Thursday, January 15, 2009

Setting up a Web Server

In the context of the Java Tutorial as a whole, the topic of Applets is a major section in the Deployment trail. It is preceded by another largish section Java Web Start. This promises "to launch full-featured applications with a single click". At this stage all I want to do is to launch my mini app with a single click, so I really don't want to get bogged with detail here.

But I am not optimistic. The second paragraph refers to a JNLP file, whatever that is. My hopes of a "quick" start are fading. It looks as if there is a lot to work through. And if you follow the thread in order, the first lesson, Running Java Web Start Applications, is interesting from the perspective of trying out the technology, but from my perspective useless right now, because it assumes the JNLP file already exists.

The second lesson, Deploying Java Web Start Applications, looks more hopeful but it contains a number of potentially quite tricky steps. And in the lesson the first of these, Setting up the Web Server, is as useful as the proverbial mammary gland on the male of a bovine species. I guess this is a Java tutorial not a website management tutorial, but as they provided detailed instructions on running that silly Hello World app on three different operating systems, They might have put at least some sort of link here.

I have set up a web server on Win2k, but it was a long time ago and I am rather rusty. A quick search reminds me I have to install Microsoft's Internet Information Service (IIS) using the Control Panel. But I now have XP SP3 installed and my Windows CD is only SP2. The problem I encounter is similar to this one (except that for me everything translates as SP3 not 2). To fix it apparently I have to slipstream XP3 into a new CD. What a bore. I so hope MS goes broke or falls into obscurity in my lifetime. The simplest task is always a bloody nightmare. Why do I still use them? Because I have yet to install a Linux distro that does everything for me. One day I might start a Linux blog, because I've certainly wasted a few hours fiddling around with it. Anyway, slipstreaming is a chore, but it's not that hard. My reference point for the task is a web site called theeldergeek. His page on slipstreaming SP3 is here.

An important ingredient is the network professionals version of SP3. It is a 316MB file, but do MS offer you a bit torrent option? No, that would be too sensible. So I have to go to thepiratebay to get a perfectly legal file. The download could be dodgy, it could wreck my computer, or it could simply not work. But the size looks exactly right, so I'll start to bring it in with Azureus. There seem to be lots of seeds and it's coming in quite fast, but it will take a few hours, so I'll continue tomorrow.

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