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  1. JDK
  2. JDK-8200758

JEP 343: Packaging Tool



    • Author:
      Kevin Rushforth
    • JEP Type:
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    • Discussion:
      core dash libs dash dev at openjdk dot java dot net
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      Create a new tool for packaging self-contained Java applications.


      Create a simple packaging tool, based on the JavaFX javapackager tool, that:

      • Supports native packaging formats to give the end user a natural installation experience. These formats include msi and exe on Windows, pkg and dmg on macOS, and deb and rpm on Linux.
      • Allows launch-time parameters to be specified at packaging time.
      • Can be invoked directly, from the command line, or programmatically, via the ToolProvider API.


      • The following features of the javapackager tool will not be supported:
        • Java Web Start application support,
        • JavaFX-specific features,
        • jdeps usage for determining required modules, and
        • the Ant plugin.
      • There will be no GUI for the tool. A command-line interface (CLI) is sufficient.
      • There will be no support for cross compilation. For example, in order to create Windows packages one must run the tool on Windows. The tool can depend upon platform-specific tools.
      • There will be no special support for legal files beyond what is already provided in JMOD files (e.g., no aggregation of individual license files).
      • There will be no native splash screen support.
      • There will be no auto-update mechanism.
      • The tool will not be available on Solaris platforms.


      Many Java applications need to be installed on a native platform in a first-class way, rather than simply being placed on the class path or the module path. It is not sufficient for the application developer to deliver a simple JAR file; they must deliver an installable package suitable for the native platform. This allows Java applications to be distributed, installed, and uninstalled in a manner that is familiar to users of that platform. For example, on Windows users expect to be able to double-click on an installer to install their software, and then use the control panel to remove the software; on macOS users expect to be able to double-click on a DMG file and drag their application to the Application folder. Applications installed as service daemons, moreover, may require registering the service with the operating system.

      There is also a need for a tool that can package the JDK itself for installation on a target system. Absent such a tool, JDK images are only published in the tar.gz zip formats.

      A packaging tool can also help fill gaps left by other technologies such as Java Web Start, which was removed from Oracle’s JDK 11, and pack200, which was deprecated in JDK 11 for removal in a future release. Developers can use jlink to strip the JDK down to the minimal set of modules that are needed, and then use the packaging tool to produce a compressed, installable image that can be deployed to target machines.

      To address these requirements previously, a packaging tool called javapackager was distributed with Oracle’s JDK 8. However, it was removed from Oracle’s JDK 11 in connection with the removal of JavaFX.


      The jpackage tool will take as input a Java application and a Java run-time image, and produce a Java application image that includes all the necessary dependencies. It will also be able to produce a native package in a platform-specific format, such as an exe on Windows or a dmg on macOS. The tool will have options that allow packaged applications to be customized in various ways.


      The tool will provide the following features:

      • Creation of an application image

      • Support for native packaging formats to give the end user a more natural installation experience. Specifically, the tool will support the following formats:

        • Windows: msi, exe
        • macOS: pkg in a dmg, app in a dmg (drag the app into the Applications directory)
        • Linux: deb, rpm

        The application will be installed in the typical default directory for each platform unless the end-user specifies an alternate directory during the installation process (for example, on Linux the default directory will be /usr/bin).

      • Support for packaging Java applications such that they are suitable for submission to the Windows or macOS app stores

      • The ability to specify JDK and application arguments at packaging time that will be used when launching the application

      • The ability to package applications in ways that integrate into the native platform, for example:

        • Setting file associations to allow launching an application when a file with an associated suffix is opened
        • Launching from a platform-specific menu group, such as Start menu items on Windows
        • Option to specify update rules for installable packages (such as in rpm/deb)

      Running the tool

      The input to jpackage includes: a Java run-time image, a Java application in one of several formats, and various command line options to control the generation of the final image or package.

      The following types of applications are supported:

      • Modular applications that have been jlinked into a custom run-time image
      • Modular applications that are in (one or more) modular jar files or jmod files
      • Legacy applications that run on the class path, and are in (one or more) jar files

      If no custom run-time image is provided then the tool will run jlink to create a JDK for the application.

      The output of jpackage is a Java application image that includes all necessary Java dependencies. The image is stored in a single directory in the filesystem and can include the following:

      • Native application launcher (generated by the tool)
      • Java run-time image (including the application modules, if the app has been modularized)
      • Application resources (e.g., jar, icns, ico, png)
      • Configuration files (e.g., plist, cfg, properties)

      As an example, the image format for a HelloWorld application might look like this:

          HelloWorld.exe     [this is the native launcher]
            [application resource, configuration, and support files go here]
            [custom Java runtime image goes here]

      When the application is started, the launcher will read the configuration files and launch the embedded Java run-time image with the specified arguments.

