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The Eclipse RCP became a prominent platform for building client software. One of the delivery mechanisms supported by Eclipse RCP is Sun’s Java Web Start (JWS). Since Galileo Edition some changes has been introduced in the platform. This article provides some hints for creation of the RCP delivered by Java Web Start.

Packaging

In order to package the RCP I suggest to use feature-based products as described in a previous article. Following it, you should have a top-level plug-in (also refered as product-defining plug-in) and top-level feature, which is called “wrap”-feature in the context of the Java Web Start.

Exporting the product

Before you start with Java Web Start (JWS), export the product and make sure it starts as a standalone application. In doing so, you have to ensure that your references to the plug-ins are correct. One of the way of doing it is to hit the Validate button in the top left of the product editor. If the validation is successful, try to export the product. The PDE builder will run and create a distribution. The errors of the compiler/builder/assembler, if any, are reported to files zipped to the logs.zip file in the distribution directory.

Packaging

Abstract

Using Eclipse-based rich-clients as stand-alone applications is discussed in many books and articles. In the context of enterprise systems, the software development adopted several paradigms to improve the quality of the overall architecture. This short article describes some issues in packaging the application for using it in the context of enterprise systems.

Architectural Assumptions

Designing enterprise architectures is a standard discipline for IT-consulting companies or freelancers involved in software development. Maybe one of the main characteristics of enterprise architectures is the framework-driven approach of software creation. Thus, the software has to comply certain rules and standards adopted inside the enterprise. In order to simplify such constrained development process, it is common to use an in-house software framework, which enforces the  compliance of the enterprise-internal standards and acts as glue between different technologies adopted as parts of the enterprise architecture.

Using such frameworks has major implications for the software development in general, and especially for the rich client development. The design issues are summarized in the next section.

Usaging an Enterprise Framework

The major goal of the enterprise in-house framework is to simplify the process of software systems development and to enforce standardization among the software systems. This usually includes the following aspects:

  • Domain-specific component framework
  • Methods for master data management
  • Infrastructure services: authentication, authorization, communication, security, printing, reporting
  • Application skeletons and launchers

The more unification and standardization is included inside the framework, the easier it is for a software developer to concentrate on the particular business task and the easier is the maintenance of the software system.

From the previous list, the most interesting part related to RCP packaging and deployment is the existence of the application skeletons and launchers. So, when launching an application, the framework libraries are loaded and executed first and pass the control to the application-specific modules. The advantage of this approach is that infrastructure services can be loaded first, which can be developed and shared among different applications.
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