[jsword-devel] Installers

Joe Walker joseph.walker at gmail.com
Tue May 10 03:26:38 MST 2005


I'm working on getting an install system together.


- The installer must help the user in getting Java installed. In an ideal 
world this would mean detecting if Java is available and then downloading 
the minimum needed to get a working system.
- The installer must create startup icons and an uninstall system
- The installer must work on windows and it would be nice if it also created 
installers for Mac/Debian/Fedora
- The installer must be able to (optionally) package some default versions

Am I missing something?

Current findings:

If you have several hundred dollars to spare then there is a range of 
commercial offerings that do everything you need.
There is no free installer for Java that does JRE bundling.
The closest you can get (for free) to JRE bundling is use of an exe wrapper 
that will find a JRE/JDK for you and give you help in downloadiing if one is 
not available.

There are 2 exe wrapper creators: JSmooth and Launch4J. I am currently 
trying JSmooth although if I was to start again I would probably try 
Launch4J first. I've has problems with ico files with JSmooth and 
development appears to have gone nowhere since 2003. Launch4J allows 
optional splash screens (which we probably don't need) over JSmooth.

This still leaves us with the issue of getting the files installed in the 
first place. The Java based installers (IzPack and AntInstaller) don't give 
the user enough help with installinig Java itself, so I'm looking at the 
Nullsoft Installer System (NSIS). There are plenty of other free native 
installers, including an OSS one from Microsoft on Sourceforge, however NSIS 
is probably better supported and even has an Eclipse plug-in.


Summary of Installer Systems:

JSmooth is a Java Executable Wrapper that makes a standard Windows 
executable binary (.exe) from a jar file. It makes java deployment much 
smoother and user-friendly, as it is able to find a Java VM by itself. When 
no VM is available, it provides feed-back to the users, and can launch the 
default web browser to an URL that explains how to download a Java VM. Note: 
License GNU General Public License (GPL)
HomePage http://jsmooth.sourceforge.net/
Latest Version 0.9.7
Last Update 2003
Bundles JRE No, but will find Java automatically and help user download
Notes Watch out for icon files that cause the exe generation to fail.

Windows native executable (.exe) java application wrapper. Offers native 
splash screen, application icon, search for JRE or use bundled one, feedback 
on startup failure, passes command line arguments.
License GNU Library or Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
HomePage http://launch4j.sourceforge.net
Latest Version 1.4.2
Last Update Recent

NullSoft Install System + EclipseNSIS

No help given to install Java

IzPack is an installers generator for the Java platform. It produces 
lightweight installers that can be run on any operating system where a Java 
virtual machine is available. Depending on the operating system, it can be 
launched by a double-click or a simple 'java -jar installer.jar' on a shell. 
The most common use is to distribute applications for the Java platform, but 
you can also use it for other kinds of projects. The main benefit of IzPack 
is that it provides a clean and unique way of distributing a project to 
users using different operating systems.
License ASL version 2
HomePage http://www.izforge.com/izpack/
Latest Version 
Last Update Recent
Bundles JRE No, user must have installed Java first and be able to run jar 

AntInstaller is an installer framework which uses a simple XML file to 
define the UI, and Apache Ant as a back end. The installers can therefore do 
anything Ant can, and are compatible with Ant's extension mechanism. 
Installers can be packaged as a selfextracting Jar and can run from the 
command line or a Swing GUI. AntInstall can also be used as a GUI front end 
for existing Ant builds.
License ASL version 2
HomePage http://antinstaller.sourceforge.net
Latest Version 0.7.3
Last Update Recent
Bundles JRE No, user must have installed Java first

Commercial and Too Expensive

Install4j is a powerful multi-platform Java installer builder that generates 
native installers and application launchers for Java applications. install4j 
excels in its ease of use, its tight integration into the target platforms 
and its flexible JRE management and deployment options.
License Commercial, From $400 for Pro, $800 for Ent. Educational discounts 
HomePage http://www.ej-technologies.com/products/install4j/overview.html
Latest Version 3.1
Last Update Recent
Bundles JRE Optional

