Biggest change in Modelling4All software in years — Kiss Java applets goodbye!

Java applets were once a good idea. When they were introduced in 1995 they were a major advance. NetLogo was designed from its start (1999) to take advantage of Java applets. Six years ago when we started the Modelling4All project the idea of both authoring, running, and sharing models only using a  web browser was very appealing. But lately experts have been recommending that people disable Java due to security risks. Applets are dying.

There are at least two replacements for Java applets:

  1. Run in the browser using JavaScript and HTML5. This has many advantages and the NetLogo team at Northwestern University and researchers at the Concord Consortium are working on this. When this work is mature we will integrate the Behaviour Composer with it. But it will be a very long time before has all the features and the performance of the NetLogo application.
  2. Use the NetLogo application. Before today required a clumsy and slow workflow of clicking the Download tab, right clicking, saving, and launching NetLogo for every change in the model worth testing. Today’s release is integrated with a new application we call BC2NetLogo that automates this process.

When you run BC2NetLogo both NetLogo and a Behaviour Composer web page are opened. With a single click in the Behaviour Composer your model is assembled and automatically loaded into NetLogo. All of the features of the NetLogo application are available to run, debug, and analyse your models. While the Behaviour Composer’s support for constructing and sharing models is maintained.

This release also includes a very useful new feature (especially when running BC2NetLogo frequently): a button to reload a model without its history, making loading time much faster. Look in the Settings tab for this.

Download BC2NetLogo now.

Posted in Software development | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Biggest change in Modelling4All software in years — Kiss Java applets goodbye!”

  1. Howard says:

    Wow – worked first time for me!

    Might it then be possible to put all that is needed to author/compile modelling4all models in a netlogo folder so all development could happen offline, then be moved online if/when needed? (as we can already do via eclipse).

  2. Kenneth Kahn says:

    Recall that the Behaviour Composer relies upon web pages. I can’t see a way to put things in a folder without a complete rewrite the entire system. The only alternative is to run the server local host and to ensure the local host has a cache of all the needed web pages.

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