Cross-platform installer package?

Discussion in 'Java' started by slippymississippi@yahoo.com, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package? Scanning
    Google, it appears that the installer package landscape is all focused
    on specific operating systems.
    , Sep 1, 2006
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. wrote:
    > Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package?


    WebStart.

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 1, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. In article <>, wrote:
    > Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package? Scanning
    > Google, it appears that the installer package landscape is all focused
    > on specific operating systems.


    InstallJammer. Written in Tcl and runs on several different platforms. Open
    source. Does lots of cool things. Author is very responsive to suggestions
    and eager to please. :) Worth much more than what it costs ($0).

    www.installjammer.com

    It's not Java-specific, but it does have a handful of settings to make it
    easier to install Java apps.

    --
    Steve Sobol, Professional Geek ** Java/VB/VC/PHP/Perl ** Linux/*BSD/Windows
    Apple Valley, California PGP:0xE3AE35ED

    It's all fun and games until someone starts a bonfire in the living room.
    Steven J. Sobol, Sep 2, 2006
    #3
  4. Guest

    Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    > In article <>, wrote:
    > > Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package? Scanning
    > > Google, it appears that the installer package landscape is all focused
    > > on specific operating systems.

    >
    > InstallJammer. Written in Tcl and runs on several different platforms. Open
    > source. Does lots of cool things. Author is very responsive to suggestions
    > and eager to please. :) Worth much more than what it costs ($0).
    >
    > www.installjammer.com
    >
    > It's not Java-specific, but it does have a handful of settings to make it
    > easier to install Java apps.


    This is incredible. Thanks!
    , Sep 6, 2006
    #4
  5. Lionel Guest

    wrote:
    > Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    >> In article <>, wrote:
    >>> Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package? Scanning
    >>> Google, it appears that the installer package landscape is all focused
    >>> on specific operating systems.

    >> InstallJammer. Written in Tcl and runs on several different platforms. Open
    >> source. Does lots of cool things. Author is very responsive to suggestions
    >> and eager to please. :) Worth much more than what it costs ($0).
    >>
    >> www.installjammer.com
    >>
    >> It's not Java-specific, but it does have a handful of settings to make it
    >> easier to install Java apps.

    >
    > This is incredible. Thanks!
    >


    LOL, I actually found this post via a google and came pack to respond to
    an old post I made asking people about cross-platform installers. I am
    now using InstallJammer and it is excellent. While I'm sure JWS is a
    good option it must first be installed and I don't think that is a
    reasonable assumption.

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 13, 2006
    #5
  6. Lionel wrote:
    > wrote:
    > > Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    > >> In article <>, wrote:
    > >>> Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package?

    ....
    > >> www.installjammer.com


    Does the definition 'cross-platform' usually include Mac's?
    (I say it does)

    InstallJammer homepage..
    "InstallJammer is a multiplatform GUI installer designed to be
    completely cross-platform and function on Windows and most
    all versions of UNIX with eventual support for Mac OS X."

    IJ is not X-plat.
    ....
    > > This is incredible. Thanks!

    ...
    > LOL, I actually found this post via a google and came pack to respond to
    > an old post I made asking people about cross-platform installers. I am
    > now using InstallJammer and it is excellent. While I'm sure JWS is a
    > good option it must first be installed and I don't think that is a
    > reasonable assumption.


    Possibly not. But then, JWS comes with any (modern) JRE.

    What does IJ offer when no suitable JRE is found?
    <http://www.installjammer.com/docs/index.html?LocateJavaRuntime>
    ...which ends with an option to 'Prompt User'.

    JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    Sun.

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 13, 2006
    #6
  7. In article <>, Andrew Thompson wrote:

    > Does the definition 'cross-platform' usually include Mac's?
    > (I say it does)
    >
    > InstallJammer homepage..
    > "InstallJammer is a multiplatform GUI installer designed to be
    > completely cross-platform and function on Windows and most
    > all versions of UNIX with eventual support for Mac OS X."
    >
    > IJ is not X-plat.


    Nitpick -

    Not as X-plat as it should be. Windows and most flavors of Unix are
    supported, so it's obviously not single-platform. :) IIRC the author
    is working on Mac OSX compatibility, but you may want to contact him.


