Dr. Hartmut Schorrig, Germany in Europa, www.vishia.org

1. Loading necessary jar files - Bill of Material approach

If you take a critical look at the common practice of loading libraries, binaries and other tool files, it looks like this:

  • The tool has any internal list which files are necessary.

  • There are big archives, where to find the files (mavenCentral() or such)

  • The files are downloaded in a universal location. Often this is the home location for the user, but often sometimes hidden (not obviously).

Then if an internet connection is missing, the question may pop up: "The tool does not run" - maybe because of another user login, or because a function is used the first time, or an update request was stored but not executed.

This approach has the following disadvantages:

  • 1) The list which files are used in which version, it is an internal list.

  • 2) Often the dependencies are complex. One file needs another file, loads it from internet, and ready & run. It means there is not a central list with all necessary files, the loading lists are dispersed.

  • 3) The location to which the files are downloaded is a system decision. Because the system cannot decide, it is stored in the user’s private tree, there often in not obviously sub directories.

  • 4) Because the whole process of getting files is not obviously, there are many files in the user’s location, unknown whether they are necessary for which tool.

  • 5) Only because space on a hard disk is usual enough the problem of "my disk is full" does not occur.

  • 6) Tools need an internet connection to run, any time it is possible that a missing file should be gotten from internet. It is not sure that the computer can run without internet. The slogan "A computer needs an Internet connection at all times" is not kosher!

An article:

describes some difficulties.

There is an interesting article from a german jounal:

It describes a similar situation. From this article I’m inspired to work precisely with a BOM.

The other approach is: The content of the downloaded and used material should be disclosed. It means, the sources should be available, AND: translation of the sources should produce the same content as given in the binary files. Only then it is obviously that the sources are adequate the used binaries. This is the approach of reproducibleJar.html. The reproducible build is a very important approach, but often neglected. See chapter Source integrity, regenerate jar-files

2. The Bill of material file to load components

Hence in some applications where my jar files and also some executables for Windows or Linux are necessary, I work with a file (example, file bomVishiaJava.txt in ../../../StimuliSel/html/StimuliSel.html):

#Format: filename.jar@URL ?!MD5=checksum

#The minisys is part of the git archive because it is need to load the other jars, MD5 check
vishiaMinisys.jar@https://www.vishia.org/Java/Download/versionArchive/vishiaMinisys-2020-12-26.jar  ?!MD5=b9d161df7a45d343954bc4ee7158dd14

#It is need for the organization of the generation.
vishiaBase.jar@https://www.vishia.org/Java/deploy/vishiaBase-2021-06-21.jar  ?!MD5=1c6130af923f671477e3bc9fa77a5749

#It is need for the GUI to select test cases.
vishiaGui.jar@https://www.vishia.org/Java/deploy/vishiaGui-2021-06-21.jar  ?!MD5=e80818ec469d58e3cb9d84c809d13255

org.eclipse.swt.win32.win32.x86_64.jar@https://www.vishia.org/Java/Download/SWT/org.eclipse.swt.win32.win32.x86_64_3.110.0.v20190305-0602.jar  ?!MD5=06c8adb06c0be6136a29f8cb1cb98469

#socketcmd.exe for windows
socketcmd.exe@https://www.vishia.org/emc/deploy/socketcmd-2021-06-21.exe ?!MD5=00f273e6c1c724f166c4772e17f3220f

The broken lines in this document are really one line! This file is executed with load.bat:

set SCRIPTDIR=%~d0%~p0

java -cp %SCRIPTDIR%/vishiaMinisys.jar org.vishia.minisys.GetWebfile @%SCRIPTDIR%/bomVishiaJava.txt %SCRIPTDIR%/

or as shell-script load.sh with:

SCRIPTDIR=$(dirname "$0")

java -cp $SCRIPTDIR/vishiaMinisys.jar org.vishia.minisys.GetWebfile @$SCRIPTDIR/bomVishiaJava.txt $SCRIPTDIR/

The used function to load is written in Java and contained in the vishiaMinisys.jar. Only this file, approximately with 80 kByte, should be a part of the tool download package beside some textual files etc. of the tool. All other executable, jar and libs can be downloaded.

If you have downloaded the file there are stored in exactly this location (usual libs), and the software run without internet connection.

