In this instance we come across a file extension which is in the helpful position of linking itself to only one program, which helps to minimize confusion, at least in the identification of a file based on naming conventions. The .jnlp file is used as a package that neatly bundles all the necessary information required to download and/or execute a remote application. To help us better understand the nature and purpose of this breed of file, let's first begin by outlining what Java is exactly. In short, it is a programming language used for scripting, software creation, interface enhancement, and much more. This particular language has been optimized for use and transmission over a network, specifically the world's largest network, the internet.
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In many cases, Java will work in the background to silently perform everything from rudimentary to complex tasks and functions. In other cases, Java can be used to create what is essentially a stand alone program which can be run from a website. In almost all cases, Java is implemented to facilitate some degree of user interaction, whether it be as simple as a pop up window that displays an enlarged image or a full blown internet relay chat protocol interface in a browser window.
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More Info Regarding File Extension Jnlp
When using a .jnlp file (which stands for Java network launching protocol), you are basically going to be dealing with a standalone program, while it is still accessed and run remotely; this is not an instance in which the code is running in the background with no user input. The .jnlp acts as a launcher and manager for various applications which are intended to be run from a certain server on the internet or a local network. While appearing as one file, it is actually an archive of multiple files, and is formatted in the XML coding language. XML, like HTML, is readable using the text editor of your choice; this can be helpful in cases when the file needs to be identified, but the user does not wish to actually execute the program. Online Java applications are called 'applets,' but unlike applets which are stored exclusively on a remote server and run from there, a .jnlp web start file is stored locally on the user's machine. Because of this, the program can be initiated directly, avoiding the necessity of visiting a specific web page in a browser for execution.
If you want to open such a file, there is a requisite of having a program which will interpret the data organized in the XML file. If you have the Java runtime environment installed, then you are good to go. This is not usually installed by default on new computers, but can be downloaded and installed for free from the official Java website. If you don't have the full runtime environment installed, you have the option of downloading Java 'web start,' also available from the official Java website. Java web start acts as a launcher and manager for all your different Java based applications, and will read the data in your .jnlp file such as the location of the remote program to be run, and then use that data to execute the appropriate actions; namely, start the stand alone program. A few more examples of instances in which the user may be using a .jnlp file; there are a number of 'fantasy' sports league programs online, where people from across the world create their own team and track it as it competes with the teams of other players, based on the way the players of their team perform in real-life games, as well as more production and business oriented programs with database functionality.
Should you come across a file with this extension and are unsure where it come from, a good place to start your quest for verification is with your trusty text editor. Since all .jnlp files are human readable and coded in XML, you should easily be able to ascertain the location of the server the program resides in, which is linked to in the simply coded file; its organization is similar to that of a web page. If you are not able to open said file in a text editor, it is surely not labeled correctly. Data corruption will also be easy to spot in a text editor; if in doubt, re-download, if possible from a different source.