B4J Tutorial B4JPackager11 - the simplest way to distribute UI apps

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Erel

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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:
B4X:
<java 11>\bin\java -jar B4JPackager11.jar <json file>
The json file should look like this:
B4X:
{
   InputJar: "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:
B4X:
{
   InputJar: "C:/Users/H/Documents/B4X/X2/Angry Birds/B4J/Objects/AngryBirds.jar",
   ExcludedModules: []
}
Platforms

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

Notes

- 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/

Updates

- V1.13 - Allows configuring VM arguments. It can be done with the VMArgs global variable or a VMArgs key in the json file.
- V1.12 - Skips automatic inclusion for services based on inner classes as it breaks the jdeps tool.
- V1.11 - Adds a check that InputJar points to a jar file.
- V1.10 - Adds support for command line arguments. Usage example: https://www.b4x.com/android/forum/threads/associating-files-with-your-app.106984/
(Currently only supported on Windows)
- V1.05 - Fixes the "failed to delete temp folder" issue when the folder is open in Windows Explorer.
- 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.
 

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Erel

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

highflyer

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

Erel

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I am thinking of using the Eclipse/IBM JRE/JVM which is called OpenJ9.
I don't think that it includes the JavaFX modules. It will be difficult to add them yourself.

Is there any way to avoid the opening of the terminal in nix and MacOS when running the packaged app ??
The current implementation is indeed not perfect on Mac and Linux. It will be improved.
 

Foz

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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

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V1.02 released. It adds these two parameters to the installer script:
B4X:
ArchitecturesAllowed=x64
ArchitecturesInstallIn64BitMode=x64
 

David Meier

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Hi
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
David
 
Last edited:

David Meier

Active Member
Licensed User
Hi
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
David
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.
 

Erel

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- V1.04 - New AdditionalModuleInfoString field. This is required when packaging an app that uses jPOI.
 
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agraham

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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).

B4X:
    If File.Exists(TempFolder, "") Then
        DeleteFolderRecursive(TempFolder)
        File.Delete(TempFolder, "")
        Sleep(0) ' Needs a delay before testing if folder exists.
    End If
    If File.Exists(TempFolder, "") Then
        Log("Failed to delete temp folder")
        ExitApplication2(1)
    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.
 

keirS

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

B4X:
   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?
 

Erel

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

JOTHA

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Directly from B4J - Start with this method.
Just set the InputJar path and run it.
Can anyone tell me how to set the InputJar path, maybe i'm too stupid for that ...
B4X:
    'InputJar = m.GetDefault("InputJar", InputJar)  '-- Original -- funzt nicht --
    'InputJar = m.GetDefault("C:\Users\JOTHA\Downloads\B4JPackager11\Objects\B4JPackager11.jar", InputJar)  '-- funzt nicht --
    'InputJar = m.GetDefault("InputJar", "C:\Users\JOTHA\Downloads\B4JPackager11\result.jar")  '-- funzt nicht --
    'InputJar = m.GetDefault("InputJar", "C:\Users\JOTHA\Downloads\B4JPackager11\Objects\B4JPackager11.jar")  '-- funzt nicht --
"result.jar" is the file which i want to have as the instllation exe-file ...
 

Erel

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You have two options:
1. Create a json file and run the tool from the command line.
2. Set the variable directly (Process_Globals):
B4X:
Private InputJar As String = "C:\Users\H\Downloads\projects\javatest\Objects\webapps.jar"
 

Erel

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- V1.05 - Fixes the "failed to delete temp folder" issue when the folder is open in Windows Explorer.
 
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