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Compiling Using Maven

To compile izpack using Maven, use the izpack-maven-plugin. There is good documentation at the izpack-maven-plugin page, but this page will describe how to use the most recent izpack plugin (5.0.0-rc1 at the time of this writing).

I'll assume you have some custom izpack panels, but if you don't, you can omit some of the steps that we go over here:

Using Custom Panels

If you have custom panels, you'll want to put them in their own Maven module. This module should be a standard Maven project, but you should include izpack as a provided dependency:

We use scope = provided because we only need Maven to use the izpack dependency at compile time. In this project, you can create your custom IzPack panels. Be sure that the Java package names that contain your custom IzPack panels begin with "com", "net", or "org", or else they will not be able to be loaded by your IzPack installer.

Creating the IzPack Installer Module

Now, create a separate Maven module that will produce your izpack installer.

The basic strategy we'll use is this:

  1. We'll configure our Maven pom to create a "staging" area that will contain our izpack descriptor and all of our installer resources, including the jars that we want to package in our installer. 
    1. We will use the Maven maven-antrun-plugin to copy our izpack descriptor file and resources into this "staging" area. 
    2. We'll use the maven-dependency-plugin to copy the jar with our custom panels, and any other jar dependencies that we want in our installer. We'll configure two different "executions" of the maven-dependency-plugin; we'll have this plugin copy our application jars into one location, and the custom panel jars into a separate location.
  2. We'll then configure the izpack-maven-plugin to point it to our staging area and our installer descriptor.
Ok, let's get started.
Create Some Helpful Properties
We'll be referencing the staging area location a few times in the pom, so let's configure it as a pom property to make things clearer. Let's also configure the izpack version we're using, which we'll want to reference in a few places in the pom, as well. Put this under the root element of your pom file:

Notes:

  • ${project.build.directory} typically references the compilation ./target/ directory of your module
  • Properties from your Maven project compiling the IzPack project can be directly references in the install.xml using the property name enclosed in '@{' and '}' , for example:
    <jar src="@{izpack.staging}/lib/appcore.jar"/>
    This applies just on properties defined in the calling project, not for properties seen in the calling project.
Add Your Dependencies

We'll want to add at least two dependencies–one will be the dependency that contains your custom panel, the other(s) will be the dependency that contains your actual Java application. My dependencies look like this:

Configure the maven-antrun-plugin

We'll use the maven-antrun-plugin to copy our installer descriptor and installer resources (images, text files, etc.) into our "staging" area.

Put your installer descriptor and resources underneath src/izpack in your module. In your pom's <build> section, configure maven-antrun-plugin to copy this entire directory to our staging area:

Configure the maven-dependency-plugin

We'll configure the maven-depenency-plugin to copy both our application jars and the jar with our custom panel. Here's how it looks (see the inline XML comments for more details):

Some key points:

  • The first execution section configures copying our application jars to the lib/ directory under our staging directory (i.e., target/staging/lib). Note that we have to explicitly exclude the izpack dependency as well as our custom panels dependency. We don't need these showing up in our installed application!
  • The second execution section configures copying our custom panels jar to the custom/ directory under our staging directory (i.e., target/staging/custom). Note that we explicitly include our custom panels dependency so that no other jars are copied to custom/. It wouldn't hurt anything if this happened, but why do unnecessary work?
The maven-dependency-plugin is very configurable. You may need to customize some of this configuration for your own purposes.
Configure the izpack-maven-plugin

We need to tell the izpack-maven-plugin what to use as the base directory (this is our staging area), and also tell it the install file to use:

Some key points:
  • Even though you've already declared your custom panels dependency as a project dependency, you'll also need to declare it as a dependency to the izpack plugin itself, or else you will see classloading errors. (This is because Maven gives every plugin execution its own classloader, which cannot see the classpath of the project itself.)

Create Your Installer Descriptor

Your installer descriptor should reference resources and jars relative to the staging area. For example, here is a resources section in our installer descriptor (i.e., install.xml):

Note that these resources are originally under src/izpack. They are copied from this directory to the staging area, where the izpack compiler will look for them.

Also, don't forget to tell the izpack compiler about your custom panels jar. In your install.xml file:

<jar src="custom/mycustompanels.jar"/>

Note

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You should see now why we use the <stripVersion>true</stripVersion> option of the maven-dependency-plugin, so that it copies the custom jar dependency without the version in its name. This way, we can reference our custom panels jar from our installer descriptor without having to know its version of it.

Here's an example of referencing a custom panel. Again, in our installer descriptor:

Note that we use the fully qualified name of the panel class.

Summary

When finished, the entire build section of our pom should look something like this:

Troubleshooting

TODO

References

[1] http://izpack.codehaus.org/izpack-maven-plugin/

[2] https://github.com/aspear/izpack5-example-installer

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1 Comment

  1. I would propose a slightly different maven layout with an extra "package" module.

    izpack-seed
    +-application
    +-install
    |    \-package
    |    \-panel
    |    \-installer

    I found this way much easier to set up the targeted installation layout for my app (using maven assembly plugin for instance).

    I illustrated this approach in a github project izpack-seed