IzPack is a software packager for building installers for your applications. It is an open source alternative to retail products like InstallAnywhere and InstallShield. IzPack generated installers run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Because of this, IzPack creates a single cross platform installer. This installer is fully functional and behaves identically across Windows, Macs and Linux. It is a mature project having recently reached 10 years. Lastly, it is an open source Apache Licensed V2.0 Project.
Besides it being free to use and redistribute, one of the most attractive features is the ability to write once and run anywhere (really). I recently had to research creating an installer at work for both Windows and Linux and IzPack proved itself beating all other alternatives.
IzPack has many other features which would prove valuable to many people.
- Uninstaller – Izpack provides the option of creating an uninstaller to undo/remove/delete all actions performed by the installer. By default, Izpack can ‘remove installed’ artifacts from the OS but complete ‘restore to original’ can be accomplished with a combination of backing up pre-install, scripting and deletions.
- Highly modifiable – most default features can be extended to create customized objects for any installer. Some community participants have even suggested features which they have, in turn, added themselves back to IzPack. Neat!
- Can be built with Maven and Maven rocks – enough said.
- Can run external scripts (bat, sh, etc.).
- Can run ANT scripts. – This one feature alone helps me use ANT in all its splendor from IzPack making me look like a hero 😉 and I need all the help.
- Localizable installers – IzPack provides multiple language options pre-install and provides translations for every element by default. One only needs to translate one’s own text.
- Can do silent installs – Properly developed, all IzPack installers can be built to run as silent installs and use a ‘properties’ file for otherwise prompted inputs.
- Can do command line installs – Useful if he operator only has SSH into a computer, IzPack installers can be built to command line mode so that they can be run from a prompt.
I am not certain if I will get to build our company’s upcoming installers or when will these get built. I know IzPack will easily fill our needs and I hope I have the opportunity to use it in a professional capacity soon enough.