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From Joe Bohn <>
Subject Re: v1.x Installer comments - Long
Date Wed, 25 Jan 2006 22:48:30 GMT

I agree with Dave on the issue of multiple containers.  We had many 
discussions on this list concerning the number of containers in an 
image.  The result was that we agreed to deliver 2 different assemblies 
rather than having multiple containers in one assembly.  If that was the 
decision for the assemblies then I would think it makes sense to do the 
same in the installer.

I also agree with Dave that we should revisit the issue of presenting 
the list of components twice: once to include them in the image and once 
to activate them in the runtime.  I doubt that most users would 
understand this distinction when initially installing Geronimo.  Most 
other packages consider the activation/inactivation of components to be 
post-install setup and choose the defaults that make the most sense.  In 
our case I would expect that all components selected during install 
would be active by default.


Dave Colasurdo wrote:
> Erik Daughtrey wrote:
>> Dave, Thanks for the comments...
>> I made comments below.  Would you create installer component JIRAs for 
>> the items that make sense?
> Yep.  BTW, has it been decided if the installer is a 1.0.1 or 1.1 item?
>>  On Thursday 19 January 2006 17:02, Dave Colasurdo wrote:
>>> Looks like the Installer has made quite a bit of progress.  Thanks 
>>> Erik!!
>>> I'd like to suggest a few Usabality changes to the current installer..
>>> I'm sure you are already aware of many of these and have plans to update
>>> them.  Just wanted to provide some input based on my first impression.
>>> BTW, I've attempted to provide input based on my thoughts on how this
>>> would be perceived from the perspective of a first time user.
>>> *Package Selection Panel*
>>> 1)The available selections are really a hierarchy
>>>   -Server
>>>   --J2EE Features
>>>   ---Jetty Web Container
>>>   ----Jetty Sample Applications
>>>   ---Tomcat Web Container
>>>   ----Tomcat Sample Applications
>>> Does Izpack allow you to capture the hierarchy graphically?
>> Not that I've seen.  It looks like it's strictly a list box.
>>> If not, anyway to insert padding to the front of entries to show the
>>> hierarchy to the user?  I think this would be a better solution than the
>> Inserting spaces is something worth trying.
> I experimented with inserting spaces in front of the pack names and it
> seemed to work fine. As expected, this also requires that all references
> to the pack name in geronimo-izpack.xml, izpack-process.xml and 
> izpack-user-input.xml need to be updated.  This results in a panel that 
> seems to show the hierarchy visually.  Though adding the spaces for each 
> element in the xml files is a real hack and does seem troublesome. There 
> should be an easier way to accomplish this without  unnaturally padding 
> or creating a custom panel.  I'll post a question on this subject on the 
> izpack mailing list.
>>> "Dependencies" box and would more clearly convey the relationship
>>> between selections.  Also, we should remove the dependencies box and the
>> I don't think it's possible to remove the dependencies box and keep 
>> the overall look and feel.
> Will also post this on the izpack mailing list.  Are they responsive to
> suggestions?
>>> other righthand box that contains the Logo.  The description box should
>> I agree that the 2nd graphic is redundant at this point.  However, one 
>> thing we have not explored is the fact that the graphic on the right 
>> is actually different for each pack although for now each is a 
>> distinct instance of the same bitmap.  There is the potential to 
>> enhance each bitmap - possibly by making the Geronimo image subdued 
>> while overlaying something related to the pack.  I have not tried 
>> removing the graphic, but I don't think it's possible to remove it and 
>> keep this look and feel.
>>> be located directly to the right of the main selection box OR below it
>>> on the left.
>> I doubt that this is easy to change.  We can look into making some of 
>> these changes in more detail at some point.  Anything is actually 
>> possible depending on the capabilities of IzPack itself and how much 
>> we're willing to diverge the Geronimo installer from the IzPack 
>> codebase.  It may actually be possible to make some of the changes 
>> without changing IzPack, but based on what I know right now, I don't 
>> think so.
>> We've already diverged from the IzPack codebase and we need to factor 
>> these changes into IzPack as we move forward or we may run into 
>> problems related to these changes later as IzPack itself diverges.  
>> I'm struggling a little with this at this point given that IzPack is a 
>> generalized installer and some of the changes made are specific to 
>> Geronimo.  I tried to keep the changes separated, but our requirements 
>> are reflected in code I wanted to keep generalized anyway. I don't 
>> want to boil the ocean, but I'd also like to minimize problems 
>> occurring from the two distinct dev paths as much as possible.  
>> Graphical look and feel changes might be less painful to push back 
>> into IzPack, but it's still a little worrisome.
>>> I like the way the dependant boxes interact (turning off something at
>>> the top of the hierarchy automatically trickles down to the dependant
>>> choices)..
>>> 2) It seems that we are allowing the user to choose two web containers?
>>>     I thought we would limit the choice to just one?
>> The operator can install both containers, but they cannot activate 
>> both at runtime.
> For simplicity, I'd prefer to limit them to one web container.  I would
> think this is what 95% of users would want. I think it is confusing for
> a user to install two web containers and keep one disabled.  Isn't the
> installer targeted for a novice user and not a sophisticated user that