      The application image can be redistributed as-is, or it can be packaged as a native, installable package (for example, in msi or dmg format).

      In this latter case, the tool can either create a native package from a previously created application image, or it can create a native package directly. The native package will include the following:

      • The application image as defined above
      • Support for signing packages
      • Package post-processing steps such as setting up file associations

      Delivering jpackage

      The jpackage tool will be delivered as part of the JDK in a new jdk.jpackage module. This tool will be based on the javapackager tool, with all features related to Java Web Start and JavaFX removed. The command-line interface (CLI) will conform to JEP 293: Guidelines for JDK Command-Line Tool Options. In addition to the command-line interface, jpackage will be accessible via the ToolProvider API (java.util.spi.ToolProvider) under the name "jpackage".

      Command line options

      The jpackage usage is as follows:

      jpackage --help
      jpackage <mode> <options>

      where mode is one of:

      create-image — Generates a platform-specific application image.

      create-installer — Generates a platform-specific installer for the application.

      Sample usages

      Generate a modular application image:

      jpackage create-image -o outputdir -n name \
          -m moduleName/className -p modulePath

      To provide your own options to jlink, run jlink separately:

      jlink --output app.runtime -m moduleName -p modulePath \
          --no-header-files [<additional jlink options>...]
      jpackage -o outputdir -n name -m moduleName/className \
          --runtime-image app-runtime

      Generate a non-modular application image:

      jpackage create-image -o outputdir -i inputdir -n name \
          --main-class className --main-jar MyJar.jar

      Generate an application installer:

      jpackage create-installer -o outputdir -n name \
          -m moduleName/className -p modulePath
      jpackage create-installer -i inputdir -o outputdir -n name \
          --main-class package.ClassName --main-jar MyJar.jar
      jpackage create-installer -o outputdir -n <installer-name> \
          --app-image <app image dir> [--installer-type <type>]

      Generate a Java runtime installer:

      jpackage create-installer -o outputdir -n name \
          --runtime-image <runtime-image>

      Generic Options:

      @<filename> — Read options and/or mode from a file

      --app-version <version> — Version of the application and/or installer

      --copyright <copyright string> — Copyright for the application

      --description <description string> — Description of the application

      --help -h — Print the usage text with a list and description of each valid option for the current platform to the output stream, and exit

      --name -n <name> — Name of the application and/or installer

      --output -o <output path> — Path where generated output file is placed (absolute path or relative to the current directory)

      --temp-root <file path> — Path of a new or empty directory used to create temporary files (absolute path or relative to the current directory). If specified, the temp-root will not be removed upon the task completion and must be removed manually. If not specified, a temporary directory will be created and removed upon the task completion.

      --vendor <vendor string> — Vendor of the application

      --verbose — Enables verbose output

      --version — Print the product version to the output stream and exit

      Options for creating the runtime image:

      --add-modules <module name>[,<module name>...] — A comma (",") separated list of modules to add. This module list, along with the main module (if specified) will be passed to jlink as the --add-module argument. if not specified, either just the main module (if --module is specified), or the default set of modules (if --main-jar is specified) are used.

      --module-path -p <module path>... — A ; separated list of paths. Each path is either a directory of modules or the path to a modular jar. (each path is absolute or relative to the current directory)

      --runtime-image <file path> — Path of the predefined runtime image that will be copied into the application image (absolute path or relative to the current directory). If --runtime-image is not specified, jpackage will run jlink to create the runtime image using options: --strip-debug, --no-header-files, --no-man-pages, and --strip-native-commands. --bind-services will also be added if --add-modules is not specified.

      Options for creating the application image:

      --files -f <input file>[;<input file>...] — A ; separated list of files in the input dir to be packaged If omitted, all files in the input directory will be packaged.

      --icon <icon file path> — Path of the icon of the application bundle (absolute path or relative to the current directory)

      --input -i <input path> — Path of the input directory that contains the files to be packaged (absolute path or relative to the current directory)

      Options for creating the application launcher(s):

      --add-launcher <file path> — Path to a Properties file that contains list of key, value pairs (absolute path or relative to the current directory). The keys "name" (required), "module", "add-modules", "main-jar", "main-class", "arguments", "jvm-args", "app-version", "icon", and "win-console" can be used. These options are added to, or used to overwrite, the original command line options when building an additional launcher.

      --arguments <main class arguments> — Command line arguments to pass to the main class if no command line arguments are given to the launcher

      --jvm-args <java vm arguments> — Java arguments to pass to the virtual machine

      --main-class <class name> — Qualified name of the application main class to execute. This option can only be used if --main-jar is specified.

      --main-jar <main jar file> — The main JAR of the application; containing the main class (specified as a path relative to the input path) Either --module or --main-jar option can be specified but not both.

