[izpack-devel] New features

Marek Budyn rayn at infostrade.com.pl
Wed Sep 20 23:44:12 CEST 2006

Hello All!

First of all I am quite new to the izPack and this list so I am sorry if I break any rules on this list.
As I have seen that nobody is looking at the 'new features' section on the berlios service, I would like to
repeat my few feature requests I have found diring evaluation of the software.
In my opinion this is a really cool piece of software that helps me much
in packagin my JAVA application.
It is extreamly easy to use and I am very glad that I found it on the web.
However I have found several things that are REALLY anoying and pushes me
to write almost any wizard page myself.
I think some of them might be included in the next release as they do no
require a lot of work (I think).

Of course many of these issues might be currently available, but I could
not find any solution for them in the manual.

1) Common resources.
As the resources are common, e.g. InfoPanel text I was unable to put
several info pages in the one installation wizard.
This is because this page uses predefined resource name that is built on
the panel name.
I would suggest to allow by-panel resources, e.g. instead of writing:

		<res id="LicencePanel.licence" src="doc/license.txt"/>
		<panel classname="InfoPanel"/>

One could write
		<panel classname="InfoPanel">
			<res id="LicencePanel.licence" src="doc/license.txt"/>

This would allow to have several info panels in one wizard.
The other possibility if to build resource name based on the id e.g.
InfoPanel would first trry to read
[id].InfoPanel.info and if this one is not available then InfoPanel.info

2) Resources as strings
Sometimes resource value is a single line of text. e.g. in case of path
etc. Currently one have to create a
separate file for this only string. It would be a great thing if one could
specify resource as
	<res id="..." value="This is a preoprty value"/>
The compiler during file analysis could create a file with this string and
replace "value" to regular "src" attribute.

3) Customization of panel list.
Customization of panel list is realy required when installing components
that require additional tasks.
For example selecting a pack called 'A' requires showing additional panel
that comiles sources for 'A' pack
or additional user input for postinstall scripts for this package.
If this pack is not selected, showing the compilation panel and/or user
input has no sense.
I would change the <panel> tag syntax to support additional attributes like:
	<panel classname="InfoPanel" depends="pack" name="MyPack-A"/>
	<panel classname="InfoPanel" depends="variable" name="some-variable-name" value="required value"/>
or something like that.

4) Tree-like structure in packs choose panel.
It would be a nice, but not critical thing if one could create a tree-like
structure while selecting packages to install.
E.g. Application would be the main chouces, and then choice 'plugins'
which user could select to include all plugins,
or select individual plugins in the 'plugins' category. To be clear, this
only a user interface feature and would not affect
any other part of the installer. Pack names that countain e.g. / would be
splitted to apropriate 'directories'.

I have looked into code a bit and I think that these issues are not realy
breaking current architecture of IzPack.
Implementing these features would increase functionality dramatically and
will allow creation of really complicated and more user friendly installers in future.

Best Regards

Marek Budyn

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