Running Java Applets and Flash Videos in Current Browsers

Screenshot Knightvision Chess PGN viewer on June 2023.
Screenshot Knightvision Chess PGN viewer on June 2023.

One of the great successes of the early years of was the Chess Replay Utilities Synopsis which provided an overview over all then available chess game viewers ready for embedding in websites. Most of the projects enlisted there are now defunct. However, my demo pages are still there. Even of those viewers that were carried out as Java Applet or Flash Video. Both environments were removed from current browsers years ago. So i wondered if I can get my demo pages to run today?

Probably the most promising way is to install contemporary browsers and extensions on a Virtual Machine but it would be very much work only to view the demo pages here. And as my site is TLS only this might run into certificate errors.

In principle you can download the *.jar or *.swf files and feed a stand alone app with them. Alas, chess game viewers have the *.pgn files (the game databases) outside so this probably won’t work here. There are browser plugins for both formats. The Chrome addon CheerpJ Applet Runner converts Java into WebAssembly and JavaScript on the fly. It works well with the Internet Chess Club viewer. It fails miserably on ChessTutor™. The other Java Applets render the graphical interface as expected but fail to load the games in an operational manner. The manufacturer Leaning Technologies has announced a full Java VM in WebAssembly. Hopefully we will see better results then.

Flash Video (*.swf = ShockWave Flash) should still be working in Lunascape Browser out of box. But this failed to me. There is an extension FlashPlayer – SWF to HTML for Chrome and Firefox browsers which provides a sandboxed JavaScript implementation of a flash viewer. It runs perfectly on DGT Chesstheatre. And it works on KnightVision Chess PGN Viewer, too, but fails to navigate into alternate lines.

All in all I feel it was a good decision not to remove the demo pages but preserve them as sort of archivalia.

Running Java Applets and Flash Videos in Current Browsers 1

Ingram Braun

Archaeologist, web developer, proofreader


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment