InstallShield Java Has AS/400 Covered

When IBM introduced the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) on the AS/400 last year, Big Blue opened up its premier line of midrange servers to a wealth of software development and deployment technology not previously available to the platform.

InstallShield Software Corp. (Schaumburg, Ill.) moves into the Java-friendly space created by OS/400 V4R2 with InstallShield Java Edition, a software deployment tool that enables developers to create Java install packages for their software applications.

Use of InstallShield Java Edition provides a "huge improvement" for developers setting up Java programs on the AS/400, says John Quarantello, Java marketing manager for IBM's AS/400 Brand. This improvement can to a large degree be attributed to the fact that the AS/400 market did not enjoy InstallShield support prior to the AS/400’s integration of the JVM.

"Before InstallShield, users had to be more technically savvy to install applications on the AS/400," Quarantello says. "This is really an improvement in AS/400 deployment technology, and it also shows that a leading company like InstallShield thinks enough of the AS/400 that they're supporting it as a Java server platform."

Thomas Jarosh, general manager of IBM’s AS/400 Brand, speaks to the importance of the AS/400’s inclusion in the latest Java technology, saying, "We are pleased to be working with InstallShield Software Corporation to enhance our software installation and distribution technology in the areas of Java and e-commerce. As a recognized leader in software development tools, InstallShield, with their new InstallShield Java Edition 2.5, provides AS/400 developers with a modern, cross-platform installation solution."

Version 2.5 of InstallShield Java Edition improves upon previous incarnations of the product by featuring multiple source and target directory support, for the creation of complex installs with directories that maintain an existing directory structure while deploying the newly installed application to the desired structure on the end user’s system.

This latest version also includes the following enhancements: multiple language support, for the creation of installations with end-user dialogs in English, Japanese, French, Italian, German or Spanish; externalized dialog strings, for expanding language options by translating the end-user strings into additional languages; language-specific files, to customize an install by specifying which files will be installed, based upon the language setting of the end user’s PC; command-line access, to automate a build process with new command-line access; and enhanced Web distribution capabilities, via the InstallShield Installation Applet for popular Web browsers, which automatically checks for virtual machines.

"From an AS/400 point of view, Java allows us to support a whole lot of applications that we never had the capability to support before," Quarantello says. "It's just that easy, because Java on one platform is very similar to Java on another platform. It helps us from a deployment tool point of view, but it also verifies that Java is working in the [AS/400] marketplace."

The largest market for InstallShield's software is currently the Windows market, according to Jim Wright, director of developer relations for InstallShield Software Corp. "We've achieved a very, very high market share in Windows, and we're looking for ways to continue to grow the company," he says. "One of the biggest ways to do that is to move our presence from Windows to other platforms as well. To that end, we have worked closely with companies like IBM and Sun [Microsystems].

"We’re doing new development on the AS/400 because it's a growing market and a growing platform," Wright continues. "IBM's excellent Java implementation on the AS/400 allowed us to port the product very easily."

InstallShield’s goal is to accommodate not only Java developers, but native AS/400 developers as well, according to Wright. "One way AS/400 developers can write applications that are easy to deploy is through the graphical interface layer on top of code written for the AS/400," he explains. "InstallShield is used at the end of the development cycle to package an application and instruct the AS/400 how that application should look once it is deployed."

In addition to the Java version of InstallShield, the product is available in Professional (Windows-only) and "Windows-installer" versions. Wright points out that the Window Installer version will eventually become the flagship Windows product.

"While our tools are clearly used by most ISVs [independent software vendors] already, we also have a very significant market in corporate IT, and intend to pursue this in the AS/400 market just as we do in with Windows," Wright says.

"Many IT groups are involved in either the creation of custom distributions of off-the-shelf applications, or the development of custom apps, and we have found our installation toolkits to be of great benefits to those developers," Wright adds. "InstallShield Java Edition is a key part of a solution that allows homegrown and customized apps to achieve off-the-shelf reliability and ease of use, and AS/400 IT shops will also be a key target segment for us."

InstallShield Java Edition 2.5 is priced at $495 per license. Upgrades from previous releases of the product are priced at $195.