorer until 2025 on Windows 10. As of this writing, we have not seen any indication of Microsoft removing NPAPI support from Internet Explorer.

Oracle Charging for Java Standard Edition 8 Updates

While the operating environment for Reflection for the Web is changing, Oracle is making changes to Java licensing as well. Beginning in January 2019, Oracle has stated that public updates will not be available for business, commercial, or production use without a commercial license. To continue using solutions that use applet/Java Plugin technology, such as Reflection for the Web, you would pay Oracle for a subscription to get Java 8 SE updates. Some might choose to continue using the most recent update of Java SE 8 in the near term.

The January 2019 Java SE 8 update continues to use the same license as previous versions.  Oracle is now telling users that corporate users will be impacted with the April 2019 update which will use their new license and require subscription.

What about Java Web Start?

Oracle has provided Java Web Start to allow Java applications to be run similar to desktop applications. Oracle will continue to support Java Web Start in Java SE 8 until March 2025. However, Java Web Start is not supported in Java 11 nor by OpenJDK.

Where do I go from here?

Micro Focus continues to support Reflection for the Web and is planning a new release in 2019. This new release will replace Oracle Java 8 runtime environment with OpenJDK 8 runtime so that you can mitigate Oracle license changes while continuing to have the same server installation and deployment experience.

For the client side, the Reflection for the Web team is researching options to launch and use it without the Java Plug In API on the client side. As we get closer to a release date, we will provide more details. We will continue to support Reflection for the Web running as it traditionally has been as well.

Micro Focus Reflection for the Web

To get details on product lifecycle status for Reflection for the Web go here.

What other host connectivity options does Micro Focus provide?

If you want to continue accessing mainframe and host applications without any Java client dependency, Micro Focus has two products for your consideration:

Micro Focus ZFE – zero footprint emulation from any web browser supporting HTML5
Micro Focus Reflection Desktop – if you want to access it from a Windows desktop with integration into the Microsoft ecosystem with a .NET interface

While this is a period of much change, Micro Focus is committed to helping customers navigate the changing IT environment as we have done for over 40 years, by providing solutions that help you maximize your application investments. Stay tuned for future updates.

Resources:

– Reflection for the Web Product Lifecycle status
– Micro Focus Product Lifecycle Policy
– Reflection for the Web Browser and Java Requirements
– Web Browser Java Plug-in Alternatives

Oracle Java Resources:

– Oracle Java SE Release Notice
– Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap
– Oracle Java 8 Roadmap Blog Post
– Oracle White Paper – March 2018 – Java Client Roadmap Update

Gartner:

– Manage Disruptive Changes In Java Release and Support Options – webinar by Mark Driver

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