I have a question regarding the installing and deploying an application to an application server. This scenario involves a WAR file for a Tomcat configuration. One of our requirements is that we have an installer for the product (which includes the WAR file, some documentation, etc.)

Is it better to

A. Have an installer that also installs the JRE, Tomcat, the database software, etc.


B. Have an installer that creates a directory with the WAR file, some example of how to setup the server.xml file, and the supporting documentation. The expectation being that the user would copy the WAR file themselves to the webapps directory.

The concern I have with A is that is get complicated when the user has an install already, and I suspect that most admins would rather the installer not mess with the system configuration.

A third alternative is allowing the user to individually choose what to install. But I tend to get annoyed with installers that ask lots of questions.

Does anyone know of good examples of products that handle the installation process well (however they choose to do it)?


I think the answer really depends on who your user base is. In the open source world, I have seen quite a few pieces of software that will provide multiple options for download.

An all inclusive one that provides the JVM, App Server and the application itself and one where it is just the application war that is downloaded.

There are even some that offer VM images that can just be "started".

One of the benefits of providing the options at download is of course that someone who is only interested in the war file needn't download all the extra stuff.

If you are delivering this part of another medium, it would be better to provide the full package. Asking for the location of the application server into which the app is to be installed and providing an option to install one instead may also be a good way to go.

  • Thanks for the input. One thing we are looking into doing is using the Embedded Tomcat so that we are more-or-less self contained. That may avoid any conflicts with other running instances (minus the port conflicts). Once we move forward I will post my results here. – borq Feb 5 '13 at 13:38

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