Help Sun and Mozilla with new 'Pluglet' API Spec

Tuesday August 3rd, 1999

Akhil Arora of Sun writes,

"Help define the Pluglet API

A Pluglet is a Plugin that is written in Java. A draft of the Pluglet API specification has been posted here. We would like Plugin writers to get involved in defining the API. Does it meet your needs? What additional feature would you like added to it? What pet peeve of yours would you like fixed? Please talkback at the newsgroup [at] or the mailing list."

#17 More Than a Persistant Applet

by SomeSmartAss

Friday August 6th, 1999 8:34 AM

You are replying to this message

"you have to at least tell all browsers to 'get the plugin' from a pop up window. Right there, it's not automatic."

OK, point taken. But after the uproar about cookies being placed on your system with prior concent, no executable code would concievably be automatically installed without some form of validation from the end user.

lets, for the sake of argument, create some definitions.

"Manual Install" - any procedure that permenantly places executable code on the local drive, prior to allowing the end user to run it.

"Auto install" - any procedure that, after apropriate authorisation from the end user, permanently places executable code on the local drive after its initial execution from the network.

"Temporary Install" - any procedure that places executable code on the local drive after each execution, removing it once the program is complete. (I concede that, in the case of an applet, the code will actually be localized for the length of the browsers session, allowing subsiquent local executions during thiis period of time)

A setting of persistant="true" would, technically, be in acordance to my definition of Auto Install (assuming a pop-up verification dialog warns me that the code is being placed perminantly on my drive), but there is still the fact that the "perma-applet" also has to reside on the network end as well, and on every location where web-sites wish to use it. (i.e different servers, not different pages)

A pluglet should be different from an applet in two respects.

First, the browser should call the pluglet based on the type of content being delivered to the browser, not by the website that wants to show the content. An example of this is VRML. The web designer doesn't imbed the VRML plugin in the page, they imbed the .wrl file, and let the browser decide which plugin to run. If none is available, you are asked if you wish to install one.

Second, a pluglet might concievably be a standalone java application that runs seperately from the browser, as well as being "embedable" in the browser. Adobe's Acrobat .pdf viewer is a good example of this.

To be a seemless auto install, the browser would, apon finding a content type for which no plug-in resides locally, go off to a web based plugin "broker" to automatically pull down a signed pluglet. (perhaps giving the user a choice between various different pluglets, if more than one exists for the content type) At that time, the end user would be given the choice to run once (Temporary install) or permanantly install (auto install) while the pluglet is running.