Applet Meaning & Definition

An applet is a small, supplemental program that supports a larger program. It typically performs one specific task and runs within a larger program, often as a plug in. They are not full-featured applications, but they are intended to be easily accessible. An applet is an example of transient and auxiliary applications that don’t distract the reader’s attention from the web page.

The term is most commonly associated with the Java applet in the Java programming language. But it’s also associated with If This Then That (IFTTT), a free service that automates connectivity between apps and services, enabling users to utilize applets (previously known as recipes) that will coordinate small tasks between internet and web services.

Java Applet

A Java Applet is a Java program launched from HTML and run in a web browser. The <applet> tag was used to embed the Java applet. It provided web applications with interactive and dynamic features that HTML couldn’t offer. These applets had access to 3D hardware acceleration, allowing for non-trivial, computation-intensive visualizations.

A java applet was executed by browsers in operating systems such as Windows, Unix, macOS, and Linux. While the applets were normally written in the Java language, other languages were used as well, such as Eiffel, Pascal, and Scala.

Java applets were introduced in 1995. In 2013, web browsers began to phase out support for the underlying technology that applets ran on. By 2017, applets were completely unable to run. They were deprecated since Java 9 and removed from Java SE 11, released September 2018.

IFTTT applet

IFTTT is an online service for creating conditional statements. An applet within IFTTT connects two or more apps or devices together. Common programming logic is used to allow events triggered by one cloud service to cause a reaction in another cloud service. Triggers tell an applet to start, and actions are the end result of an applet run.

These triggers allow non technical users to automate tasks. For example, an office manager could create an IFTTT applet to have Amazon Echo’s Alexa turn the lights off when the front door is locked.

Abby Braden
Abby Braden
Abby Braden is an award-winning writer and editor for websites such as,, and, where she covers technology trends and enterprise and SMB project management platforms. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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