What is Java?

Java is a technology which allows us to write onCourse for any operating system. It also allows us to use some remarkable open source technologies which form the heart of onCourse. It doesn’t cost anything to use, no matter what size company you have, and you probably have it installed on your computers already.

Installing Java

Visit this site and follow the simple instructions:


Which version of Java

You should always have the latest release of Java installed on your system. The Java control panel will allow you to set Java to automatically update when new releases are made and we recommend you enable this setting.

Is Java a security risk?

There has been a lot of bad information in the media about what Java is and what sort of risk it poses to your machine. Java itself is a programming language and runtime environment. This means that installing Java itself doesn’t cause anything to run on your system and it poses no security risk at all. However, you can install a Java browser plugin which works a lot like Flash: you can visit web pages which cause code to run. And if that code is evil, it can try to take advantage of flaws in Java to take over your computer. Java is constantly being patched to solve these sorts of flaws, but the solution is simple: don’t install the Java browser plugin: onCourse does not require it.

onCourse itself (along with the Java runtime) poses exactly the same threat as any other software you download and run. That is, the software can touch any file on your computer to which it has access. You need only give onCourse these rights:

  • the ability to create log files (by default in the same folder as the application)
  • the ability to save files somewhere (for when you export or create PDF reports)
  • the ability to listen on a TCP port (server) of your choosing, or connect to an external server (client) over a network

Other than these things, feel free to lock it down as much as you like.