Packaging Application Metadata

Mark Fortner phidias51 at
Mon Mar 25 10:29:09 PDT 2013

Hi Daniel,
Thought I would jibber-jabber first on the list till there's some sort
consensus before filing an issue. :-)

My earlier thought was that JNLP could serve as a starting point for
discussions, since people might already be familiar with it.

Could you elaborate on this remark a bit: "[JNLP] has a lot of legacy that
complicates areas that don't need it (e.g. native packaging)". What legacy
are you referring to?

I'm probably in the minority as far as webstart is concerned, but I've
found it useful in the past as a means of keeping desktop apps in a company
up-to-date.  I haven't seen any cross-platform approach that comes close to
being able to solve this problem (except perhaps Marimba back in the day).
 We don't really have a corporate Java App Store, where you could easily
register an app and keep it up to date.  There are some platform-specific
solutions in the Winblows world, but I haven't seen anything that works

As for icon formats, I was thinking that we could register PNGs in the
project, and the packaging tool/maven plugin could handle any
platform-specific conversions.



PS Welcome back from vacation!

On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 8:06 AM, Daniel Zwolenski <zonski at> wrote:

> I'd recommend creating a JIRA for this as the deployment guys are
> (hopefully) working on improvements in this area. They may have
> inclinations in this direction but I'd be surprised if there was anything
> solid in the pipeline or on the horizon. There's a 'deployment' category or
> something like that where it should end up with the right people.
> I looked at JNLP as a basis for this sort of stuff but it has a lot of
> legacy that complicates areas that don't need it (e.g. native packaging).
> I'd suggest (and have suggested in some long emails in the past) an
> application profile of some kind that can be used as the main deployment
> descriptor for Java apps regardless of how it gets deployed and may also
> form the base of Auto Updating.
> Having said that, I'd personally leave JNLP and Applet completely alone
> and only look at the newer deployment options for this sort of stuff. They
> are likely to be unusable options before too long as browsers stop plugins
> and OS's lock into app stores. The horrid legacy of JNLP and Applet hinder
> all the new options (app stores, native installers, mobile, etc) from
> evolving quickly. Some people will likely object to that though, just my
> opinion.
> Also be aware there are complications with things like icon formats (need
> to convert between .ico and .png, etc), image sizes, allowed characters and
> lengths in names (e.g. wix supports different things to mac, etc),
> licencing information needed for different platforms (e.g. app stores),
> etc, etc. So standardising will be quite a complicated process that would
> likely take a fair bit of time to nail down if work was started on it. As
> usual don't pin your hopes on any good solution arriving soon (Java8 would
> be extremely optimistic I imagine).
> On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 9:44 AM, Mark Fortner <phidias51 at> wrote:
>> I've been wondering if there were any plans to standardize packaging
>> metadata?  It strikes me that we should be able to specify dock and
>> desktop
>> icons, splashscreens, application names, OS-specific packaging properties
>> (like the ones used in Mac OS X) and dependencies in a single place that
>> can be used by both an application packaging tool, and on application
>> startup.  The JNLP file has most of these elements already and could serve
>> as a useful starting point.
>> Any thoughts?
>> Mark

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