J2SE 1.3.0's new applet-caching feature ensures that often-used applets are always available for rapid loading and fast startup by keeping copies of the applets in a local cache. When an applet has been downloaded more than once, it can be stored in the local applet cache. This storage eliminates the need for a browser to download an applet over the network every subsequent time that the applet is needed. The local, cached copy can be used instead.
This feature is valuable for large, high-use applets. Many enterprise applets, for example, are in the megabyte-size range, and applets that large can take tens of minutes to load over a network. The new applet-caching feature eliminates the download time, enabling businesses to use a larger array of more powerful applets than ever before.
J2SE 1.3.0 also supports automatic deployment of optional packages. Optional packages are sets of features and APIs that, while not part of the Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition, are available separately for developers to use for specialized programming needs. Examples are Java Media Framework technology and the JavaHelpTM optional packages.
Before J2SE 1.3.0, an applet that used one or more optional packages had to trust that up-to-date versions of the optional packages were installed on every client that might want to run the applet. Without the proper optional package installed on the client, the applet could exhibit unintended behavior or not run at all.
With J2SE 1.3.0, applets can specify version and vendor information for any optional packages that they require. Developers can have their applets specify a URL at which the latest version of a required optional package can be downloaded if any of the following conditions are met.
The optional package is not already installed locally.
The optional package is installed but has an out-of-date version number.
The optional package is installed but is not from a specified vendor.
J2SE 1.3.0 supports any native and Java language installer programs that an optional package might have, automatically launching the installer program when a new version of an optional package is retrieved from the network.