ZeroG InstallAnywhere
InstallAnywhere sets the standard for multiplatform software installation, 
continuing to stay far ahead of the competition by delivering an ideal mix 
of power, ease of use, and functionality. By deploying and configuring 
applications onto the platforms that run the enterprise, the award-winning 
InstallAnywhere family has become the preferred choice of developers 
License Commercial, From about $1000
HomePage http://www.zerog.com/products_ia.shtml
Latest Version 6
Last Update Recent
Bundles JRE Optional
Notes Now does this product relate to "CodeWork InstallAnywhere"?

Create international, cross platform installers and updaters for your apps, 
applets, and servlets with the click of a button using JExpress. Build 
sophisticated installers and updaters through the easy to use JExpress GUI 
interface. Or, add customization using Java, third party programs, and the 
extensive, robust JExpress Professional API.
License Commercial, Costs from $200
HomePage http://www.denova.com/
Latest Version Unknown
Last Update 2004
Bundles JRE Optional

Caphyon Advanced Installer
Advanced Installer is a Windows Installer authoring tool which enables 
developers and system administrators to easily build reliable MSI packages 
that meet the latest Microsoft Windows logo certification requirements and 
follow the recommended Windows Installer best practices.
License Commercial, Costs from $200
HomePage http://www.advancedinstaller.com/
Latest Version Unknown
Last Update Recent
Bundles JRE Optional

No Obvious Recent Changes (in last 2 years)

FiJI is a Free Java Installer released under GPL. It enables you to 
distribute your applications with easy installation : the user doesn't have 
to edit lauching scripts (to modify a CLASSPATH for instance).
License GNU General Public License (GPL)
HomePage http://www.xenonsoft.demon.co.uk/products/freeinstaller/index.html
Latest Version 1.0.1
Last Update Jan 2003

FreeInstaller is an Open Source installer program written in Java. It has a 
self extracting class file, is able to install Java and non-Java software on 
UNIX, LINUX and Windows NT.
License Other
HomePage http://www.xenonsoft.demon.co.uk/products/freeinstaller/index.html
Latest Version 2.0.4
Last Update April 1999

Lift Off Java Installer
Lift Off Java Installer is an installer for Java applications. Highlights 
are self-extracting class files, minimal requirements for the Java 
installation on the target system, and cross platform installation.
License GNU General Public License (GPL)
HomePage http://liftoff.sourceforge.net/index.en.html
Latest Version 0.2.2
Last Update March 2000

Mini Installer
A simple package to build self installating programs in Java. The process is 
script driven, the result is a unique JAR file that the user can double 
click to execute a wizard-like installation process.
License GNU General Public License (GPL)
HomePage http://www.yagga.net/java/miniinstaller/index.shtml
Latest Version 1.0.1
Last Update Aug 2002

Packlet is a simple installer tool for Java. A packlet is similar to a zip 
or tgz file: it packages an application into a single compressed file that 
can be distributed. Packlet files are Java class files that can be executed 
on any machine with Java 2 Runtime Environment installed. Executing a 
packlet brings up an installer gui to configure and unpack the application.
License GNU Library or Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
HomePage http://packlet.sourceforge.net/
Latest Version Unknown
Last Update Sep 2002

A small, simple, pure-Java installer.
License GNU General Public License (GPL)
HomePage http://www.toolshed.com/downloads.html
Latest Version Unknown
Last Update May 2002

VAInstall is a multi-platform installer written in Java. It is distributed 
under the GNU GPL License 2. Through a simple config file, it allows the 
packager to pick files and directories from various places on disk, and not 
only one root dir like other installers. The packager can completely 
reorganize the files and dirs on the destination host. He can choose the 
install mode for the destination host (graphic, xtra, text or ansi).
License GPL version 2
HomePage http://vainstall.sourceforge.net/
Latest Version 0.20
Last Update 2001
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