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Create Free, High-Speed, No-Java, Offline Installers for Web Start under Windows

Introduction

Delight your customers with a professional, high-speed installation that allows follow-up online upgrades. Use Nullsoft's Installer third-party link and Venus Application Publisher's (Vamp) Celia to create free, high-speed, self-contained single .exe, 100 % no java, offline installers for Web Start.

Your offline installer

  • automatically detects Web Start's cache directory using Windows registry entries,
  • installs as many apps as you want at once,
  • adds Windows startup menu or desktop shortcuts,
  • preserves your codebase for follow-up online upgrades,
  • skips Web Start's certificate confirmation popup and shortcut prompt,
  • and more.
First Impression

Startup Popup - Confirm Web Start Cache Directory

Startup Popup

Two seconds later. That's it. No big blue screen.

Installation Complete

All your apps ready for startup and follow-up upgrades.

Startup Menu
Roll Your Own

To create your very own offline Nullsoft SuperPiMP(TM) Windows installer

  1. add all jars plus jnlp files and icons in a single jar
  2. use Vamp Celia to create Web Start cache entries
  3. add Web Start cache entries to Nullsoft installer script
  4. add Windows startup menu entries to Nullsoft installer script
  5. compile Nullsoft installer script.

The following real-world example squeezes five Web Start apps into one Nullsoft Windows installer. You can disect vamp-win-x86-installer.exe download link for the gory details or kick start it at your very own desktop to experience a first-class Web Start installation in your own home today.

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 in a single jar. Use WinZip or whatever zip tool you prefer. Example:

Vamp Client Archive

Note, that all your hrefs in your jnlp startup files 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 installer. Celia allows you to use whatever cache root directory you want. The command line below tells Celia to store all cache entries in c:/prg/nsis/scripts/vamp/cache

java -cp vamp.jar vamp -d c:/prg/nsis/scripts/vamp/cache -i vamp.car

Web Start compatible Directory structure after running Celia:

Cache Dir Structure

Web Start compatible cache entries after running Celia:

Cache Entries Cache Entries Part 2

Step 3: Add cache entries to Nullsoft installer script

Add all cache entries created by Celia to your Nullsoft installer script. Example:

; The stuff to install
Section "Install"

  ; Set output path to the installation directory.
  SetOutPath $INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp

  ; Put file there
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ACalice.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ALalice.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMalice.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ATalice.jnlp"

  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ACclare.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ALclare.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMclare.jnlp"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\ATclare.jnlp"

  ...

  SetOutPath $INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib

  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RCactivation-1.01.jar"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RMactivation-1.01.jar"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RTactivation-1.01.jar"

  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RCbcel.jar"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RMbcel.jar"
  File "cache\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\DMlib\RTbcel.jar"

  ...
SectionEnd ; end the section

You can look at the complete, real-world installer script here.

Step 4: Add Windows Startup Menu Shortcuts

To spice up your installer add Windows startup menu shortcuts and present them to your user to pick and choose.

Section "Start Menu"
  SetOutPath "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher"

  ReadRegStr $0 HKLM "SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Web Start" Home 


  Delete "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Venus Application Publisher Headquaters.lnk"
  WriteINIStr "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Venus Application Publisher Headquaters.url" \
              "InternetShortcut" "URL" "http://www.vamphq.com/"

  CreateShortCut "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Vamp Studio.lnk" \
                 "$0\javaws.exe" "$INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMvenus.jnlp"
  CreateShortCut "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Alice - App Central.lnk" \
                 "$0\javaws.exe" "$INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMalice.jnlp"
  CreateShortCut "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Clare - Cache Explorer.lnk" \
                 "$0\javaws.exe" "$INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMclare.jnlp"
  CreateShortCut "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Hazel - JNLP To HTML Converter.lnk" \
                 "$0\javaws.exe" "$INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMhazel.jnlp"
  CreateShortCut "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher\Pam - Package Manager.lnk" \
                 "$0\javaws.exe" "$INSTDIR\http\Dwww.jenomics.de\P80\DMvamp\AMpam.jnlp"
http://www.vamphq.com/SectionEnd

Section -post

  SetOutPath $INSTDIR

  IfFileExists "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher" "" nofunshit
    ExecShell open "$SMPROGRAMS\Venus Application Publisher"
   Sleep 500
   BringToFront
  nofunshit:

SectionEnd

Step 5: Compile Nullsoft installer script

Right-click on your installer script and hit Compile NSI. That's it. Test drive your masterpiece.

Resources

Nullsoft Installer

Venus Application Publisher (Vamp) Celia - Cache Utitlity for Web Start


All the tools to deliver rich, cross-plattform, zero-admin desktop apps built on open standards today
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