Choosing Tools: Java Installer

Choosing an installation builder

Choosing Tools: Java Installer

Java programmers seem to spend a lot of time choosing tools. I figured I would start a series of blogs on tools that I use.

I’ve been looking for a good installation builder for Java for quite a while now. For years, I have been using InstallAnywhere NOW, a free version of the popular InstallAnywhere product (by ZeroG, now owned by Macrovision). It’s a nice multiplatform install builder, but lately, it’s been causing me grief both in Windows executable files not running properly all of the time and in terms of licensing. ZeroG stopped providing the NOW version. And then, I upgraded my computer and lost my key for IA NOW (it was free, but required a key), so all of my installation executables were tagged as being built with DEMO software. That wasn’t very professional, so I went in search of a new installation builder.

Of course, I started with InstallAnywhere, thinking that their “for-fee” products might offer a seamless migration both in time and in my mind. Sigh, I just couldn’t justify the cost ($2000 for the professional version!).

I’ve heard a lot about install4j ( over the years, but I had dismissed it previously because IA Now worked fine for me and was free. But, given few other options, I evaluated install4j and found it to be just what I needed. With a professional license available for $399, I went ahead and bought it for use in building client installation executables.

I’ve received some happy responses from clients after migrating them to the new install builder using install4j. They are happy to have a bit more control over the installation process. I’m happy that some of the problems I had been seeing with IA Now (namely, problems getting a Windows-specific executable to run) are not plaguing me with install4j. And I’m REALLY happy that I didn’t have to pay $2000 for the privilege.

Where to get install4j