Desktop : Java Glossary



The word desktop has three meanings:

  1. A class of personal computer.
  2. the main screen display with icons littered over it and sometimes to whatever you have currently visible.
  3. A Java class for launching apps.

Computer Types

Type Screen Size Keyboard Software Portability Main Uses
Desktop large good wide not portable word processing, heavy computing, programming
Laptop full poor wide luggable consultant
Notebook medium poor lightweight portable student
Tablet small none lightweight fit in a briefcase web browsing
Smartphone tiny none toy apps fit in a pocket telephone, web access to special sites

Main Screen

The files on your desktop or stored on disk in C:\Users\user\Desktop\ and C:\users\Public\Desktop.

Oddly, Desktop also refers to a class, introduced in Java version 1.6, that lets you launch generic applications.

Desktop Java Class

Surprisingly, Desktop is part of the venerable java.awt package. This was a stupid place to put it. Launching apps has nothing to do with GUIs (Graphic User Interfaces). I think Sun should have given it a more descriptive name like Launch. I can’t see the Desktop class having the remotest connection with the desktop.

With either a File or URI (Uniform Resource Indicator), it lets you launch a viewer to display the file, e.g. a browser, email client, The Desktop class allows a Java application to launch associated applications registered on the native desktop to handle a URI or a file. or a the associated open, edit or print application.

Unlike exec, you can use these features without knowing the name of the local command processor, browser, mail program etc.

Launching A Browser

Learning More

Oracle’s Javadoc on java.awt.Desktop class : available:

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