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Venus Application Publisher CD Installer

CD Installer Mission

The mission is to create a free CD installer that allows you to package everything you need into one single package that can be installed silently without an Internet connection or that can be installed through a single click on a hyperlink in an offline Web browser.

The CD installer will install Java WebStart or a Java Runtime Environment if necessary, inject your application into Java WebStart's cache and add shortcuts for your application if so desired. The CD installer will preserve whatever codebase you choose so that future upgrades of your application go through smoothly.

To make the challenge more interesting the CD installer should be cross-platform and available at least for Windows and Linux.

Architecture - Yes, I have a plan

Vamp's CD installer will be based on Ant. Ant is the world's best Java based build tool and Ant is also the ideal choice for a cross-platform installation script engine. Here are some reasons why:

  • Ant is cross-platform because it is built in Java and uses XML for its scripts.
  • Ant is open-source and available for free under an Apache license.
  • Ant is extensible. New tasks can be easily added to the already vast collection of built-in and optional tasks.
  • Ant is embeddable and GUI-less. It is easy to add Ant to your application.
  • Ant is supported by bright minds and is getting even better than it is already.

What is missing?

A Java application will embed Ant and control the installation script execution. A tiny native executable will wrap the Java application and take care of launching the Java application.

A suite of Ant tasks is needed that allows you to script Venus Application Publisher in XML to let you, for example, silently inject your application into the Java Web Start cache. Additional tasks are needed that allow you to create shortcuts or that allow you to create Windows Registry entries. However, most of the tasks should be already in place as Ant has a vast collection of cross-platform built-in and optional tasks.

The browser integration needs some more thought and can be taken care of once the installer is ready.


Open Source Projects

JavaWebStart User Experience in the Real World

  • OpenCola SwarmCast (Java p2p client application delivered to your desktop using JavaWebStart; JRE and JavaWebStart will be installed if necessary) -
What do you think?

You are welcome to send me your comments. Send your email to

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