Java Dependency Hell

I’m a debian user, and a recent Kubuntu convert so I’m really not used to dealing with dependency issues. Apt makes my life almost painless in this aspect. I only have to deal with dependencies when I compile from source (which is not all that often). But I never expected I will see a dependency chain on a windows machine…

I was trying to install SourceJammer server on a windows box today. I explained why I like sourcejammer at some point in the past. I figured I could use it to make my work with my current project easier. If I knew the installation will take me 2 hours, I would probably abandon this idea long time ago.

Note that while I’m a java programmer, when it comes to web based stuff I am all about building LAMP apps. Despite all it’s power find JSP clunky. I’m a true believer in the KISS principle. LAMP is probably as simple as it gets when it comes to web based solutions. For me Java is a powerhouse language for doing big and complicated things. Thus I haven’t had much experience with the wonders of Tomcat and it’s plugins.

SourceJammer requires Tomcat and the so called SOAP web service. That in turn has some of it’s own dependencies – and will only work with specific version of Tomcat. I know because I ended up downgrading my server to 1.4 to finally get it working. SourceJammer also has some undocumented dependencies that can only be discovered by googling various error messages.

I ended up downloading over 6 different packages of strangely named jar files. All them came in zip files with HTML documentation, installation instructions and own dependencies. For each jar you get, you need to fetch another two it is dependent on. What a mess! Java brings the joy of dependency hell to windows! 😛

In the end I managed to get it working – but not before I spent 2 hours downloading, adjusting the path, restarting Tomcat and googling error messages. Was it worth it? I don’t know. SourceJammer is pretty cool app. I think it will help me to streamline my work in the end…


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