    > What does IJ offer when no suitable JRE is found?
    ><http://www.installjammer.com/docs/index.html?LocateJavaRuntime>
    > ..which ends with an option to 'Prompt User'.
    >
    > JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    > and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    > the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    > Sun.


    Well, that's a good point, but I believe I made the point that it's not
    a Java-specific program. On the other hand, most installers that claim
    to find JRE's only do a few specific things like checking the Registry
    (on Windows), or checking the system path. That could be added in easily
    enough.

    Anyhow, IJ is a great general-purpose installer. This does not mean it's
    going to be great for everyone, and I would expect that many people
    (especially in this newsgroup) would prefer a solution like JWS. I was
    just putting the suggestion out there...

    --
    Steve Sobol, Professional Geek ** Java/VB/VC/PHP/Perl ** Linux/*BSD/Windows
    Apple Valley, California PGP:0xE3AE35ED

    It's all fun and games until someone starts a bonfire in the living room.
    Steven J. Sobol, Sep 13, 2006
    #7
  8. Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    > In article <>, Andrew Thompson wrote:

    ...
    > > What does IJ offer when no suitable JRE is found?
    > ><http://www.installjammer.com/docs/index.html?LocateJavaRuntime>
    > > ..which ends with an option to 'Prompt User'.
    > >
    > > JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    > > and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    > > the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    > > Sun.

    >
    > Well, that's a good point, but I believe I made the point that it's not
    > a Java-specific program. On the other hand, most installers that claim
    > to find JRE's only do a few specific things like checking the Registry
    > (on Windows), or checking the system path. That could be added in easily
    > enough.


    No. IJ already offers all the usual 'find Java to best version'
    automatically (or you can tell the script to do so, according
    to that page) - it is just that failing finding a suitable JRE
    by the automated method, you (the deployer) can choose
    to offer the 'Prompt for Java' as a last ditch effort.

    [ As an aside - I prefer that approach to attempts to
    'bundle' a JVM with each application. ]

    > Anyhow, IJ is a great general-purpose installer. This does not mean it's
    > going to be great for everyone, and I would expect that many people
    > (especially in this newsgroup) would prefer a solution like JWS. I was
    > just putting the suggestion out there...


    Good points. There are sure things that JWS either
    cannot do, or has significant trouble with.

    No deployment solution fits every situation.

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 13, 2006
    #8
  9. In article <>, Andrew Thompson wrote:

    >> to find JRE's only do a few specific things like checking the Registry
    >> (on Windows), or checking the system path. That could be added in easily
    >> enough.

    >
    > No. IJ already offers all the usual 'find Java to best version'
    > automatically (or you can tell the script to do so, according
    > to that page) - it is just that failing finding a suitable JRE
    > by the automated method, you (the deployer) can choose
    > to offer the 'Prompt for Java' as a last ditch effort.


    Eh... I must not have RTFM'd closely enough. I missed that. Thanks.


    --
    Steve Sobol, Professional Geek ** Java/VB/VC/PHP/Perl ** Linux/*BSD/Windows
    Apple Valley, California PGP:0xE3AE35ED

    It's all fun and games until someone starts a bonfire in the living room.
    Steven J. Sobol, Sep 13, 2006
    #9
  10. Lionel Guest

    Andrew Thompson wrote:
    > Lionel wrote:
    >> wrote:
    >>> Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    >>>> In article <>, wrote:
    >>>>> Does anyone know of a cross-platform installer package?

    > ...
    >>>> www.installjammer.com

    >
    > Does the definition 'cross-platform' usually include Mac's?
    > (I say it does)
    >
    > InstallJammer homepage..
    > "InstallJammer is a multiplatform GUI installer designed to be
    > completely cross-platform and function on Windows and most
    > all versions of UNIX with eventual support for Mac OS X."
    >
    > IJ is not X-plat.


    I'm relying the eventual support and I believe I can take a crack at
    getting it to run on Mac OS X as it is unix based anyway. You do have a
    point though and I wasn't as concerned about Mac as I was Unix and Windows.


    > ...
    >>> This is incredible. Thanks!