> wants to swap containers on the fly.  Awhile back we had binary images 
> with multiple web containers and it caused lots of confusion with users.
>>> 3) It seems that it is currently possible to pick-and-choose selections
>>> that result in a server that won't start.  We need to decide which
>>> choices are valid and assure that the resulting installations all work.
>>>    Flexibility is great, but we don't want to give users the ability to
>>> choose non-working installations.
>> The intent is to prevent the building of a non-working server.  
>> There's only one instance I'm aware of that will result in problems 
>> and it will be fixed soon.  If daytrader is selected, with no 
>> database, then obviously there will be problems.  David Jencks has 
>> suggested that we just go ahead and install Derby when the J2EE 
>> Features are selected -- and I plan to do this.
>> If you're aware of other instances please enumerate them...
> My initial selections produced a server that wouldn't start.
> I'll go back and retry a few permutations to see if it is different than
> what you described.
>>> 4) The available disk space seems to only be specified for "Server".  I
>>> assume the other selections will eventually be updated.
>> IzPack only displays this for packs which have files associated.  This 
>> is one of the current issues about the installer. It installs 
>> everything.  This will be addressed.
>>> 5) Should the "Server" selection  be re-labeled as Geronimo kernel or
>>> Geronimo base infrastructure or something to better reflect what it is?
>> I don't have a real opinion on this. 
>>> 6) The "Greyed out packs are required" comment is somewhat confusing..
>>> Perhaps just adding the word (Required) next to the server selection and
>>> removing the other comment would be clearer.
>> IzPackism. Fixing this would require overriding the ImgPacksPanel.
>>> *Base Configuration Panel/Web Container Panel*
>>> 7) Not sure I understand the "Active at runtime" selections and how they
>>> differ from the selections I've already made on the "Package Selection
>>> Panel".. Is the idea that the package selection identifies which
>>> packages get physically laid down on the target machine and "Active at
>>> runtime" determines which of these are configured as initially enabled?
>>> Not sure how common it would be to select a component and then specify
>>> that it is disabled.  Is it more appropriate to assume all choices are
>>> enabled at installation and any disabling shoud be done directly in the
>>> resulting installtion (perhaps via the admin console).
>> The installer is reflecting some some of the capabilities of 
>> Geronimo.  I posed this question to the list a while back. The 
>> response I received was that this type of behavior would be desirable.
> I think we should discuss the issue a bit more with the community.  From 
> a *user  perspective* , how common will it be to install a component 
> (aka pack) and then want it disabled in the resulting installation. 
> Installation should be about installing a simple working configuration. 
>  Uncommon configuration options (install and disable) shouldn't be a 
> mainline choice in the installer.  Advanced configuration should be done 
> after the server is installed (e.g via the adminconsole or by updating 
> xml files).  I found the separate "active at runtime" panels to be a bit 
> confusing and suspect it will cause confusion with novice users.
>>> 7.5) The Web container "Active at runtime" selections are greyed out by
>>> default when the Tomcat container is selected.  Seems the default should
>>> be enabled.
>> Bug. Fixed now. JIRA 1505.
>>> *Configuration Checkpoint Panel*
>>> 8) Is it possible to place a confirmation summary of all the selections
>>> and their size on this panel?
>> The summary is possible. The sizes might be interesting.
>>> *Installation Progress Panel*
>>> 9) Probably want to pretty this Panel up with a Title such as
>>> "Installing Geronimo components".
>> I figured this panel needed a little work.
>>> 10) The installation panel seems to hang for awhile even after the
>>> progress bar indicates completion.  Eventually the "next" selection is
>>> available.  Is this a pblm with izpack?  Any chance of getting a
>>> "completed message" in Big letters on the panel?
>> Packs installation?
>> It would not be trivial to change the packs installation panel.
>>> *Processing Panel"
>>> 11) I had initially assumed the installation was now done and was
>>> surprised that there was still more installation steps to be done.
>>> Perhaps just a title on this Page "Installing Geronimo configurations".
>> Processing Panel is an IzPackism.  Changing the title is not trivial. 
>> It's possible that something might be done though.
>>> 12) Would be nice to have "Configuration completed successfully" or
>>> "Configuration failed" message at the end of the output. Perhaps this is
>>> just adding the word "successfully" to your existing message.
>> That's easy to add to the text being inserted into the processing 
>> panel text box by the ConfigInstaller run.
>>> 13) I see that the installer allows a user to create an automatic
>>> installation script.  Is this a response file that can be used to invoke
>>> the installer silently? 
>> Yes, just supply the name of the xml saved as an argument to the 
>> installer.
>>> 14) I like the fact that you provided a default installation that
>>> doesn't require any selections other than accepting the license.  Just
>>> hitting next->next->next..  Joe's mom will appreciate that.  :)
>> I want to cruise Joe's mom's web site when she's done :)
>>> Hope these comments aren't too nitpicky..  I think the installer is
>>> really shaping up nicely. Sometimes minor changes to panels make big
>>> differences in a user's first impression..
>>> Thanks
>>> -Dave-

Joe Bohn
joe.bohn at

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot 
lose."   -- Jim Elliot

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