Code Signing for Java Applets

by Daniel Griscom,

Latest release: 9/30/05

*** NOTICE ***

I wrote this document a LONG time ago as part of my work with signed Java applets. At the time it was the only comprehensive cookbook description of Netscape/Explorer applet signing. Since then, however, history has overtaken it, and the majority of the tools, techniques and links it includes have gone the way of all flesh. Most significantly, two years ago Microsoft withdrew their Java tools for Explorer, making half of the document irrelevant at one whack.

Today, the way to go is to sign for the Java Plug-In (see <>). I unfortunately have no experience with it, so I can't do better than the other documents out there. So, I'm stopping development of this document, and leaving it as-is for history.

Thanks to the quarter of a million people (and robots) who have visited in the past eight years.

Daniel Griscom, 9/30/05


*** WARNING ***

As part of the battles between Microsoft and Sun, Microsoft has stopped making their Java SDK available, and have removed virtually all Java documentation from their website. This means that, unless you already have a copy, or can persuade someone else to break the Microsoft licensing agreement and give you a copy (don't ask me!) then you won't be able to sign Java applets for use in Internet Explorer.

The workaround is to sign for the Sun Java Plugin, which can be installed in Internet Explorer, recognizes Netscape-signed applets (but not Netscape's security calls), and is distributed freely.

I'm hoping to rewrite this document to more fully explore code signing for the Java Plugin. If you'd like to hear about the update when (if) it happens, then follow the instructions below to add yourself to my mailing list.

Daniel Griscom, 3/7/03

This document goes over the process of digitally signing a Java applet's files for use with both Netscape Navigator/Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. I wrote it because I couldn't find a unified description of this process anywhere on the Web. It's written with as much detail as possible, but with the assumption that the reader basically knows his stuff. Please send any and all comments to me at .

If you wish to distribute printed copies of this document feel free to do so as long as you print the document as a whole, maintaining the copyright statements and my contact info. (It's only fair, you know.).


If you find this document useful, you can thank me in a number of ways:

  • Send me a suggestion on how to improve it
  • Tell other people about it. I love to watch the hit count rise...
  • Write a document in your own field of expertise and publish it on the Web: that's how the Web grows!

This is the main page of the eleven that make up this document. The other pages are Document history Overview, Writing code for Netscape Navigator, Signing code for Netscape Navigator, Writing code for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Signing code for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Signing for both Navigator and Explorer, Signing for the Sun Java Plugin Creating and Installing your own Certificates, and Links.

Before you go any further, make sure you read the disclaimer.



I believe this document to be fairly complete and correct. However, it may contain errors of various magnitude. Although I'm interested in hearing about any such errors, and will attempt to fix those brought to my attention, this information comes with no warranty, and I am not responsible for any harm you may come to by using it. Sorry.

Now my lawyer is happy.

Next section: Document history

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