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Vamp Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q: Why are there so few answers?

Well, I only post answers to question I get asked. If you want an answer to a question please post your question at the discussion forum and I will answer it. Access is open to everyone.

Q: What is Java Web Start? What is JNLP?

Java Web Start allows you to launch full-featured desktop applications with a single click from your Web browser. You can find more information about Java Web Start at Sun's Web Site.

Here are some links to get started:

Q: What is XUL? What is Luxor?

XUL stands for XML User Interface Language and was pioneered by Mozilla. XUL is superior to API-based GUI toolkits such as Swing or WinForms because it clearly separates the user interface into four parts:

  • content (structure and description of UI elements),
  • appearance (look&feel, skin, themes),
  • behavior and
  • locale (localization information for internationalization)

Content is best described in XUL as the following short example illustrates.

XUL version:

<menuitem action="newApplication" label="New Application..."
   mnemonic="A" accel="control A" icon="newApplication" />

Java version:

JMenuItem mi = new JMenuItem( "New Application..." );
mi.addActionListener( cmdNewApplication );
mi.setMnemonic( 'A' );
mi.setAccelearator( KeyStroke.getKeystroke( "control A" ) );
mi.setIcon( new ImageIcon( "images/newApplication.gif" ) );

XUL makes UI building easier because it is far simpler than hard-wiring it in Java. XUL also frees you from the Swing toolkit lock-in because it is fairly easy to create a new rendering engine using a different toolkit such as KDE, Gnome, WinForms or Mozilla XUL. An excellent introduction can be found at third-party link.

Luxor is an open-source XUL toolkit in Java on which Venus Application Publisher is built. Luxor currently uses the Swing toolkit to render the user interface. I'm considering replacing Swing by embedding Mozilla based on work done for Project Blackwood third-party link.

Luxor is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and hosted at third-party link. To find out more about Luxor check out my JUG talk slides entitled Beyond HTML and Swing: Building Rich, Cross-Platform, Zero-Admin Desktop Apps On Open Standards Today.

To find out more about XUL here are some links to get started:


Q: I have downloaded vamp-installer.jar. What now?

Note, that you can launch Venus Application Publisher directly from the web here download link.

To launch Venus Application Publisher offline you need to download the installer to your hard disk first. The installer is packaged as a single, self-contained jar named vamp-installer.jar. Once you have downloaded vamp-installer.jar, you need to run the installer by typing:

java -jar vamp-installer.jar


java -cp vamp-installer.jar venus.installer.Tool

After a couple of seconds the installer's main screen should pop up. Press "Install" to launch Venus Application Publisher using Web Start.


Do not unjar vamp-installer.jar. Venus Application Publisher will be served up through the installer's built-in web server and launched using Java Web Start.

Q: Java WebStart returns a Bad MIME type error when I try to install Venus Application Publisher. What's wrong?

This error is very likely caused by your proxy configuration and is a known Web Start issue (see Web Start's FAQ entry "I cannot seem to access my local system as "localhost" to download resources?" third-party link).

Vamp's CD installer has a built-in web server and the CD installer sends a request to your browser to start the installation. Your browser forwards the request to Web Start, the registered helper application for jnlp. As a consequence you have to check your proxy configuration for both, your browser and Web Start. Make sure localhost is listed as a non-proxy host. If localhost is not listed as a non-proxy host, the request for http://localhost:5151/venus.jnlp will fail and cause a Bad MIME type error in Java WebStart as the proxy won't find http://localhost:5151/venus.jnlp on the Internet and will instead send back an error page either in HTML or plain text.

If you have no proxy settings, than it is very likely that your TCP stack cannot resolve localhost. You can use telnet to check if you can connect to localhost on port 5151 where the installer's web server is listening for requests. Once you are connected type in the following HTTP request to check if everything is allright:

GET /venus.jnlp HTTP/1.0

You should get the following response back from the installer's web server:

HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Date: Wed Jul 18 19:57:33 CDT 2001
Server: Venus Light-Weight HTTP Server Beta 2 (Unregistered)
Content-length: 1183
Content-type: application/x-java-jnlp-file

<jnlp ...>

If your TCP stack cannot resolve localhost, check your host file and add the following entry if it isn't already there:


If all fails, you can unjar the vamp-installer.jar and throw out all .class files. Then change the codebase in venus.jnlp to file:///<installdir> (e.g. file:///c:/java/vamp/b3) and you are ready to run.


