20 Web – VUE Applet


Generally, an applet provides functionality or performance beyond the default capabilities of its container (the browser). When you run an applet, it runs in the browser window, but executes locally. The VUE applet is signed with a certificate to allow VUE to save VUE maps to and read VUE maps from your local computer. To learn more about signed applets, see Sun’s Applet Security Basics document: http://java.sun.com/javase/6/docs/technotes/guides/plugin/developer_guide/security.html

Why use the VUE applet?

The benefit of using the VUE applet to users is that VUE doesn’t have to be installed locally, while as a site owner you can host both VUE and VUE maps on your own web server. You can give non-VUE users a richer subset of VUE features to use in interacting with your maps than possible by using the HTML output features (Interactive Web Graphic) of VUE.

Limitations of the VUE applet

In order to reduce the download size of the applet itself, not every feature available in the full application is replicated in the applet.

 Features removed from the applet version include:

  • The use of OSID data resources
  • Pathways presentation mode
  • Panner
  • Outline view
  • PDF and SVG saving
  • Slides are never displayed
  • LMS integration with Sakai (disabled)
  • Fedora Commons upload (disabled)

Using the hosted VUE Applet

In order to take advantage of this applet, be sure that you have enabled Java on your browser. If you suspect that VUE did not start because you do not have Java enabled in your browser, you can read more on how to enabled Java here:


The hosted VUE applet, available for use through the VUE website can be reached by going here in a Java enabled browser:


The applet should work in current versions of all major browsers including Firefox, IE7+ and Safari on all platforms which VUE supports.

Installing the VUE applet on your own webserver

To install VUE on your web site:

  1. Download the VUEApplet.zip file from the VUE web site. This can be found by visiting http://vue.tufts.edu/download/
  2. Uunzip the downloaded file. You should have a directory named “vueapplet”. This directory contains the essential files required to install and use VUE.
  3. Copy all files found in the “vue” directory to your web server.

Configuring the VUE applet

VUE comes with a basic HTML file that will display the applet in a web browser, but formulating how you want to integrate VUE in to your website may take some thought. There are a few parameters that can be configured through <parameter> tags to the applet, as well as ways to interact with the applet itself through javascript. The VUE Firefox plugin for Zotero demonstrates some of the ways a browser can interact with VUE through javascript, the source code for the plugin, is a good place to look. Also, you can interact with the larger user community to learn how you can integrate your website with VUE through the VUE User forums:


In our sample HTML code, we write the applet tags through Javascript in order to dynamically size the applet to the browser window, if this isn’t something you need to do you can statically define the tags.

...<head><title>VUE/Zotero Plugin</title><script type="text/javascript" src="applet.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"></head><body  onresize="setMaxAppletSize();" style=""><div id="content" style=""><script type="text/javascript"><!--var sizeTag = outputSizeTag();document.write('<applet ');document.write(' ARCHIVE="VUEApplet.jar"');document.write('CODE="tufts/vue/VueApplet.class" NAME="VUE" ID="VUE"');document.write(sizeTag);document.write('HSPACE="0" VSPACE="0" ALIGN="middle" mayscript="mayscript">');document.write('<PARAM name="java_arguments" value="-Xmx512m">');document.write('<PARAM name="java_version" value="1.6.0_10+">');document.write("</applet>"); --></script></div></body></html>

There is only one VUE specific static applet parameter for defining when VUE is running in Zotero mode.

<PARAM NAME="zoteroPlugin" VALUE="true">//default is FALSE, possible values TRUE, FALSE

There are a number of VUE methods that can be dynamically called via javascript to provide richer interaction between VUE, and its container page, they include:

public static String getActiveMapPath();public static String getActiveMapDisplayTitle();public void ToggleAllVisible(); //toggles visiblity of Dock Windowspublic static boolean isInited();public void setSize(int width, int height);public static void displayMap(String urlString);public static void displayLocalMap(String fileString);