Sun has opened up a test version of its Java Store, which it bills as a Web site where developers can connect with millions of computer users who run Java on their desktop.
Similar to Apple's successful App Store, the site is designed to give consumers an easy way to download Java programs. A beta version of the store launched Tuesday with just a couple of applications -- a Java version of the RuneScape online role-playing game and a Java-based Twitter client called Twitter FX -- but developers will have until the Java Store's public launch at the end of this year to add programs to it.
The company is also testing a new developer portal, called the Java Warehouse, which Sun says is "the central repository for Java and JavaFX applications." Developers who pay a US$50 fee to register with Java Warehouse will then be able to distribute their programs via the Java Store.
At first, Java Warehouse applications will be targeted at Mac and Windows users in the U.S. who use the Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer browsers, Sun said.
Sun has had a lot of success promoting Java as a platform for popular back-end servers applications, but has not enjoyed the same kind of popularity with desktop software. Java Store and Java Warehouse, known internally at Sun as Project Vector, are an effort to breathe new life into client-side applications.
Sun estimates that 800 million desktop users worldwide have Java installed, and it hopes Java Store will give developers an easy way to reach this vast audience.
In a May 18 blog posting announcing Project Vector, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said he hopes the portal will be used by "banks looking to sign up new accounts, sports franchises looking for new viewers, media companies and news organizations looking for new subscribers - basically, any Java developer looking to escape the browser to reach a billion or so consumers."
The Java Store and Java Warehouse sites went live Tuesday morning in advance of the company's annual Java One conference, which runs through the week in San Francisco.