3. Download location and reproducible build

The version archive at https://www.vishia.org/Java/deploy contains per version the jar-Files as run able libraries and their sources. Additionally an MD5.txt-file is given. For example:

vishiaBase-2021-06-21-source.zip	2021-06-22 10:41	1.4M
vishiaBase-2021-06-21.jar	        2021-06-22 10:41	1.4M
vishiaBase-2021-06-21.jar.MD5.txt	2021-06-22 10:41	138
vishiaGui-2021-06-21-source.zip	    2021-06-22 10:41	707K
vishiaGui-2021-06-21.jar	        2021-06-22 10:41	938K
vishiaGui-2021-06-21.jar.MD5.txt	2021-06-22 10:41	135

The used *.jar file is given in the bill of material, see previous chapter. Beside you find the sources. From the sources the binaries (here jars) are newly able to build.

You can decide by yourself to use newer versions as in the currently build of materials preferred. That is your experience. Maybe you need newer features of a tool, they are contained in the newer jars, but the currently deployment of the tool use yet only the older sources in its bill of material. Usual newer versions should be compatible to older ones. It means you can use the newer version. But nobody guarantees that is really proper. You need existing new features, you can try by yourself. You can compare the sources which changes are really done. You can try usage, report found errors, all that helps to improve.

Last not least you can fix found errors by yourself, maybe (should be ) with adequate feedback.

4. Source integrity, regenerate jar-files

It is possible to re-generate the jar file with the exact same content, hence the same MD5 check code, using the …​source.zip archive. For the vishiaBase-version.jar it is very easy because this jar does not have dependencies:

One should unpack the …​source.zip. It contains a _make folder, and their a makejar_vishiaBase.sh. It is a Unix/Linux shell script which can execute for example with a standard git environment. git contains a MinGW Linux environment, because git runs originally under Linux. The same can be done with any gcc (GNU compiler) collections. In other words, a shell execution environment should be available to everybody who is trying to compile something.

The second necessary one is a JDK, Java Developer Kit, of course. It is not necessary to have it installed, it is sufficient that it is present on the PC platform. You can have several versions of JDK at the same time, from Oracle, or OpenJDK.

Therefore the environment variable JAVAC_HOME should be set to that directory, which contains a bin/javac. This environment variable can be set by the system, if a JDK is preferred. If it is not set then the file


is called. This file can/should be adapted by the user to select the correct location of the JDK. For Linux compilation sometime JAVAC_HOME is not present but javac is possible as command because the JDK/bin is in the systems’s PATH. That is proper and regarded in the script.

4.1. Generate vishiaBase.jar

If you only re-generate from a given version, you should not adapted the +makejar_vishiaBase.sh file. The regenerated files are marked with the current date as version stamp, The results of the compilation after execute +makejar_vishiaBase.sh are written to:

  • %TMP%\BuildJava_vishiaBase\deploy or /tmp/BuildJava_vishiaBase/deploy, all temporary files are written beside /tmp/…​/deploy in /tmp/…​/vishiaBase* and /tmp/…​/vishiaMiniSys. I recommend using a RAM-disk for that temporaries, save space and time.

The new generated vishiaBase.jar and vishiaMinisys.jar is compared with the existing ones. This is done by searching a "BOM" file bomVishiaJava.txt (Bill of material) in:

  • ../../../../../../libstd if this location is existing

  • or to ../../jars beside the srcJava_vishiaBase source tree, whereby this folder is created automatically because it may be necessary for compilation of the other components.

2021-07-04  22:02    <DIR>          deploy
2021-07-04  22:02    <DIR>          jars
2021-07-04  22:01    <DIR>          srcJava_vishiaBase

If the bomVishiaJava.txt is found, the stored MD5 check sum there is compared with the new created MD5 check sum. If it is identically, nothing is done. The re-generation has produces the same content.

If the bomVishiaJava.txt is not found, a new one is created. This is true especially if ../../jars beside the srcJava_vishiaBase is created newly. If the MD5 is changed, then a bomVishiaJava_new.txt is created with the new information. This file can be compared simple, and the originally bomVishiaJava.txt can be changed, but only manually in responsibility from the developer or maintainer which want to have this new version. The generation of the new bomVishiaJava_new.txt is done with the JZtxtcmd script corrBom.jzTc running the new compiled vihiaBase.jar. It means if some functionally things are faulty in the new generated jar, it may crash. But that should be corrected anyway (using an IDE such as Eclipse).

