How to compile a Microsoft Windows RCP installer with NSIS using Linux

Session Type: 
Standard Talk [25 minutes]

No doubt, Eclipse and RCP applications are marvelous. It's no big deal for developers to install RCP applications and to fix problems like a missing Java Runtime Environment (JRE). But customers are most often not in the way skilled as developers are. In my experience, they are confused if you tell them just to download, unzip and start the RCP application. Where ist the installer? Where are the menu entries? Where is the uninstaller? In a special way, Microsoft Windows users are focused. Are they stupid or lazy? I don't think so. They are used to install software by clicking on setup files. We should keep in mind, they are end users and like to use the software instead of becoming first of all a technician. Hence, let's take it serious and try to make our customers life as easy as possible. What do we need? A simple setup.exe that installs the RCP application automatically. The setup should pre-check and install a suitable JRE if desired and should guide the user in a convenient way through the installation process as it's known from e.g. Mozilla Firefox. Further technical requirements are that the compilation of the setup.exe doesn't require a graphical environment as well as it should be usable on a Linux server in connection with automatic build systems. Great news, "Nullsoft Scriptable Install System" (NSIS) matches all needs and it's open source. Isn't it nice, is it? Let me explain how to install NSIS on a server (Ubuntu 12.04 Server Edition) and how to choose and install further plug-ins, for example to pre-check and install a suitable JRE. In a second step, I'll show the NSIS installer script that is used to compile the RCP application "OpenChrom". Even though, failures could occur whilst compiling the setup file, but NSIS provides self-explaining failure messages which makes debugging easy. Go there, get it and be inspired to create your own setup.exe.



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