B4J Tutorial B4JPackager11 - the simplest way to distribute UI apps

Discussion in 'B4J Tutorials' started by Erel, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    B4JPackager11 is a B4J non-ui program that builds a package with your app jar and an embedded modularized Java runtime.

    It works with OpenJDK 11 and B4J v6.8+.

    Lets start with the output.

    It looks like this:


    run.exe is the executable. run_debug.bat starts the program with a console that shows the program output.
    It also creates a template Inno Setup script in the parent folder which you can use to build an installer.
    On Mac and Linux it doesn't create an executable. It instead creates a bash script file that can be used to start the program.

    There are two ways to run B4JPackager11:

    Directly from B4J - Start with this method.

    Just set the InputJar path and run it.

    There are several additional parameters that you can configure:
    - NetFrameworkCSC - Path to to the C# compiler which is part of .Net Framework.
    - IconFile - Path to the executable icon file (.ico file).
    - ExcludedModules - List of excluded modules. javafx.web is excluded by default. You need to remove it from the list if you are using WebView.
    - IncludedModules - List of included modules. Should be empty in most cases as the tool tries to discover the dependent modules automatically.

    Command line with a json file

    You can create a json file with the input jar and optionally other settings and run it from the command line:
    <java 11>\bin\java -jar B4JPackager11.jar <json file>
    The json file should look like this:
    "C:/Users/H/Documents/B4X/X2/Angry Birds/B4J/Objects/AngryBirds.jar"
    Use forward slashes as I did above.

    If you want to remove javafx.web from the excluded modules:
    "C:/Users/H/Documents/B4X/X2/Angry Birds/B4J/Objects/AngryBirds.jar",
       ExcludedModules: []

    You must build the package on the target platform.
    Windows - Java 11 should already be installed. Note that Java 11 is 64 bit only.

    OpenJDK 11 + OpenJFX 11 (SDK + jmods) - GPL + classpath exception license
    Mac - https://b4xfiles-4c17.kxcdn.com/b4j/mac_jdk-11.0.1.zip
    Linux - https://b4xfiles-4c17.kxcdn.com/b4j/linux_jdk-11.0.1.zip


    - All files in the packager temp folder are deleted when it runs.
    - You can use B4JPackager (not 11) for Java 8 builds: https://www.b4x.com/android/forum/threads/ui-apps-packaging-self-contained-installers.56854/


    - V1.04 - New AdditionalModuleInfoString field. This is required when packaging for an app that uses jPOI.
    - v1.02 - Configures the Inno Setup script to 64 bit.
    - v1.01 - Fixes a localization issue.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  2. keirS

    keirS Well-Known Member Licensed User

    Would this work with the OpenJ9 JVM?
  3. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    This tool is designed for Java 11+. You should use the previous B4JPackager tool for older versions of Java.
  4. keirS

    keirS Well-Known Member Licensed User

    I am using Java 11 Open JDK. I am thinking of using the Eclipse/IBM JRE/JVM which is called OpenJ9.
  5. highflyer

    highflyer Member Licensed User

    Is there any way to avoid the opening of the terminal in nix and MacOS when running the packaged app ??
  6. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    I don't think that it includes the JavaFX modules. It will be difficult to add them yourself.

    The current implementation is indeed not perfect on Mac and Linux. It will be improved.
    highflyer likes this.
  7. Foz

    Foz Member Licensed User

    Just as a note, Java 11 is only 64-bit, the ISS script generated is missing "ArchitecturesInstallIn64BitMode=x64" in the set up, so it goes for installation as a 32 bit application (Program Files x86).
    Erel likes this.
  8. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    V1.02 released. It adds these two parameters to the installer script:
    Dadaista likes this.
  9. David Meier

    David Meier Member Licensed User

    This is a very cool and useful feature, thx for it. There is one thing I observed on my mac. Though it works, the program is not running alone. Clicking on the generated run.command opens a terminal window and the program is started from there.
    This is not so elegant, can this be done differently?
    Kind regards
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  10. David Meier

    David Meier Member Licensed User

    As far as now I have found this program: http://sveinbjorn.org/platypus
    With Platypus you can very easily add all files and directories from B4JPackager11 into one program package. It also gives you the possibility to add a custom icon. I haven't done a lot of testing but it seems to work. So B4JPackager11 and Platypus = Stand alone application on OS X.
  11. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    See post #6.
    David Meier likes this.
  12. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    - V1.04 - New AdditionalModuleInfoString field. This is required when packaging an app that uses jPOI.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  13. agraham

    agraham Expert Licensed User

    My System needs an additional line call to Sleep(0) in Sub PrepareFolders otherwise if the Temp folder exists it occasionally doesn't recognize that it has been deleted. The Sleep(0) seems to let the System actually finalize the deletion. I could just delete the File.Exists test but it seems better to add the Sleep(0).

    If File.Exists(TempFolder, ""Then
    File.Delete(TempFolder, "")
    0' Needs a delay before testing if folder exists.
        End If
    If File.Exists(TempFolder, ""Then
    Log("Failed to delete temp folder")
    End If
    A suggestion to make this easier to use: I would like to be able to pick the target jar using a File Picker and then have the temp folder created in the same folder as the target jar, and maybe named something more appropriate like 'Package'. I would do this myself but as this is presently cross-platform and as Erel has threatened in post #6 to improve the Mac and Linux implementation maybe he could consider this at that time. I would also rename run.exe to have the same name as the target jar.
  14. keirS

    keirS Well-Known Member Licensed User

    The packager doesn't pass on command line arguments to Java. I changed the C# for the process arguments to:

    p.StartInfo.Arguments = "@release_java_modules.txt -m ${TargetModule}/${PackageName}.main "  + string.Join(" ", args);
    which works but I am not familiar with how escape sequences work with strings in C# (other than they are different to how VB.net works) so I am not sure if the arguments will always be passed correctly?
  15. Erel

    Erel Administrator Staff Member Licensed User

    Test it with quoted arguments with spaces. You might need to quote each argument in the C# code.
    keirS likes this.
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