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Jess - Vamp's Self-Executing Jar CD App Installer for Web Start

Download Jess Now download link


What is Jess?

Jess is Vamp's Self-Executing, Single-Jar CD App Installer for Web Start. Your Jess offline installer

  • installs as many apps as you want at once
  • preserves your codebase for follow-up online upgrades
  • skips Web Start's certificate confirmation popup
  • and more

Jess is designed as a small self-contained Java app with no third-party library dependencies such as SAX 1 or 2 compliant XML parsers. Jess uses Java's standard Zip library to extract your app into Web Start's cache and adds less than 100 k to your Jar.

First Impression

To start a Jess offline installer click on it or type

java -jar jdiskreport-installer.jar 

The welcome screen below will pop up that lets you choose your Web Start cache directory.

Jess First Impression

Once you hit install. Jess will add all your apps to Web Start's cache.

Jess Completed

Roll Your Own

To create your own offline single-jar self-executing Jess installer

  1. add all jars plus jnlp files and icons in a single jar (aka client archive)
  2. use Vamp Celia to create Web Start cache entries
  3. add Web Start cache entries to Jess jar
  4. add zipper.properties

The following real-world example squeezes Karsten Lentzsch's jDiskReport Web Start app into a single, self-executing Jar.

Step 1: Add all jars plus jnlp files and icons in a single jar

Create a client archive (.car), that is, add all your app's jars plus jnlp startup files and icons to a single jar. Use WinZip or whatever zip tool you prefer. Example:

jDiskReport car

Note, that all your hrefs in your jnlp startup file must be relative to your codebase.

Step 2: Use Vamp Celia to create Web Start cache entries

Celia reads client archives (.car) and creates Web Start compatible cache entries that you can pack-up in your Jess installer. Celia allows you to use whatever cache root directory you want. The command line below tells Celia to store all cache entries for jDiskReport in c:/temp/jdiskreport/cache.

java -cp vamp.jar vamp -d c:/temp/jdiskreport/cache -i jdiskreport.car

Celia will create the Web Start compatible directory structure and cache entries below:

Cache Directory Structure Cache Entries

Step 3: Add all cache entries to Jess installer

Make a copy of jess.jar and name it jpath-installer.jar to let it reflect its new purpose. Add all cache entries to jpath-installer.jar using WinZip or whatever zip tool you prefer.

Step 4: Add zipper.properties

Jess needs an extra zipper.properties file in addition to your app's Web Start cache entries. You can adjust the following properties in zipper.properties to your liking:

Key Description Required
name The application's name such as 'jDiskReport'. Required
caption Sets what the titlebar of the installer will display. By default, it's '<name> Installer'. Optional
dirtext Specifies a string that is above the directory selection area. By default, it's 'This will install <name> into your Web Start cache.'. Optional
dirsubtext Overrides the string that is above the path entry box. By default, it's 'Select Web Start cache directory:'. Optional
subcaption.0 Overrides the subcaption for the Web Start cache directory selection page. By default, it's ': Web Start Cache Directory'. Optional
subcaption.1 Overrides the subcaption for the progress page. By default, it's ': Completed'. Optional

Example zipper.properties:

; The name of the installer
name=jDiskReport
caption=jDiskReport Installer

; The text to prompt the user to enter a directory
dirtext=This will install jDiskReport 1.0 into your Web Start cache.

; dirsubtext=Select Web Start Cache directory:
; subcaption.0=: Web Start Cache Directory
; subcaption.1=: Completed

Note, that zipper.properties must always be in the root directory.

That's it. Now you can test drive your own self-executing, single-jar Jess installer. Click on it or type java -jar jpath-installer.jar.

Limitations

Jess is a 100 % Java self-executing installer and, therefore, requires a Java runtime. If you want to add Windows shortcuts or startup menu entries or if you don't want to rely on a proper setup Java runtime, you can use Nullsoft's Installer and Vamp Celia to create single .exe, 100 % no Java, offline installers for Web Start. See How To Create Free, High-Speed, No-Java, Offline Installers for Web Start under Windows for details.

Jess relies on Celia to create Web Start compatible cache entries. See Celia - Venus Application Publisher Cache Utitility for Java Web Start for Celia's limitations.


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