With all of the security issues surrounding Java these days, and no end in sight, it's become problematic because we rely on it for Shotgun's local file linking features and Tank's Shotgun engine/app integration. We have been thinking about this for a while, and we have worked out a solution which was recently announced on the Shotgun blog - we are deprecating our Java applet in favor of a browser plugin built on the FireBreath framework!
As outlined in the blog post, the current release schedule for the browser plugin is slated for a public beta release in April, a v1.0 release in May (to coincide with the release of Shotgun 5.0), and the elimination of Java support by July (around the release of Shotgun 5.1). On the Tank side, we are now in the process of adding browser plugin support to Tank. This means the next full release of the Tank core/platform (v0.13) will support both the new browser plugin as well as the soon-to-be-legacy Java-based integration. The browser plugin will take precedence if installed, and Tank will fall back to Java if the plugin isn't there. This will allow testers to validate our browser plugin integration without risking loss of previous functionality. Both options will remain until the Java applet is deprecated in Shotgun, at which point the browser plugin will become a requirement for Tank.
We're also really excited about the browser plugin for reasons beyond security! It will make Tank more flexible, and let us add further features to the Tank/Shotgun integration that would have been tricky to develop and deploy in the past. For example, what if clicking on the "Path" local file link on a Published File could run the "Open in Associated Application" app? This would allow clients to customize and control how files are opened instead of just relying on the default OS open command, handy for things like image sequences, say. It feels like there are other cool use cases out there, so drop us a line in the comments or through Tank Support if you have some ideas about what we can do that would help the most!
Shotgun is currently running a private beta program for the plugin, so if you have an urgent need to get rid of Java, please get in touch Shotgun Support. But, note that Tank does not yet support the browser plugin, and won't until the v0.13 release. More news to come soon, so watch this space!