    > ..
    >> LOL, I actually found this post via a google and came pack to respond to
    >> an old post I made asking people about cross-platform installers. I am
    >> now using InstallJammer and it is excellent. While I'm sure JWS is a
    >> good option it must first be installed and I don't think that is a
    >> reasonable assumption.

    >
    > Possibly not. But then, JWS comes with any (modern) JRE.
    >
    > What does IJ offer when no suitable JRE is found?
    > <http://www.installjammer.com/docs/index.html?LocateJavaRuntime>
    > ..which ends with an option to 'Prompt User'.


    My installer will automatically install Java, I only made minimal use of
    the Java Support in InstallJammer. Launching the Java installer in
    silent mode with basic gui (to show user progress bar) is an excellent
    solution.


    > JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    > and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    > the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    > Sun.


    My problem was that you have to check if Java is installed using
    something other than Java anyway. Using InstallJammer I have a
    consistent look and language throughout the install.

    Also, does JWS provide an install builder? Will it automatically create
    links to desktop on windows, linux, unix and eventually Mac? Will it add
    entries to start menu? Is it possible to achieve everything that is
    stated it can do without an Internet connection, just a CD?

    I haven't found any clear cut tutorials which makes it harder for me to
    just get the job done.

    I'm still open, but I am proceeding incredibly happily with IJ because
    it can do everything I want, and I get to learn a bit of Tcl/Tk :).

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 13, 2006
    #10
  11. Lionel Guest

    Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    > In article <>, Andrew Thompson wrote:
    >
    >>> to find JRE's only do a few specific things like checking the Registry
    >>> (on Windows), or checking the system path. That could be added in easily
    >>> enough.

    >> No. IJ already offers all the usual 'find Java to best version'
    >> automatically (or you can tell the script to do so, according
    >> to that page) - it is just that failing finding a suitable JRE
    >> by the automated method, you (the deployer) can choose
    >> to offer the 'Prompt for Java' as a last ditch effort.

    >
    > Eh... I must not have RTFM'd closely enough. I missed that. Thanks.


    You can do it that way but it's rather clunky in my opinion. I still
    make use of their search for Java, if it's not found then if the user
    downloaded the installer with Java they are offered the opportunity to
    have Java installed automatically. I'm creating several different
    installers which are all just slightly different from each other:

    Windows
    MyApp
    MyApp+Java
    MyApp+MySQL
    MyApp+Java+MySQL

    The same above for Unix/Linux but not offering MySQL in the install.

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 13, 2006
    #11
  12. Lionel Guest

    Andrew Thompson wrote:
    > JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    > and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    > the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    > Sun.


    Correct me if I'm wrong but:

    http://mindprod.com/jgloss/installingjaws.html#BROWSERJNLP

    "Firefox Firefox does not seem to have a way of configuring
    associations other than selecting download rather than run for a small
    built-in set. Nevertheless it partly works, at least for jnlp files out
    on the web. It does not work for ones on local hard disk. It seems to
    bungle along with Windows associations and MIME type hints from
    webservers. Firefox will ask you what to do with an extension it has
    never seen before on download. This gives you an indirect way to set up
    an automatic association."


    So does that mean the JWS is going to be an absolute mongrel with
    Firefox? When I went searching this page was complaining about my not
    having JWS installed and I really don't know what I have to do to get
    this all to work, how is it going to be seemless for a common user?

    I'm not trying to find problems, I'm trying to find a solution. You seem
    to think JWS is great and I want to know why to see if it will do what I
    want.

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 13, 2006
    #12
  13. Lionel wrote:
    > Andrew Thompson wrote:
    > > JWS has a simple little web-page to check for WebStart availability
    > > and prompt installation. As I understand it, the JRE can come from
    > > the 'same disk as the web-page' (better for off-line install) - or from
    > > Sun.

    >
    > Correct me if I'm wrong but:
    >
    > http://mindprod.com/jgloss/installingjaws.html#BROWSERJNLP


    I am trimming the rest, for the moment, because
    the mindprod page is wrong. I have been meaning
    to drop an email to Roedy.

    The combined JS/VB solution described by Sun
    (as horrendous as it is) is the correct way to go
    about it. It covers any browser that supports the
    DOM (read, the NetScape family, + many others),
    as well as IE (that is where the VB comes into it).

