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From Mark Schlough <>
Subject Re: cocoon.jar?
Date Sat, 05 Feb 2000 18:09:54 GMT
Mike Engelhart <> wrote:
>Rick Tyler wrote:
>> I hear you, but it IS a point of confusion to anyone
>> who doesn't yet know the secret handshake.  I suppose
>> you might look on it as a right of passage: only the
>> truly committed and immersed are entitled to experience
>> the genius of Cocoon.  I would think the goal would
>> be to spread the Gospel as far and wide as possible,
>> which argues against unnecessary ambiguity that might
>> frustrate would-be evangelists.

Not _might_ frustrate, but inevitably _will_ frustrate.

>What you're failing to grasp is that there is no secret handshake or right
>of passage or anything like that. There is nothing in the JDK documentation
>that says "You can only put executable code in your jar files."  JAR is a
>format for archiving files and directories (w/ optional ZIP compression)
>period.  it has nothing to do with cocoon, apache, or anything else you're
>talking about.  A jar archive is just that.  An archive of

According to Sun's own Java Tutorial, they state:

The JavaTM Archive (JAR) file format enables you to bundle multiple files into a single archive
file. Typically a JAR file will contain the class files and auxiliary resources associated
with applets
and applications. 

So, yes you are technically correct.  You can put anything you want in a jar file.  However,
they state that a jar file is "Typically" a bundle of class files.  The "secret handshake"
element comes into play when the jar file is used in an atypical scenario, without annoucing
it's atypical nature.

It would be akin to distributing a windows only program in a "tar" format. Yes WinZip can
handle it, yes it technically is just a bundle of files, and it is most _certainly_ is confusing
to those that are just entering the arena.

I wonder whether the questions that need to be asked sre these:

Does the selection of the "jar" format as a distrubtion add any value that would not be there
in say a tgz or zip format?  Does the choice of the jar format act as a barrier of entry for
those who are just beginning?  

Some people only put executable code in their jars some
>put other things in them like .gif files for their applications, html
>documentation, source code, etc.  It's perfectly normal and many, many jar
>distributions put more than the executable code in them.

But do those distributions have any way of alerting the user that this is the case?

>What I do agree with is that installing Cocoon needs better documentation.
>This hopefully is being worked on but if you feel the need I'm sure they'd
>love to have your help.

Yes, this is the case.

>point noted but I think it's a little late.  .jar means a "java archive" -

Yes, its a "java" archive.  So, there must be some need to use this in place of just an archive,
otherwise one would have expected just a plain archive.   Java must apparently be a prerequisite
for this file to be examined.

>if it meant java class archive it would be called a JCAR :-)

I suppose if tar were for more than just tape archives it would not be just t.a.r.

Rummaging through my closet to find asbestos suit......


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