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Got Installers?

Posted by daniel on September 23, 2003 at 8:36 AM PDT

After you finish writing your Java desktop application and QA it and polish it up - how do you deploy it? In some ways that depends on your audience. If you are targeting fellow geeks then maybe a jar file or a directory with an Ant build.xml file is enough.

In his Weblog entry Bandwidth, Installers and Schema Updates , Will Iverson responds to recent feedback an article generated - in particular the "we don't need an installer" feedback. He writes

Looking at a bunch of the software I've got, open source, Java, and otherwise, it's intriguing to see how much (especially open source stuff) has no installer and/or a truly miserable installation processs. I'm trying to figure out how common this attitude is among Java developers. Do people really not think that software needs installers? (As an aside, I will confess that I use a lot of development tools, which seem to suffer from this attitude more than other software).

So, I'll get up on my soapbox. People need good software that's both easy to use and easy to install. Developers appreciate the time and investment as well. I've given up on trying out a number of potentially interesting packages based on the incredibly cumbersome installation requirements.

In Philip Brittan's weblog entry Microsoft and Web Services , Brittan stresses "Web Services and .NET are two very distinct things. Web Services is an open standard for programs to exchange data over a network. .NET is Microsoft's proprietary application development and deployment framework that happens to use Web Services as part of its approach. IBM can support the former without supporting the latter."

Brittan suspects "that Microsoft's peculiar interest in Web Services is a way to leverage the existing base of J2EE installations in the market without having to do anything specific to support J2EE". Brittan sees Web Services as phase 1 in Microsoft's plan and the head-to-head competition of .Net with J2EE as phase 2.

In Also in Java Today we link to Will Iverson's original ONJava article that started the discussion. In Create Desktop Applications with Java-Based Web Technologies Will argues that a typical user expects to run an installer, run the application, and start playing around. There should be no time spent to install and configure a webserver, database, or your web application. He then takes you through an example of how this is done.

We also link to an eWeek interview with Sun executive vice president for software. In Sun's Schwartz Speaks Out on Linux, SCO interviewer Peter Galli asks about Sun's Linux strategy. Schwartz answers, "let me really clear about our Linux strategy. We don't have one. We don't at all."

Today in Projects and Communities, you are invited to contribute to the JavaPedia page on Example Applications. If you have a favorite example that targets developers as the primary audience, add it to the list. The September issue of the NetBeans community newsletter ( Sprout ) has been posted. Check out the latest on localization plans and on the new Clover NetBeans module.

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