I've been for some time now seeing much interest in a web page
installer for the SIP Communicator. This is of course quite natural
since web integration has always been a part of the java promise.
Pre1.0 releases of the sip-communicator included a web-start installer
which had (as all things) its pros and cons. Some of the most prominent are:
* Handles many delicate aspects of the installation process (e.g.
download, download UI, local storage, change detection, security, )
* Since 1.4.1 - included in all java distributions
* Handles (to some extent) native libs
* Centralized management of installed packages
* Requires a 1.4.1 installation present on the client machine - this
means that ( apart from Mac OS X) users people would need to download
and install the JRE themselves and this pretty much kills all the
benefits of a web page installer.
* Doesn't handle native lib dependencies and thus complicates JMF
* The installed package management is separated from the OS installation
Because of all the cons we believe that webstart is not reliable enough
in order to remain a major distribution source for the SIP Communicator
and we (the current developer team) are planning to focus our efforts on
maintaining IzPack ( http://izforge.com/izpack ) native installers and
eventually (depending on volunteers) a few platform specific package
systems such as ipkg, rpm, msi and whatever gets contributed.
Upgrades are to be handled by OBR (the Oscar Bundle Repository) and
callto:// and sip:// links could be dealt with by simply registering an
application handler in web-browsers.
It is true, though, that the idea of a (well oiled) web-page installer
remains unbeatable as far as ease of use is concerned so it would be a
good idea to have one. There are numerous ways of handling the Cons list
that I gave above. I believe InstallAnywhere offer web installers that
only require 1.1 for example (which is present in virtually all browsers
today). Apart from the application itself these installers would
download and install the JRE you need.
So what I am thinking of is combining the izpack installers with a thin
webpage layer that would handle the installation of a JRE if needed.
IzPack already has a similar layer for dealing with native installers.
The problem is that I personally (correct me if wrong) don't believe any
of the people currently contributing code would be able to take up that
one in the 4 or 5 months to follow, so :
Are there any takers that would be willing to contribute work on such a