Difference between Java and JavaScript. Should you disable Java or JavaScript?

There is a lot of noise around saying – uninstall or disable Java – as it is vulnerable. Java 7 especially, is vulnerable say different websites and, the same thing applies to other Java versions too. Studying the topic, I found almost all versions have gone through similar exploits in the past. Sun, and later, Oracle has been keeping up by releasing one or more patch for Java each time in the past too. With the emergence of social media as a major information sharing tool, this particular Java 7 exploit (during the first half of Jan 2013) was hyped to an extent that many chose to uninstall Java from their machines. Apple, on the other hand, quietly disabled Java without informing its users. Firefox came up with a patch that checks websites before allowing them to run Java. It was good so far!

The problem starts when many chose to, knowingly or unknowingly, disable JavaScript on Internet Explorer and other browsers.

Java vs. JavaScript

Wait, there is a huge difference between Java and JavaScript. Java is from Oracle while the latter JavaScript is from Netscape Inc. The former is a programming language requiring a compiler, while the JavaScript is just ASCII (or text, as we call it). I get many questions on how to disable JavaScript.

The procedure varies form browser to browser. On Internet Explorer, you have to open Internet Options -> Security -> Internet and set Security level for this zone to HIGH so that you are prompted every time a website attempts to run a script. Note that it may ruin your browsing experience, however, with too many popups. Internet-Options-461x600 To disable Java on Internet Explorer you can use the Add-ons manager to disable Java(tm) Plug-in 2 SSV Helper and Sun Microsystems Deployment Toolkit. But this does not actually suffice. You have to edit some registry settings too, to complete disable Java on IE. More on that here.

Difference between the Java and JavaScript

Java is not JavaScript; neither is JavaScript based On Java! For those confused, here is an extract from the Java website:

The JavaScript programming language, developed by Netscape, Inc., is not part of the Java platform.  JavaScript, does not create applets or stand-alone applications. In its most common form today, JavaScript resides inside HTML documents, and can provide levels of interactivity to web pages that are not achievable with simple HTML.

Listed are key differences between the Java and JavaScript.

  • Java is an OOP programming language while Java Script is an OOP scripting language.
  • Java creates applications that run in a virtual machine or browser while JavaScript code is run on a browser only.
  • Java code needs to be compiled while JavaScript code are all in text.
  • They require different plug-ins.

How To Uninstall Java in Windows 10/8/7

The best way is to uninstall Jave is using Add/Remove programs in Windows XP and using Programs & Features in Windows 7/8/10. The process is easy so I won’t provide a step by step procedure here. You might see more than one records pertaining to Java while trying to uninstall it. This is because different programs use different versions of Java. That is, if you installed xyz when Java 5 was latest, the application will install Java 5 and may forget to update it. Later, if you install abc, it may install Java 7 (as on Jan 16 2013, it is the latest release). And since it is not easy to determine what version each application is using, you might remove all and install again if required absolutely. I really do not understand this as there is a central update feature available in Windows 8 | 7 that should take care of keeping the latest version only. I will leave this behavior, of having more than one Java versions installed, to others in the field. You might want to have a look at this post on how to manage Java settings.

Should You Disable JavaScript

Is disabling JavaScript a good idea? I do not think so and neither do the experts offering suggestions on how to disable Java without telling the users about the difference between Java and JavaScript. I am not much into web programming but I, out of curiosity, turned off JavaScript just to see how the internet looks without it. See the next section for more on it. If JavaScript was bad, why would bank people code an additional security measure based on JavaScript? If JavaScript was bad, why would most of the leading websites – such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – use JavaScript to enhance user experience? Again, remember that JavaScript and Java are two different items who may sound the same owing to their name. Nevertheless, if you wish to, you can go here to learn how to disable JavaScript.

An Internet Without JavaScript

Quite possible – if it was only static webpages! But that is not the case in reality and is neither feasible either. We can’t afford walking down the street or drive to the other end of city just to pay some bill. That is just one example where JavaScript comes in. There is much talk about HTML 5.0 changing the face of web. Some experts say they can use it to replace Flash and that Adobe Flash will soon be a thing of past. However, YouTube and Vimeo both use Flash & Flash player for streaming videos to your computer and I do not think they will be re-coding their entire setup anywhere in near future.

In my opinion, Flash and FLV is to stay for many more years to come. Maybe, in coming years, experts will come up with a statement that HTML 6 or 7 can eliminate the need for Java and/or JavaScript entirely. As of now, the following image shows how the Internet would look without JavaScript. jsoerrors While disabling Java might be a good idea, disabling JavaScript may not be! JavaScript, may be vulnerable but then, name an application that is not!

What are your views on the subject?

Posted by on , in Category Security with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

One Comment

  1. Aharon Don

    Java version 7.10 + has introduced an option to disable Java in browser,
    my question is whether disabling Java plugins i still have some risk?

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