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Will the new chats require me to have Java installed?
No, Java is simply the language for the backend system. This will not affect the user. The chats will remain HTML chats.
Is it going to look like a crappy Java chat, or is it going to keep looking like the HTML chat?
Fortunately we have not gone insane. The chats will not be a Java applet. We use the Java programming language for the backend of the system, but the user end will remain like any other web page and will not require anything out of the ordinary!