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What is it?

Getdown (yes, it's the funky stuff) is a system for deploying Java applications to end-user computers, as well as keeping those applications up to date.

It was designed as a replacement for Java Web Start due to limitations in Java Web Start's architecture which are outlined in the rationale section.

Note: Getdown was designed in 2004 as an alternative to Java Web Start, because of design choices made by JWS that were problematic to the use cases its authors had. It is not a drop-in replacement for JWS, aimed to help the developers left in the lurch by the deprecation of JWS in Java 9. It may still be a viable alternative for developers looking to replace JWS, but don't expect to find feature parity with JWS.

How do I use it?

A tutorial and more detailed specification are available from the Documentation page. Questions can be posted to the OOO Libs Google group.

Note that because one can not rely on users having a JRE installed, you must create a custom installer for each platform that you plan to support (Windows, macOS, Linux) that installs a JRE, the Getdown launcher jar file, a stub configuration file that identifies the URL at which your real app manifest is hosted, and whatever the appropiate "desktop integration" is that provides an icon the user can click on. We have some details on the installers documentation page, though it is unfortunately not very detailed.

How does it work?

The main design and operation of Getdown is detailed on the design page. You can also browse the javadoc documentation and source code if you're interested in implementation details.

Where can I see it in action?

Getdown was originally written by developers at OOO for the deployment of their Java-based massively multiplayer games. Try out any of the following games to see it in action:

Getdown is implemented in Java, and is designed to deploy and update JVM-based applications. While it would be technically feasible to use Getdown to deploy non-JVM-based applications, it is not currently supported and it is unlikely that the overhead of bundling a JVM just to run Getdown would be worth it if the JVM were not also being used to run the target application.

Release notes

See for release notes.

Obtaining Getdown

Getdown will likely need to be integrated into your build. We have separate instructions for build integration. You can also download the individual jar files from Maven Central if needed. Getdown is comprised of three Maven artifacts (jar files), though you probably only need the first one:

  • getdown-launcher contains minified (via Proguard) code that you actually run to update and launch your app. It also contains the tools needed to build a Getdown app distribution.

  • getdown-core contains the core logic for downloading, verifying, patching and launching an app as well as the core logic for creating an app distribution. It does not contain any user interface code. You would only use this artifact if you were planning to integrate Getdown directly into your app.

  • getdown-ant contains an Ant task for building a Getdown app distribution. See the build integration instructions for details.

You can also:

JVM Version Requirements

  • Getdown version 1.8.x requires Java 7 VM or newer.
  • Getdown version 1.7.x requires Java 7 VM or newer.
  • Getdown version 1.6.x requires Java 6 VM or newer.
  • Getdown version 1.5 and earlier requires Java 5 VM or newer.

Migrating from Getdown 1.7 to Getdown 1.8

See this document on the changes needed to migrate from Getdown 1.7 to 1.8.


Getdown is built with Maven in the standard ways. Invoke the following commands, for fun and profit:

% mvn compile  # builds the classes
% mvn test     # builds and runs the unit tests
% mvn package  # builds and creates jar file
% mvn install  # builds, jars and installs in your local Maven repository


Feel free to pop over to the OOO Libs Google Group to ask questions and get (and give) answers.