Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The low quality standard of the Oracle GlassFish Installer
Universal #2
So, I just installed GlassFish 3.1.1 on a development machine and I have to say that the experience this time was significantly less intuitive than the last time I installed it.

Let me just start out by saying that I have a lot of admiration and respect for Java. Sun Java. The flavor of Java before Oracle got their greedy hands on it, with their chronic tunnel vision only for catering to large enterprise. I hesitate to install Java SE 7 if it has the same "quality standard" as what I just went through with GlassFish. I especially hesitate to install it knowing that many Java programs might not run correctly on it, or might even corrupt my data.

I also recognize that in an acquisition, it is to be expected that the new parent company's goals will likely not be oriented in the same direction as the company that was acquired. I still think it's a bad idea to burn all of their existing bridges with Apache and Google regarding Java, and screw over the community process, purely because they want to focus on business customers. Students and independent developers of today become the business customers of tomorrow -- a lesson that Sun understood that Oracle is too cold-hearted to understand.

Okay. Enough with my Oracle rant. On to ranting about why GlassFish 3.1.1 seems like the worst install yet:

Sloppy Installer UI

Opening Screen

On the opening screen of the installer, the progress bar isn't even aligned correctly relative to the background:

The progress bar on the first screen of the GlassFish installer is too far left, and looks sloppy.

Really? How much time would it have taken to get that lined up so it doesn't look thrown together?

Installer Screens in General

I noticed that as each screen is displayed, the content area briefly displays HTML code before flashing into the rendered content. I know from Swing development that this can be prevented, if you simply wait for the load event to fire before displaying the control.

JDK Selection screen

The "JDK Selection" screen has several issues. First, if you have only a JRE installed, you will get a message that no "JDK or JRE" was detected. What they really mean to tell you is that no JDK was detected -- a JRE alone won't suffice. Appropriate error message fail.

Second, once you have at least one JDK installed, don't count on using the drop-down of JDKs to select the right one. Due to what I can only assume is sloppy sizing, the drop down has a horizontal scroll bar (!) that covers up at least one of the options in the drop-down. Why is there a horizontal scroll bar? Ignoring that, why is the control not sized appropriately so that the scroll bar doesn't cover up the information?

The drop-down on the 'JDK Selection' screen covers up one entire drop-down option with a horizontal scroll bar.

Did this installer get tested on this platform at all? Did the installer get tested at all?

Installation Progress Screen

It doesn't look like any of the installer's windows are appropriately sized, at least not on Windows 7 with Aero enabled. During installation, I had to resize the installer window to give it enough height for the progress bar not to look crowded.

The progress bar on the installation progress screen is cut-off by default.

After resizing:
The progress bar on the installation progress screen is cut-off by default.

In addition, the "billboards" during set-up are clearly being scaled without regard for aspect ratio. Notice how scrunched the text looks.

This is all very sloppy.

Installer Error Handling

The first time I installed GlassFish on this machine, I chose the "Typical" install option. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I had only the JRE rather than the JDK installed, and apparently GlassFish requires the JDK (which makes sense, since it needs to compile things on request).

The GlassFish installer gives you both a 'Typical' and 'Custom' install option, but only the 'Custom' option gives you appropriate feedback during the installation.

When I used the "Custom" install option, I got a message about this. Instead, with the "Typical" option, the installer proceeded happily along, all the way to the "Configure domain" step, where it failed to configure GlassFish (it got "The system cannot find the file specified"). Worse yet, when I clicked "Finish" after the failed step, I received a message that GlassFish was installed successfully. It even said that it "configured" GlassFish for me. Not quite...

The GlassFish installer always tells you that it configured GlassFish successfully even when it hasn't.


My experience with the GlassFish uninstaller was even more ridiculous.

First, if you do manage to install GlassFish, you won't find an entry to uninstall it under "Add/Remove" in the Windows control panel.

In addition, if you install it with the "Typical" option without having a JDK, as I did the first time, you'll find you can't uninstall it -- the uninstaller can't find a JRE to use. To fix this, you'll need to modify the shortcut to the uninstaller to specify the full path to the JRE, and then you'll be able to run it successfully.

I'm still in utter disbelief that on a system where Java was installed to a standard path using the standard Java JRE installer, another installer from the same company is completely incapable of locating Java on the system.


If this type of quality is what we have to expect as the norm with Oracle from here on out, Java is doomed. I will do my part to make sure that the community has other, better options, but with Oracle slamming companies with patent lawsuits when they play outside the Oracle sandbox, I'm not sure whether the community can be saved.


Log in

No account? Create an account