[MUD-Dev] Web vs. Java client

ceo ceo at grexengine.com
Tue Oct 14 15:28:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Torgny Bjers wrote:
> From: Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes

>> be possible).  I've so far been using it with a web interface
>> running on Tomcat, but I'm facing enough hassles with that
>> environment that I'm reconsidering it now.

>> My current options are: 1) Pure web browser.  The current model
>> I'm using.

>  Personally I don't really believe in this for a multi-user game
>  platform. It sort of feels like settling for the second best or
>  something, if you pardon.

That's a strange reasoning. Perhaps you meant "..for a chat-based
multi-user game" ? Otherwise, it's an excellent platform (as
evidenced by the considerable number of people on this list who have
tried using it, albeit usually experimentally IIRC).

>>   2) Java applet shown with the Java plug-in.  Pro: attractive,
>>   updates nigh-instantly, no installation unless the user has to
>>   click to get the Java plug-in.

>>     Con: more work to develop and maintain (not really a problem
>>     for me, but it's time that could be better spent on the
>>     server), slow initial download if it gets big, some people
>>     (but how many?) don't like to use Java applets.  Java Web
>>     Start has the same virtues and flaws.

>  I'd actually prefer Java Web Start over an inline web page java
>  plugin.

JWS is currently NOT a functioning technology. It is *broken*. My
current advice is do NOT use it except in addition to other
distribution channels, and expect to have to support people. Most of
the bugs I've seen in JWS (latest version) are workaroundable (but
see next para...), but you have to tell your user what to do - there
are no code-based solutions AFIAA. Wait a few versions, and it
should be fine. Bear in mind that when JWS doesn't work, it may be
difficult to get a message to the user to tell them what to do to
make it work!

Also, on many win32 desktops, JWS works extremely badly; I've been
given a list of suggested workarounds, and haven't fully tested them
on my example broken machines. I do know that the win32 problems are
quite common, whereas on nix platforms JWS seems to work out of the
box for *everybody*.

All of which is a pity, since other than that JWS is pretty darn

>  plugin.  Would it be possible to just have the client as a
>  downloadable applet instead?

downloadable + applet is generally not a sensible combination.
downloadable + application is identical, except the programmer has
to jump through fewer hoops. The client-side download is also easier
to run and maintain (you just double-click it! No need to bring up a
webpage etc - some users WILL accidentally delete the JAR file if
they think they just need the saved webpage, and vice versa, thereby
breaking it :( ).

>>   3) Other?  Are there any good cross-platform (a must) clients
>>   that already support everything I need?

Visit javagaming.org - Sun's (semi) official site for java game
developers - and the forums there for in-depth discussions on pros
and cons of different java-based game distribution
techniques. There's quite a lot covered in the forums, so you may
need to dig/search a little.

Adam M
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