      --module -m <module name>[/<main class>] — The main module (and optionally main class) of the application. This module must be located on the module path. When this option is specified, the main module will be linked in the Java runtime image. Either --module or --main-jar option can be specified but not both.

      Platform dependent option for creating the application launcher:

      --win-console — Creates a console launcher for the application, should be specified for application which requires console interactions

      Options for creating the application installer(s):

      --app-image <file path> — Location of the predefined application image that is used to build an installable package (absolute path or relative to the current directory). See the create-image mode options to create the application image.

      --file-associations <file path> — Path to a Properties file that contains list of key, value pairs (absolute path or relative to the current directory). The keys "extension", "mime-type", "icon", and "description" can be used to describe the association.

      --identifier <id string> — Machine readable identifier of the application. The format must be a DNS name in reverse order, such as com.example.myapplication.

      --install-dir <file path> — Absolute path of the installation directory of the application

      --installer-type <type> — The type of the installer to create. Valid values are: {"exe", "msi", "rpm", "deb", "pkg", "dmg"}. If this option is not specified (in create-installer mode) all supported types of installable packages for the current platform will be created.

      --license-file <file path> — Path to the license file (absolute path or relative to the current directory)

      --resource-dir <path> — Path to override jpackage resources. Icons, template files, and other resources of jpackage can be over-ridden by adding replacement resources to this directory. (absolute path or relative to the current directory)

      --runtime-image <file-path> — Path of the predefined runtime image to install (absolute path or relative to the current directory). Option is required when creating a runtime installer.

      Platform dependent options for creating the application installer(s):

      --win-dir-chooser — Adds a dialog to enable the user to choose a directory in which the product is installed

      --win-menu — Adds the application to the system menu

      --win-menu-group <menu group name> — Start Menu group this application is placed in

      --win-per-user-install — Request to perform an install on a per-user basis

      --win-registry-name <registry name> — Name of the application for registry references. The default is the Application Name with only alphanumerics, dots, and dashes (no whitespace)

      --win-shortcut — Creates a desktop shortcut for the application

      --win-upgrade-uuid <id string> — UUID associated with upgrades for this package

      --mac-bundle-identifier <ID string> — An identifier that uniquely identifies the application for MacOSX (and on the Mac App Store). May only use alphanumeric (A-Z,a-z,0-9), hyphen (-), and period (.) characters.

      --mac-bundle-name <name string> — Name of the application as it appears in the Menu Bar. This can be different from the application name. This name must be less than 16 characters long and be suitable for displaying in the menu bar and the application Info window. Defaults to the application name.

      --mac-bundle-signing-prefix <prefix string> — When signing the application bundle, this value is prefixed to all components that need to be signed that don't have an existing bundle identifier.

      --mac-sign — Request that the bundle be signed

      --mac-signing-keychain <file path> — Path of the keychain to use (absolute path or relative to the current directory). If not specified, the standard keychains are used.

      --mac-signing-key-user-name <user name> — User name portion of the typical "Mac Developer ID Application: " signing key

      --linux-bundle-name <bundle name> — Name for Linux bundle, defaults to the application name

      --linux-deb-maintainer <email address> — Maintainer for .deb bundle

      --linux-menu-group <menu-group-name> — Menu group this application is placed in

      --linux-package-deps — Required packages or capabilities for the application

      --linux-rpm-license-type <type string> — Type of the license ("License: " of the RPM .spec)


      We need to specify the layout of an application image and define what is supported versus unsupported, to make it clear for developers what they should or should not depend on, for example, the location of the application launcher, any user-editable configuration files, and so forth.

      We should include some command-line examples and describe the content of the run-time image produced.


      Most tests can be done with automated scripts, but there are a few considerations to be aware of:

      • Testing the native installers may require optional tools to be installed; those tests will need to be written such that they are skipped on systems without the necessary tools.

      • Verifying some types of native packages (e.g., exe on Windows or app in a dmg on macOS) may require some manual testing.

      • We need to ensure that native packages can be installed and uninstalled cleanly, so that developers can test in their local environment without fear of polluting their system.


      Native packages will be generated using tools on the target platform. For Windows, there are two additional tools that developers will need to install if they want to generate native packages:

      • exe — Inno Setup, a third-party tool, is required to generate exe installers
      • msi — Wix, a third-party tool, is required to generate msi installers

      There are efforts underway to enhance jlink to generate native launchers. Some level of coordination may be needed between jlink and jpackage.


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              • Assignee:
                herrick Andy Herrick
                vdrozdov Victor Drozdov (Inactive)
                Kevin Rushforth
                Reviewed By:
                Alexander Matveev, Alexey Semenyuk, Andy Herrick, Kevin Rushforth, William Harnois
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