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 14, 2006
    #13
  14. In article <eea1ji$177v$>, Lionel wrote:

    > You can do it that way but it's rather clunky in my opinion. I still
    > make use of their search for Java, if it's not found then if the user
    > downloaded the installer with Java they are offered the opportunity to
    > have Java installed automatically. I'm creating several different
    > installers which are all just slightly different from each other:


    Perhaps you could share how you did this?

    thanks

    --
    Steve Sobol, Professional Geek ** Java/VB/VC/PHP/Perl ** Linux/*BSD/Windows
    Apple Valley, California PGP:0xE3AE35ED

    It's all fun and games until someone starts a bonfire in the living room.
    Steven J. Sobol, Sep 14, 2006
    #14
  15. Lionel wrote:
    ....
    > Also, does JWS provide an install builder?


    I do not know quite what you mean by 'install builder'.

    >...Will it automatically create
    > links to desktop on windows, linux, unix and eventually Mac?


    No. It will do that now.

    Or rather, it will *offer* the user desktop shortcuts and..

    >..Will it add
    > entries to start menu?


    (Yes) ..start menu intem (both with associated icons, and the
    menu item in optional 'sub' menu).

    The 'offer' part of it is neat - I can suggest to the end user
    via the JNLP that either one or both (or neither) of desktop
    shortcut and menu item might be useful for the application.

    The end-user gets to choose (on a case-by-case, or
    permanent basis - if they tick the checkbox) whether to
    include it.

    >...Is it possible to achieve everything that is
    > stated it can do without an Internet connection, just a CD?


    Yes. I've never tried it, but I understand it is possible.

    > I haven't found any clear cut tutorials which makes it harder for me to
    > just get the job done.


    Sun's site sucks.

    I regularly have difficulty finding documents that I know are there,
    and for which have a number of keywords. I usually use Google
    to search Sun's site (specifying java.sun.com as the domain),
    since it also returns results much faster than Sun's search page..

    Here is one of the 'seminal' documents (for me) in relation
    to WebStart.

    Most of it is in the 1.5 developers guide - overview here..
    <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/contents.html>

    The parts that told me most about the abilities of WebStart, were ..

    1) The elements offered in the JNLP
    <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/syntax.html>

    2) Detecting JWS and correctly launching the JNLP is described here..
    <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/launch.html>

    > I'm still open, but I am proceeding incredibly happily with IJ because
    > it can do everything I want, and I get to learn a bit of Tcl/Tk :).


    Fair enough. At the moment I mostly use JWS, but occasionally
    throw up a 'jar with manifest' (which is fine when you can expect
    the client to have Java) to wrapping Java projects (screensavers)
    in an installer .exe (for Win. deployment - we use alternate
    installation
    mechanism for *nix - Mac's are not currently supported) using the
    NullSoft installer - which sounds very similar to IJ.

    ...It is wonderful that there are so many (free) deployment options.
    :)

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 14, 2006
    #15
  16. Lionel Guest

    Steven J. Sobol wrote:
    > In article <eea1ji$177v$>, Lionel wrote:
    >
    >> You can do it that way but it's rather clunky in my opinion. I still
    >> make use of their search for Java, if it's not found then if the user
    >> downloaded the installer with Java they are offered the opportunity to
    >> have Java installed automatically. I'm creating several different
    >> installers which are all just slightly different from each other:

    >
    > Perhaps you could share how you did this?


    Well I haven't finished yet but it's basically like this.

    Create a new pane that has two radio buttons, one that is selected by
    default and indicates that your installer will automatically install
    Java (You must have the appropriate Java installer packaged) and give
    the default location. There's a brows button that allows the user to
    change the location if they so desire. When the next button is clicked
    the Java installer is launched providing options to install silently.
    Provide another radio button that the user can select and then press a
    second browse button allowing them to tell you where the correct Java
    version is. This time when the Next button is clicked check that the
    Java version is valid, if not don't proceed and tell the user.

    Set the search for Java action to be executed before the above pane is
    shown, if the correct Java version is NOT found show the pane, else
    don't and the installer continues.

    The installer project can be copied and slight modifications such as the
    JRE installer can be changed to allow for the target OS.

