Main Page   Namespace List   Class Hierarchy   Alphabetical List   Compound List   File List   Namespace Members   Compound Members   File Members   Related Pages  

Building a source or binary distribution

Building Unix and source distribution archives with make_distrib

The make_distrib script is used to create a distribution archive from compiled VMD executables and associated files, on Unix platforms. The make_distrib script can also be used to build a source code distribution.

In order to build a binary VMD distribution, run the make_distrib script with the architecture and graphics library parameters as shown in the example below:

make_distrib IRIX6 opengl

Source distributions are built similarly to binary distributions except that they don't require the graphics library parameter:

make_distrib source

Building MacOS X application bundle and disk images

The MacOS X VMD application bundles are presently a manual labor-intensive process. VMD application bundles are built by taking a previously created bundle directory and replacing the contents of the directory with the contents one would normally install into /usr/local/lib/vmd on Unix. This is easily done by setting the $install_library_dir environment variable before running the configure script, and before doing make install after compiling the code.

One of the trickiest parts with MacOS X is getting VMD (and plugins) to find the private dynamic link libraries used for Tcl and Tk. This is done using the install_name_tool command in MacOS X. In general, the process involves labelling the Tcl and Tk libraries so they advertise themselves as being findable in an executable relative path. Here's an example sequence of steps to set these up properly:

cd ~/vmd/lib/tcl/lib_MACOSX/Tcl.framework/Versions/8.4/
install_name_tool -id @executable_path/../Frameworks/Tcl.framework/Versions/8.4/Tcl   Tcl
cd ~/vmd/lib/tcl/lib_MACOSX/Tk.framework/Versions/8.4/
install_name_tool -id @executable_path/../Frameworks/Tk.framework/Versions/8.4/Tk     Tk
install_name_tool -change /Library/Frameworks/Tcl.framework/Versions/8.4/Tcl
 @executable_path/../Frameworks/Tcl.framework/Versions/8.4/Tcl   Tk
Once this sequence of commands has been executed on the Tcl/Tk libraries that VMD is compiled against and distributed with, it should be able to find both of them in the application-private frameworks directory in the bundle:

Once an appropriate bundle is assembled and has been tested, a disk image is created using the MacOS X disk image tools. The disk image contains the application bundle and the User's Guide. Keep in mind that the disk image will look precisely as it did on the build machine with which it was created. This means that the position or icons in the disk image window, and the size of the window itself will be duplicated when an end user opens the disk image. Its important to get all of these little details right before you create the disk image since I have not found a way to adjust them later.

Building Windows Installers and distribution archives

The process for building installers and distribution archives for the Windows platform is very different from the process used on Unix platforms. VMD is currently distributed as a self-extracting Winzip archive, containing an InstallShield installer built for VMD.

The InstallShield installer must be built first. The VMD build area must be mounted as S:\VMD on the Windows machine used to create the installer. The VMD InstallShield project is loaded into InstallShield from S:\\vmd\\msvc\\inst\\vmd.ipr Assuming that this succeeds, the installer is initially compiled, and then the Media Build Wizard is used to package up the entire installer into a target directory, using the "Custom" template provided by InstallShield.

One of the most important things that the InstallShield installer MUST do when it installs VMD is to create a special Windows Registry key which is used by VMD at runtime, in order to find the VMD initialization scripts, as well as helper programs such as Stride, Surf, and Tachyon. The Registry key is created as follows, where XXXX is replaced by the version number string used by the VMD binary being installed:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, Software\University of Illinois\VMD\XXXX
The Registry key is created at install time by the InstallShield code and is based on the VMD version number. Assuming nothing major changes with this, the salient point is that the InstallShield program version number data MUST ALWAYS match the VMD executable being installed, or VMD will fail to find its scripts, data, and helper programs at startup time, leading to serious problems for the end user.

Once the installer is built, the next step is to build a WinZip archive containing all of the installer files. This is pretty straightforward, but make sure that the archive is built using the "add files using wildcard *.*" option with recursive directories. Once the WinZip archive has been created, it must be turned into a self-extracting archive using the WinZip Self-Extractor tool. The Winzip self-extractor settings just require it be marked as a 32-bit program, a software installation self-extractor, and it should use the icon, title, and about box information from the msvc/winzip directory.

Building RPM distributions

The RPM spec files found in the rpm directory in the source tree are not being used for any official VMD distributions presently, but they are a good starting point if one wants to make an RPM distribution of VMD for easy local installation onto a network of Linux machines. The latest RPM version can be built by typing "make" in the rpm directory. Building RPMs can be tricky if RPM finds any interdependencies between files in the distribution and system libraries or shared libraries found elsewhere on the system. Even files such as perl scripts can cause RPM to generate ridiculous version requirements based on what it finds installed on the machine which is used to make the RPM. For script files, you can often bypass such problems through the creative use of

#!/usr/bin/env  perl

at the beginning of perl scripts rather than assuming


pg_makedistrib.dox,v 1.5 2020/02/24 18:05:20 johns Exp

Generated on Wed Nov 11 02:45:08 2020 for VMD (current) by doxygen1.2.14 written by Dimitri van Heesch, © 1997-2002