Dear Teams for all the app-builders,
first of all, we love the App-Builder series. We are making Reading Apps and Scripture Apps - and soon begin our Dictionary App.
I am in charge of IT in our project and I want to ask for your help and give you some feedback:
- The installation instructions look clean and well written and they are available online and as PDF files, that is very nice.
I am struggling with “the Java stuff”. The instructions are calling for a JDK. But when trying to run the app-builder, which is a .jar file, it feels like we also need a JRE(?). Now it is not documented whether each JDK also carries its own JRE.
So can I use a Java.exe from the \bin folder in an installed JDK to run for example dictionary-app-builder.jar?
The main problem is, that our office computers are using many different tools. The SIL app builders need a very special version of the JDK, but it seem that Windows 10 and the Java-security-magic got different ideas.
I installed everything (for the reading app builder) a few months ago. But when a colleague asked me two days ago, the app builder would not even start. But for this case, there are no written instructions.
I found out that we had two different generation of JDK installed and the most recent JRE. But if there ever was a JRE Version 8, it has been removed. The version numbers are “weird” and explanations would be helpful. Your instructions call them Version 8 and the website too. But the files are called something 1.8.0.xxx The next generation 9 looks all different.
I spent a lot of time online, trying to figure out how best to tell the SIL app builder how to launch, i.e. how to use a version 8 JRE - that is when I found out (comparing to another computer) that the JRE had been removed (or was never installed?)
Another puzzling detail is that the instructions tell the user to download 64bit versions of the JDK but fail to mention that still, the Reading app builder will install under the 32bit folder (“C:\Program Files (x86)”). This looks like a mistake when trying to get a blocked system going. But maybe it is intentional?
I finally did a hack in the registry and wrote a hard-link for auto starting the reading app builder with a certain (freshly installed JRE). But of course this has killed all our other Java-based tools, which need contemporary JREs, for example:
A free dual-window file explorer
The translation tool OmegaT
The OpenStreetMap editor JOSM
If you go to the OmegaT website, you can see a good example of how the user is oriented to the issues with (special) JREs and OmegaT even offers to download a complete package with the promise that all existing Java-setup for Windows and other tools will not be damaged. (https://omegat.org/download at the bottom the paragraph “With/without JRE”)
I invite you to please have a look and to consider that the SIL app tools are not the only tools on any given computer. I am begging for more detailed instructions on how best to get the app builders to run (to make them start). And how to configure, if there are also the most recent Java JDK and/or JRE installed and used on a computer.
Again, this is not meant as criticism, this is a cry for help from an IT-part-time-admin who has struggled to install and get-to-run your tools on three “busy” computers. I mess about and I get it done, but I feel I could do better (and have the team focus on app-making) with more instructions.
thank you for your consideration and for those tools.