Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Griffon Installer Plugin

Last week Andres Almiray and I released a new version of the Griffon Installer plugin. This version adds support for creating native Mac app bundles for your Griffon application, as well a few refactorings to make the generated artifacts more consistent. In this post, I'm going to walk you through the process of creating a set of native launchers for your application. A future post will explain the process of creating installers.

Getting started using the installer plugin is simple:
griffon install-plugin installer

This will fetch the plugin and install it into your Griffon app. The plugin adds several new targets. All of the launcher-related targets are broken into two steps: a prepare step that copies all of the configuration files for that particular launcher into your application, and a create step that actually generates the native launcher. The prepare targets only need to be run once for your project. They give you a chance to tweak the launcher configuration files. The create targets are run every time you want to make a release.

The plugin provides launchers for the following platforms:
  • Linux
  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Executable Jar
The plugin also provides two other convenient targets, prepare-all-launchers and create-all-launchers which invoke the prepare- and create- targets for the four platforms above.

We'll use these convenience targets to create launchers for all platforms:
griffon prepare-all-launchers

This will create several new files for you:
  • installer/jar - the executable JAR launcher directory
  • installer/jsmooth - the Windows launcher directory
  • installer/linux - the Linux launcher directory
  • installer/mac - the Mac launcher directory
  • installer/jar/MANIFEST.MF - customize the manifest of the executable JAR
  • installer/jsmooth/$appName-icon.png - customize the .exe icon
  • installer/jsmooth/$appName.jsmooth - customize the .exe options
  • installer/mac/$appName.icns - customize the Mac icon
Once you are done customizing the configuration files, invoke the
griffon create-all-launchers target to actually create the launchers. This will create all of the launchers in the installer/$platform/dist directories and create archives of the launchers:
  • installer/jar/dist/$appName-$version.jar - the executable jar
  • installer/linux/dist/bin/$appName - the Linux launcher shell script
  • installer/linux/dist/$appName-linux-$ - a zip of the Linux launcher
  • installer/mac/dist/$appName-$version.dmg - a disk image of the Mac launcher [only created if on a Mac]
  • installer/mac/dist/$ - the Mac application bundle
  • installer/jsmooth/dist/$appName-windows-$ - a zip of the Windows launcher
  • installer/jsmooth/dist/$appName.exe - the Windows launcher
  • installer/windows/dist/$appName-windows-$ - copied from the JSmooth directory
  • installer/windows/dist/$appName.exe - copied from the JSmooth directory
As you make changes to your code, simply invoke griffon create-all-launchers and your latest changes will be packaged up. If you increment the version number of your app, the created artifacts will be updated to match.

Hopefully the Installer plugin makes it easy to distribute your Griffon applications to users on various platforms. In a future blog post, I'll cover creating installers for when a simple zip file is not enough.

1 comment:

Federico said...


I've been googling around the web to make an idea of what Griffon can offer me, and if it is worth the effort of learning another framework.

This post definitely made me want to start learning griffon!

The ability to deploy an application in so many different forms and with 0 effort is really really amazing!

Thanks for the post (and for the plugin too, of course)!

Maybe griffon will have one more user after this :)