[izpack-users] Minor nits and suggestions

Christopher Brooks cxh at eecs.berkeley.edu
Sat Sep 9 21:26:48 CEST 2006

IzPack seems very slick.  I'm glad to have found it.

Several years ago I used the multiplatform version of InstallShield,
which I found to be lacking, see my notes at

I then switched to ZeroG's InstallAnywhere, which seemed
ok, but was fairly expensive.  When Macrovision bought
ZeroG, I decided to switch.  I felt that the open source
project I work on (Ptolemy II, http://ptolemy.eecs.berkeley.edu/ptolemyII)
did not need to be supporting a very closed source company
like Macrovision.

Anyway, I'm part way through setting up an installer,
below are some very minor comments about IzPack.  All
and all, I'm very happy with IzPack.  It certainly took
less work to set up than either multiplatform
InstallShield or InstallAnywhere.  In both cases I
had to contact support and find out about bug
workarounds and poorly document features.

These notes are for IzPack 3.9.0-M1, from September 9, 2006.

     * IzPack should be easier to use with a custom JRE. The IzPack
       native launcher will allow me to invoke the JRE installer, but
       I want to use a JRE that is in the current directory. The
       IzPack wiki
       (see also Notes about IzPack Launcher and possible
       describe using Launch4j.  I ended up using Launch4j to create a
       .exe that invokes the jar file created by IzPack. I also used
       Launch4j to create my .exe files that are added to the Start

     * There should be an easy way to ask the user if they want to
       invoke a binary after the installation is complete.

     * I'd like to add a message to the TargetPanel that describes why
       the default location in C:/Program Files won't work.

     * In HTMLInfoPanel, the packing seems to change depending on my
       html file. Sometimes the pane that displays the HTML does not
       fill the width of the screen. It seem like using style sheets
       causes problems here.

     * I'd like there to be a JREPathPanel that is like the
       JDKPathPanel.  In one of the installers, I provide a custom JRE
       that includes JAI, Java 3D, Joystick JMF, JavaComm, and
       X10. I'd like to give the user the opportunity to use the
       custom JRE, or to choose their own JRE or JDK.

     * It would be nice if there was a way for the installer to unjar
       files on command. I provide source in a jar file, if the user
       chooses to install the sources, then that file should be
       uninstalled. The reason I use a jar file is because it makes it
       easier (faster) to build installers - my sources are a few
       thousand files, it is faster to copy one file around at
       installer build time than it is to copy lots of files.

     * The IzPack Developer's page
       (http://www.izforge.com/izpack/developers) should state clearly how to build.
       Yah, I know, if you don't know svn, you probably can't devel, but
       I find quick instructions useful. The instructions should point to
       an online copy of the most recent Eclipse instructions. I found
       the TeX docs, but is there an online version of the manual?
       There should also be a link to How to build the native
       launcher (http://www.izforge.com/izpack/wiki/building_native_launcher_

Below are my partial notes about building sources

Building IzPack 
         1. Download from the trunk
svn co http://svn.berlios.de/svnroot/repos/izpack/izpack-src/trunk

         2. I followed the Eclipse instructions from the IzPack 3.9.0-M1
            release. One change was that when setting up the debug, I used

            c:\cxh\ptII\adm\gen-6.0\ptII6_0-devel_setup.xml \
            -b c:\cxh\ptII\adm\gen-6.0 \
            -h c:\cxh\src\izpack\trunk


                      My IzPack configuration file, usually called

              -b c:\cxh\ptII\adm\gen-6.0
                      The base for my build

              -h c:\cxh\src\izpack\trunk
                      The IzPack source directory.

         3. Problems while building:

              No valid IzPack home directory found
                      Building in Eclipse fails with:

-> Fatal error :
   No valid IzPack home directory found
java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: No valid IzPack home directory found
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.resolveIzPackHome(Compile
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.main(CompilerConfig.java:
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.Compiler.main(Compiler.java:622)

                      The solution is to copy ShellLink.dll

cp c:/Pro*/izpack/bin/native/izpack/ShellLink.dll izpack

              Uninstaller not found:
                      Building in Eclipse fails with:

-> Fatal error :
   c:\cxh\ptII\adm\gen-6.0\ptII6_0_devel_setup.xml:18: Uninstaller not found: c
com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerException: c:\cxh\ptII\adm\gen-6.0\ptII6_0_
devel_setup.xml:18: Uninstaller not found: c:\cxh\src\izpack\trunk\lib\uninstal
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.parseError(CompilerConfig
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.findIzPackResource(Compil
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.addInfo(CompilerConfig.ja
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.executeCompiler(CompilerC
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.CompilerConfig.main(CompilerConfig.java:
        at com.izforge.izpack.compiler.Compiler.main(Compiler.java:622)

            Solution, use ant:

		      cd trunk/src
		      ant dist

            I'm not sure how to do this from Eclipse. Eclipse can run ant
            but the setup instructions have us include files from
            src/lib, not src.


Christopher Brooks (cxh at eecs berkeley edu) University of California
Programmer/Analyst Chess/Ptolemy/Trust        US Mail: 558 Cory Hall #1774
ph: 510.643.9841 fax:510.642.2718	      Berkeley, CA 94720-1774
home: (F-Tu) 707.665.0131 (W-F) 510.655.5480  (office: 400A Cory)

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