What makes the best terminal emulator?

Choosing the right Terminal emulator continues to be an important issue for users of Legacy Systems in 2018. When choosing a terminal emulator there are two major types to pick from: desktop based emulators and web based terminal emulators. In this article Jubilant will discuss why a web based terminal emulator is the best option across four factors: Functionality, Security, Performance and Future-Proofing.




A web based terminal emulator can be accessed quickly and easily by any device with a web browser. This includes laptops, mobile phones, tablets and desktops. In the modern workplace, where Terminal Emulator software needs to be used by a diverse mix of users from salespeople, to shop floor staff and programmers, such flexibility is a must. Using the web to host your emulator gives the user and system owners the increased flexibility of an internet based application. More importantly the business applications that run on your legacy system can then become seamlessly integrated with other systems and processes within your organisation.


While installing a desktop emulator might seem the obvious choice to maximize security, the reality is very different. A web terminal emulator is actually far more secure than its locally installed counterpart.

Web Servers and web browsers take advantage of the most sophisticated security features of the moment. This level of security is important, as it allows the user to perform vital tasks safely, such as internet banking. This also ensures that your web based terminal emulator can benefit from the most up to date security available, whilst having the agility of a modern web browser based application.  

By contrast most desktop terminal emulators are quite clunky and the security is often eons out of date, creating a large threat surface that can then expose your most critical business systems.

Desktop terminal emulators rarely receive security patches from their respective providers, they are often treated as old applications by vendors and as such receive little investment. As such many years will pass without a single update, leaving you wide open to all the latest threats.  


Most desktop terminal emulators haven’t had any architectural examination or revision for over 20 years, thus causing slow and bloated software that hasn’t really been designed for today’s operating systems.  In the past even some lesser web based terminal emulators have used Java applets or active X plug ins, essentially creating a locally installed application that runs slowly in a web browser. 

However, modern web based terminal emulators are pure HTML and don’t use applets or plug-ins. Because of this remaining compliant isn’t left to users anymore, this is all managed centrally in one place. More importantly the native HTML use ensures your get all the benefit from the most optimized and fastest application on the planet, the web browser itself.  The browser wars fought between, Google, Microsoft, Firefox and Apple have delivered arguably the most performant application on the planet, even Microsoft Word is now a HTML based application.

Modern web based terminal emulation will utilize compression and intelligent algorithms to make your legacy application lighter and faster than the original data stream, ensuring it can be used comfortably with mobile devices and in wireless environments.  A modern web based terminal emulator will deliver you a stateless emulation, meaning dropped sessions are a thing of the past.


Future proofing

Web Based terminal emulation software can be one part of a wider future-proofing roadmap for companies. Web based terminal emulation systems allow companies to get all the benefits of the latest technology, without endangering or changing their business critical systems.

Organisations with a cloud or mobile first strategy can comfortably adopt a web based terminal emulator: a good emulation vendor will already have a cloud based offering and deliver interfaces that use responsive design that work seamlessly on any device. The best web based terminal emulator will offer a road map or provide no code tools that allows the classic green screen interface to be modernized to reflect and have symmetry with other modern applications in the business system ecology.


Clearly a web based terminal emulator is the best terminal emulator for companies looking to update their legacy systems. A pure HTML browser terminal emulator like Jubilant’s TE (Terminal Emulator) is a clear winner in terms of what the best terminal emulator is. Not only does it offer flexibility, increased performance and enhanced security, it is easier to own and manage and offers an inviting pathway into the future.