AntInstaller is a configurable front end for Ant.
Developers can create ant scripts for deployment on any system that supports Java and provide a user friendly interface for editing the properties of the installation.
A simple case might be to ask the user for an installation directory, let them select which components to install (product, plugins, source code, documentation) and then unpack the installation files to the correct place.

AntInstall starts to provide more benfit when the installation process takes input from the users and sets the values into the correct properties files for the application. For example when installing a webapp the install could unjar the war file and then use "Ant replace" to place user selected properties into the WEB-INF/web.xml file with out the user having to edit the xml file directly.

The full power of Ant and all plugins is available to the install process.

AntInstaller is not just for installing user apps.

In a known environment such as a corporate network the script could telnet to servers and perform operations registering the instance of the application with central servers or much more complex installation. Anything Ant can do with core tasks or with plugins. AntInstall provides a user interface to collect user data and select which targets to run.

The User Interface can be a graphical swing interface similar to other installers (NSIS) but it also can be a commandline interface when an X windows environment is not available, for example installing on remote servers.

The user of the installer does not have to be an end user. AntInstaller could be used to aid deployment of your own Java apps asking for the properties that are requried for each install. For example "is this the production server or development server" and "is the database in transactional or non transactional mode". Thus ensuring that you or anyone else deploying the application configures all the correct deployment specific properties when installing.
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