It the binary content respectively the MD5 is changed, then found files vishiaBase.jar and vishiaMinisys.jar are copied to vishia..old.jar to have a compare and fall back, and the new generated files are stored as vishiaBase.jar respectively vishiaMinisys.jar. It means for other usages the new compiled files are immediately present "ready to use" to check its behavior in the context.

The user should clarify to its own responsibility using the new bomVishiaJava.txt and removing the old vishia..old.jar maybe after comparison.

If the MD5 is changed then the new generated files jar with time stamp and also the …​-source.zip and a …​txt.md5 files are copied to a found

  • ../../deploy beside the srcJava_vishiaBase component

  • ../../../../../../deploy, that is usual beside the cmpnJava_vishiaBase for generation from the build & test, see buildtestVishiaJava.html, then the files are stored there too.

  • You can compare and copy the files also manually from the /tmp/BuildJava_vishiaBase/deploy to any other proper location.

If the binary content is really changed, then you should set the TIMEinJAR_…​ to a prominent timestamp in the _make/+makejar_vishiaBase.sh file. That may be also a version identifier for the version to deploy in the near future. The files in the jar gets this timestamp. The timestamp influences the MD5 check sum, that’s way you should not change it if the sources are unchanged.

## Use this timestamp for file in jars, influences the MD5 check:
export TIMEinJAR_MINISYS="2021-07-01+00:00"
export TIMEinJAR_VISHIABASE="2021-07-01+00:00"

This is the basic to generate a new version. You should compile newly and commit the sources and the deployment (in contact with the maintainer or in your own responsibility using this as open source).

Comparison of the result files

The content of the jar and the MD5 check sum can be compared with older (pre- or given) versions. That is the essential result of the reproduced build. That can be done by binary comparison or by comparison of the generated MD5 checksum with an existing version, especially with the last versions with the other version (date-) identifier on the file names. If the sources are unchanged the binaries and the MD5 should be the same. Then you can ignore the new version with the current date and use the given versions.

If you expect "nothing should be changed" but you see binary differences, then you can compare the content of the generated jar file with the older given jar file for all class files. A jar file is really a zip file. You can add the .zip extension additional to the jar extension (results in .jar.zip) to open as zip and compare with any file comparer tool. I recommended using the Total Commander (https://www.ghisler.com). It enables too opening a …​jar immediately as zip without additional effort. Maybe you should firstly dissolve the .jar connection in Windows to execute as java, often not necessary. With the Total Commander you can use the function "Synchronize Dirs". After file comparison in the jar or jar.zip you see which files are changed, in conclusion you can see which sources are changed. A maybe unnecessary change can be improved, for example writing a changed comment in the same line instead using an additional one, recompile and compare. It is possible to have new sources especially with improved comments with unchanged compiling result, a good feature for maintaining the sources.

Changes in software may influence the binaries of vishiaBase.jar but left unchanged binaries of vishiaMinisys.jar if that used sources are unchanged.

4.2. Generate vishiaGui.jar

The srcJava_VishiaGui/_make/makejar_vishiaGui.sh needs the vishiaBase.jar to compile, additional a proper SWT library jar file and maybe (future development) vishiaRun.jar. If you re-generate the srcJava_vishiaGui calling the _make/+makejar_vishiaGui.sh script either you may compile srcJava_vishiaBase/_make/+makejar_vishiaBase.sh immediately before (if both are checked or changed) or you should have a proper vishiaBase.jar to use.

2021-07-01  22:49    <DIR>          jars
2021-07-01  22:42    <DIR>          srcJava_vishiaBase
2021-07-01  22:48    <DIR>          srcJava_vishiaGui
2021-07-01  22:48    <DIR>          srcJava_vishiaRun

This is a snapshot from files for compiling all. The srcJava_.. files comes from the vishia,,,-2021-mm-dd-source.zip from the deploy directory. All are assembled one beside the other.

The folder jars contains:

2021-07-01  22:49               328 bomVishiaJava.txt
2021-01-04  09:35         2.445.585 org.eclipse.swt.win32.win32.x86_64.jar

This files are copied from another location, especially the swt.jar should be given.

