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DESCRIPTION This is the PAR-WebStart distribution, which is a Perl version of Java's WebStart technology; see http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/guide/jws/developersguide/overview.html for details. PAR-WebStart is a helper application associated with a browser. When a user clicks on a link that points to a PNLP [PAR Network Launch Protocol] launch file (a special XML file), it causes the browser to launch PAR-WebStart, which then automatically downloads, caches, and runs the specified PAR-based application. INSTALLATION Installation proceeds in the usual fashion: perl Makefile.PL make make test make install The following CPAN modules will be required: LWP XML::SAX::ExpatXS PAR Module::Signature File::Which Archive::Zip For Win32 (builds 8xx), ppm packages of all necessary prerequisites are available from ActiveState's default repository, http://www.bribes.org/perl/ppm/, or http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/ppms/. After installation, documentation is available for: PAR::WebStart: an overview PAR::WebStart::PNLP: description of the PNLP file syntax PAR::WebStart::Util: some helper utilities make_par.pl: a script to make a suitable par archive perlws.pl: a script to register as the application to open .pnlp files pnlp_registry.pl: a script to add the necessary file association on Win32 Apache2::WebStart: a mod_perl-2 handler for generating PNLP files USAGE An overview of the use is as follows (more details are found in the embedded pod documentation in the above modules/scripts): For the server: - using PAR, make up one (or several) par archives containing necessary modules for the application. One such archive must have a main.pl script, which will be run by the client. - each par file must have an associated file containing the md5 checksum of the archive. This is a mild check on the integrity of the downloaded archive, and also will be used as a test for the client to see if an update for a cached par file is available. An included script, make_par, can be used for making up a suitable archive. - although it's possible to turn this feature off, it's strongly recommended to sign each archive using Module::Signature. - place the par files on a server, and make up a PNLP file describing the application. For the client: - install PAR-WebStart, and associate the perlws.pl script with files with a .pnlp extension (the associated content type is application/x-perl-pnlp-file). How to do this depends on the browser and platform. For Win32, this is done through the registry - a script, pnlp_registry.pl, is included in this distribution to handle this task. For linux, with KDE, for example, one uses the File Associations menu item under Control Center -> KDE Components to associate the perlws.pl script with an application/x-perl-pnlp-file (for *.pnlp files), or alternatively, right-click a .pnlp file within the file explorer window and choose "Edit File Type". - point your broswer to http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/hello.pnlp to test out the installation; after confirming that you do want to run this application, you should see a few simple "Hello" messages appearing in a console window (the associated par and .pnlp files for this application are included in the ex/ subdirectory of this distribution). NOTES AND CAVEATS This is an alpha version; not all features may work as documented. The specs for the current PNLP files are subject to change. AVAILABILITY As well as on CPAN, the distribution is available via cvs at http://cvs.sourceforge.net/viewcvs.py/cpan-search/Par-WebStart/ A ppm package for Win32 is available at http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/ppms/ for ActivePerl 8xx builds, and at http://theoryx5.uwinnipeg.ca/ppmpackages/ for 6xx builds. COPYRIGHT Copyright, 2005, by Randy Kobes <email@example.com>. This software is distributed under the same terms as Perl itself. See http://www.perl.com/perl/misc/Artistic.html.