Jump to: navigation, search

Purpose: Discuss the shortcomings of the Webstart launch mechanism and identify desires and a new mechanism.

Audience: Autoplot developers, data providers and interested end-users.


  1. Webstart
  2. Requirements
  3. See Also
  4. Experiments with Install4j
    1. Notes
  5. Alternative Launchers
    1. Command line launching

1. Webstart

Webstart is a mechanism provided by Oracle as a simple means of sending applications out to end-users. A short XML file is sent to the user with the .jnlp (x-application/jnlp mime) that is handed off to Java which starts up with the given configuration. We've discovered it's fairly easy to have it to send out initial configurations to end-users, but we have also found a variety of annoyances. Some customers have been completely unable to use it, and use the signal-jar (jumbojar) release mechanism.

2. Requirements

  • Support commonly-used Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms.
  • Provide quick initial startup (<30 seconds on a reasonably fast network), and fast repeated startup (<3 seconds).
  • Launch into initial URI or .vap file from web sites.
  • Continue to support WebStart updates.
  • Something that works 100% of the time for new Mac, Windows, and Linux users. This means a native installer bundled with a JRE.
  • Something that allows Mac and Windows users to use Webstart to get most recent version after initial install (when they used native installer).
  • Allow control of JVM memory. For example on 8GB machine, Autoplot should be allowed up to 4GB.

3. See Also

4. Experiments with Install4j

Reza at GMU has been experimenting with Install4j.

4.1. Notes

  • JVM size? It gets 3.5G on my Linux machine, which is great, but is this something we have control of?
  • The software seems a little sloppy about permissions. Like it offers to put links in /usr/local, but then doesn't tell me when it fails.
  • Seems to be hanging on Windows XP. This could have been because it's installing a new one, but it should tell me if it is slow. Worked fine the second time I tried. Hangs when launched from Start menu.
  • "AutoPlot" needs to be "Autoplot".
  • I was seeing where it would drop back to v2012b_30 from v2013a_1.
  • Needs more testing on various platforms...
  • default extensions should not include non-files, like das2server or cdaweb.

5. Alternative Launchers

5.1. Command line launching

  • Download the jar file let $JAR="C:\Program Files\autoplot\autoplot.jar"
  • Identify java location, call this $JAVA, for this example, let $JAVA="C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\bin\java.exe"
  • Starting from the command line
    • $JAVA -Xms2000M -cp $JAR org.virbo.autoplot.AutoplotUI
  • The above should start without native Java support.
  • To add native support:
    • Identify the JVM bit size (32 or 64): "$JAVA -version" yeilds "...Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM ..." so this is a 64 bit JVM.
    • contains all the CDF binaries, for example the Windows/64bit is
    • download the file to "C:\Program Files\autoplot\nativeCdfLibs.jar"
    • unzip the file (jars are zip files): "$JAR xvf nativeCdfLibs.jar" where $JAR is the jar command found next to $JAVA (unzip will work as well).
    • $JAVA -Djava.library.path="C:\Program Files\autoplot\" -Xms2000M -cp $JAR org.virbo.autoplot.AutoplotUI
  • Note in Windows a shortcut to this command ($JAVA -Xms2000M -cp $JAR org.virbo.autoplot.AutoplotUI) will make a useful desktop launcher.
Personal tools