Now firstly srcJava_vishiaBase/_make/+makejar_vishiaBase.sh should be compiled. This creates the necessary jars/vishiaBasejar. Then srcJava_vishiaGui/_make/+makejar_vishiaGui.sh can be compiled. It uses the vishiaBase.jar and the SWT library and produces vishiaGui.jar.

The content of the bomVishiaJava.txt is also adapted or supplemented.

To compile a correct version of vishiaGui.jar with expected content and MD5 checking with unmodified srcJava_vishiaGui sources, you can also use other vishiaBase.jar or …​swt.jar than the original ones. The content of that used jars can be different. Especially for example a Windows-32 SWT or a Linux SWT can be used, or an older or newer Version from vishiaBase.jar. If the calling and using conditions to all used classes and operations (signatures) are unchanged between this versions, only details of the implementation are different, then the byte code of the vishiaGui.jar and consequently the MD5 checksum is not influenced. This is similar to mixing C/++ files when the headers are unchanged, only the implementation is different. In C/++, the content of the compiled objects is the same if the headers used provide the same definitions. The own Objects are also independent of the implementation of the used components.

So this means that the vishiaGui.jar is compatible and usable with these different versions. If you want to pair some jar files, you can use this compilation to check if this pairing is possible. This is a nice feature to mix versions of jars.

As in +makejar_vishiaBase.sh (chapter above) in +makejar_vishiaGui.sh it is necessary or possible to change the date for the created vishiaGui.jar:

export VERSION="2021-07-01"

You can define the date of the used vishiaBase.jar if you want to use a special one from the deploy archive where more as one are given:

export VERSION_VISHIABASE="2021-07-01"

If you left this setting empty, then a vishiaBase.jar without date stamp is searched. This is done in the following directories:

  • ../../../../../../deploy/vishiaBase-VERSION_VISHIABASE.jar: Deploy directory beside the cmpnJava…​ folder, see buildtestVishiaJava.html

  • ../../deploy/vishiaBase-VERSION_VISHIABASE.jar: Possible deploy directory beside the srcJava…​ folder.

  • ../../jars/vishiaBase.jar: This approach, jars folder beside srcJava…​

  • ../../../../../../libstd/vishiaBase.jar: libstd folder beside cmpnJava…​ which contains the last valid version (without date stamp)

  • ../../../../../../libs/vishiaBase.jar: alternative libs folder.

The first two locations are tested whether it contain the file with the given version. The last three locations may contain the files without date stamp.

The same folder search paths are used for the other jar files too:

# SWT for Windows-64 it is a copy of the used jar, see bom
# comment or uncomment for alternative swt.jar
#export JAR_SWT=""  ##left empty if unversioned should be used
export JAR_SWT="org.eclipse.swt.win32.win32.x86_64_3.110.0.v20190305-0602.jar"
#export JAR_SWT="org.eclipse.swt.win32.win32.x86_3.5.1.v3555a.jar"   ##32 bit SWT

This specifies the versioned SWT jar to use. The commented lines help fast select another version. This versioned jars are searched in the both deploy folder. It they are not found (especially because the version is not defined, then the following unversioned jars are searched in the following order:

  • ../../jars/org.eclipse.swt.win32_x86_64.jar

  • ../../jars/org.eclipse.swt.win32_x86_32.jar

  • ../../jars/org.eclipse.swt.gtk.linux.x86_64.jar

  • ../../../../../../libstd/org.eclipse.swt* …​ same order

  • ../../../../../../libs/org.eclipse.swt* …​ same order

This helps compiling for Windows (64 bit and 32 bit) and Linux, the found SWT is used.

The compiling of srcJava_vishiaGui/_make/+makejar_vishiaGui.sh uses also a * srcJava_vishiaRun/…​ beside the srcJava_vishiaGui or * cmpJava_vishiaRun/…​ beside the cmpnJava_vishiaGui (see buildtestVishiaJava.html)

because the source path is enhanced to it. It means, the vishiaGui.jar contains all depending sources of srcJava_vishiaRun. Then an extra vishiaRun.jar is not necessary, but possible for special cases.

In the same manner as for vishiaBase.jar the bomVishiaJava.txt is adjusted with the MD5 and date of the stored vishiaGui.jar to have anyway an versioned access from the deploy directories.