Recent News

July 11, 2014

An update to the VOLANO chat software is available as a full version 2.13 package and as an upgrade from version 2.12. This update includes signed applets compatible with the latest security changes in the Java 8 Plug-in from Oracle.

The VOLANO chat applets in this version must request all permissions on the end user's computer to be able to make a network socket connection back to the chat server. The applets actually require just one permission, called SocketPermission, but Java applets are unable to request the specific permissions they need. Applets can choose only between running with no permissions, called sandbox, or running with unrestricted access, called all-permissions.

Following the recommendations of Oracle, the use of the applets is restricted by host name or domain name. This change removes the requirement for a server license key based on the server's IP address. Instead of your server's IP address, simply provide your server's host name or domain name along with a list of host names or domain names where you want to restrict the applet from being embedded, if any. You'll receive you a custom build of the VOLANO chat software to match your settings. Please send an e-mail to request a custom build of the software for your system.

To receive your custom build, provide the code base host name or domain name of your VOLANO applets, along with a list of host names or domain names for the applets' document base. You can restrict the code base and document base to specific host names, like www.example.com, or to any host of the domain name, like *.example.com. For example, if you currently deploy the applets with HTML like the following:

<applet codebase="http://www.example.com/vcclient" ...>
    ...
</applet>

then the code base host name would be www.example.com, while the code base domain name would be example.com. You can find the list of Web sites you have authorized to embed the VOLANO chat applets from your server, called the applet's document base, in your permitted referrer file (conf/referrers-allow.txt).

April 24, 2014

The Java 8 Plug-in released on March 18, 2014, no longer allows a Java applet running in the restricted sandbox to make a network connection back to the server from which it came. The change is described in Java Rich Internet Applications Enhancement in JDK 8 where it states, "For sandbox RIAs, SocketPermissions for the origin host is no longer granted."

Oracle made this change at the last minute, even after the JDK 8 Final Release Candidate was posted for testing on January 23, 2014. The change breaks a feature of Java applets that has worked for 18 years. I'm working on a solution to the problem or an alternative that bypasses the problem altogether.

Meanwhile, the VOLANO chat software version 2.12 works fine with Java 7, and Java 7 is still being provided to end users at www.java.com. You may want to add a note for your users that the VOLANO chat applets work only with Java 7 and do not work with Java 8. For those users who have both Java 7 and Java 8 installed, you can mark the applet to load only with Java 7 by adding the Java version string to the applet parameters, like this:

<applet codebase="." archive="COM/volano/VolanoChat.jar"
        code="COM.volano.VolanoChat.class"
        width="500" height="60">
    <param name="java_version" value="1.7*">
    <param name="permissions" value="sandbox">
    ...
    <param name="text" value="english.txt">
</applet>

Details of the java_version parameter are explained in the Java Runtime Environment Version Selection page.

The final release of Java 8 was posted for developers at the Java SE Downloads page. For end users running applets with the Java Plug-in, the latest available release is Java 7 Update 55, available at the Java.com Web site. In a comment to his blog post, Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, says, "We're very conservative with java.com auto-updates. We'll switch that over to JDK 8 in a few months." So we should have until June 2014 before end users start to receive the Java 8 update automatically.

January 13, 2014

An update to the VOLANO chat software is available for download as a full version 2.12 package and as an upgrade to version 2.11. This update includes signed applets compatible with the latest security changes in Java 7 Update 51 being released on January 14, 2014.

The update will work with license keys for the VOLANO chat server at version 2.5 or later. If you have an earlier version of the VOLANO chat server, please contact me for a more recent license. See the Version 2.12 page for details.

October 24, 2012

An update to the VOLANO chat software is available as a full version 2.11 package and as a patch to version 2.10. This version works around the bug in Oracle Java 7 that disables the enter and return keys on Mac OS X. See the Version 2.11 page for details.

October 17, 2012

The Oracle Java 7 Plug-in on Mac OS X disables the enter and return keys in the text field of the chat room window. As a result, Mac users who upgrade to Java 7 are unable to send messages in the chat room. There is a work-around that I will post soon in an update to the VOLANO chat software. I expect to complete the changes in the next few days and have a full version and upgrade version available for download next week.

Included in the text box below is the bug report I submitted to Oracle.

— John Neffenger


2014-07-11 — An updated version of the VOLANO chat server that supports the latest Java 8 Plug-in is now available. More…

The VOLANO® chat software for the Java™ platform lets you build on-line communities and add real-time social networking to your Web site. More…

John Neffenger <john@status6.com>
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