Desktop : Java Glossary

The word desktop refers to the main screen display with icons littered over it, and sometimes to whatever you have currently visible. Oddly, Desktop also refers to a class, introduced in Java version 1.6, that lets you launch generic applications. 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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