    As I said, I'm still working on the details, but if you want to know
    more let me know. That's provided I don't get convinced about JWS in the
    mean time :).

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 14, 2006
    #16
  17. Lionel Guest

    Andrew Thompson wrote:
    > I regularly have difficulty finding documents that I know are there,
    > and for which have a number of keywords. I usually use Google
    > to search Sun's site (specifying java.sun.com as the domain),
    > since it also returns results much faster than Sun's search page..


    Great, I'm not the only one then.

    > Most of it is in the 1.5 developers guide - overview here..
    > <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/contents.html>
    >
    > The parts that told me most about the abilities of WebStart, were ..
    >
    > 1) The elements offered in the JNLP
    > <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/syntax.html>
    >
    > 2) Detecting JWS and correctly launching the JNLP is described here..
    > <http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/docs/guide/javaws/developersguide/launch.html>


    Ok, it's looking more interesting now.

    On a lot of Linux systems you download and install Java and browsers
    will NOT know about it. It relies on you making a symbolic link. Even
    then it appears that Firefox and possibly others won't know about jnlp
    files. This indicates to me that Java can be installed and it is highly
    likely that the scripts provided on the above site will not find JWS. Is
    this correct?

    I can see that it's probably possible to look at the OS and offer to
    install the appropriate version of Java automatically so I believe I can
    improve on the process that Sun provides (in some areas).

    Lionel.
    Lionel, Sep 14, 2006
    #17
  18. Andrew Thompson wrote:
    > Lionel wrote:
    > ...

    ...
    > >...Will it automatically create
    > > links to desktop on windows, linux, unix and eventually Mac?

    ...
    > ..it will *offer* the user desktop shortcuts and..
    >
    > >..Will it add
    > > entries to start menu?

    >
    > (Yes) ..start menu intem (both with associated icons, and the
    > menu item in optional 'sub' menu).


    Since I just put up two little examples that show
    combined menu-item/shortcut and shortcut ( and
    am trawling for test results ;) I thought I'd mention..

    Here's two you can try - to see how it works for the end user.
    <http://www.javasaver.com/testjs/jmf/#test2>

    So far, the second works here, only very poorly
    (at downloading the media) but maybe that is
    because of my connection, which is very slow.

    Andrew T.
    Andrew Thompson, Sep 15, 2006
    #18
  19. Damon Courtney

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1
    Some points on InstallJammer

    Hello all!

    I just wanted to make a few comments on this thread from the author.

    1. Cross Platform support.

    InstallJammer currently supports Windows and Linux, but it's quite easy to extend to other platforms. The 1.1 release (due out by the end of the year) will add FreeBSD, Solaris, HP-UX and AIX to the list.

    OS X is on the list and will probably be added as an install target soon but without the builder support. The biggest issue with OS X is not the compiling but the look-and-feel. I'm a stickler for things "looking right."

    2. Java Deployment.

    The previous posts are correct that InstallJammer does what most installers / applications do in that it will search the system for a suitable JRE (when asked by the developer), and as a last-ditch effort, it will ask the user where Java is installed. This is as far as it goes.

    Mind you, with a quick little action, you can have the installer fetch the JRE from the web from within the installer with a GUI and a progress bar (meaning you don't have to launch a web browser) and run the installer. I much prefer this method to automatically bundling the JRE with your installer JUST IN CASE your user doesn't have Java installed. That seems like an awful big install just to satisfy the small percentage of people who don't have Java. I'd rather just fetch it if they need it.

    This was always my biggest problem with Java-based installers. You must always either package your own version, or you just must rely on the target system having it installed. I never rely on anything from the target user. And I don't want to package up 10+M (depending on platform) into my installer if I don't have to.

    Of course, I'm not a Java programmer either. Some amount of assumption can be made that if the user is downloading a Java program, they probably have Java already installed. You just have to hope it's the correct version for your stuff.

    If anyone has any suggestions on how InstallJammer can be improved for Java developers, I'm all ears. Drop me a line and let me know. I'm always looking for ways to improve my software, and I like suggestions from good developers.

    Damon
    Damon Courtney, Sep 16, 2006
    #19
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