Q: Signing of Jars doesn't seem to work, does it?

Venus Application Publisher (Vamp) doesn't sign your original Java Archives, instead Vamp will copy your Java Archives to a temporary location and sign them before packing them in a Web Archive or serving them up through the internal web-server for a test launch.

Note, that Java Archives are only signed if you select 'All Permissions' as your security setting.

Customization - Have It Your Way

Q: Where do I find my Venus Application Publisher profile (profile.xml)?

You can find your profile at <user.home>/.venus/profile.xml (e.g. c:/windows/.venus/profile.xml). The profile is created when you exit Venus Application Publisher for the first time. From then on Venus Application Publisher will update your profile on exit.

It is safe to delete your profile if you got sick of of your personal settings and history entries and you want to purge your profile.

Note, that some command line tools and Ant tasks also use your profile. However, they only read your profile and, therefore, they will never update or change it as this privilege is reserved only for you.

Q: Can I use a different Look and Feel, Theme or Skin?

Venus Application Publisher has built-in support for Skin L&F third-party link, Kunststoff L&F third-party link and and ships with the following Skin L&F themes: Aqua (OS X), BeOS, MacOS, Modern (Mozilla), Whistler (2000) and Luna (XP). Venus Application Publisher also allows you to use your own themes or to change built-in themes.

To change the look and feel of Venus Application Publisher open Vamp's profile file with your text editor of choice (such as notepad, emacs, vi, etc.). You can find Vamp's profile file at <user.home>/.venus/profile.xml. Add the following properties to profile.xml to tell Venus Application Publisher to use Skin Look and Feel and your theme of choice:

<property name="ui-look-and-feel" value="skin"/>
<property name="ui-look-and-feel-skin-theme" value="modern"/>

You can choose from the follwing built-in themes:

  • modern
  • aqua
  • beos
  • macos
  • default
  • whistler
  • luna

To choose a theme change the existing ui-look-and-feel-skin-theme property or if it doesn't exisit create a new one.


<property name="ui-look-and-feel-skin-theme" value="aqua"/>

In case you want to switch back to Sun's Java look and feel (aka Metal) or to your computer's native look and feel or another look and feel set the ui-look-and-feel property to one of the following values:

  • native
  • java
  • skin
  • kunststoff
  • oyoaha


<property name="ui-look-and-feel" value="native"/>

Vamp's built-in Java (aka Metal) look and feel themes include:

  • rose (Rose)
  • lime (Lime)
  • primary (Primary Colors)
  • bigfont (Big Fonts)
  • blue (Blue)
  • brown (Brown)
  • charcoal (Charcoal)
  • darkblue (Dark Blue)
  • darkbrown (Dark Brown)
  • darkgreen2 (Dark Green 2)
  • emerald (Emerald)
  • fusia (Fusia)
  • fusia2 (Fusia 2)
  • green (Green)
  • green2 (Green 2)
  • hardblue (Hard Blue)
  • hardgreen (Hard Green)
  • hardpurple (Hard Purple)
  • hardred (Hard Red)
  • hardyellow (Hard Yellow)
  • oxide (Oxide)
  • red (Red)
  • ruby (Ruby)
  • sable (Sable)
  • sandstone (Sandstone)
  • softblue (Soft Blue)
  • softgreen (Soft Green)
  • softpurple (Soft Purple)
  • softred (Soft Red)
  • softyellow (Soft Yellow)

Example: To switch to Java's Sandstone Theme use the code snippet below.

<property name="ui-look-and-feel" value="java"/>
<property name="ui-look-and-feel-java-theme" value="sandstone"/>

To see screenshoots of different themes applied to Venus Application Publisher check out the Theme Gallery.

Q: How do I change the default remote application URL for the Open URL page?

Add the following property to your profile (profile.xml) and change the value attribute to whatever URL you like to show up in the Open URL page:

<property name="remote-app-url" value="">

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Send your comments, suggestions or praise to Copyright © 2001, 2002 Gerald Bauer