ZZ/OSS Installer

Interesting project over at http://www.zzoss.com/phpwiki/index.php/ZzossInstaller;

“ZZ/OSS Installer is a PHP-based installation wizard for professional release management of modular PHP applications.”

In essence it builds on what the PEAR package manager does to allow installation and management of complete applications – plenty of further info on the WIKI.

Certainly a good idea but, at the moment, I’m skeptical.

With the available releases, while playing “I’m a dumb user”, was unable to install the installer. Didn’t look to hard at where the problems were but a number of PHP “gotchas”, like allow_call_time_pass_reference (see here) reared their ugly head, which suggest the current releases are not ready for mass deployment.

More generally, writing installers for PHP, the installer itself also being PHP, is notoriously difficult. The PEAR Package Manager has been a long time in development and there are still issues on platforms like Win98. There’s also questions like “Do you feel secure?” having a tool like this exposed somewhere on your server (even if it is protected with some form of authentication).

Doubts aside, PHP lacks a solid application installer / manager and ZZ/OSS Installer is the first serious attempt I’ve seen at building one. With more user feedback, perhaps the current issues can be cleaned up and we’ll have something everyone can use.

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  • http://www.practicalapplications.net bwarrene

    This is a big issue across the open source spectrum as well. Having the ability to drop in web applications with a configuration management tool would vastly improve administration if security were addressed by the “package manager” configuration manager or whatever the name may be. (i.e. web apps on Tomcat, php apps, interaction or integration with Apache, database servers and so on…..)

    That I believe is the key – to address security and permissions with the management tool, enabling admins to load apps without necessarily accessing all areas of the server(s).

    However, that may be pipe dreaming until we see more standardization on the *nix side and open source side.

  • Markus Wolff

    There is indeed a real need for a good installer for PHP – and any attempt to build such a thing is a welcome one.
    I’d like to point out though that there already are platform-independent installers which can also handle PHP applications, like InstallAnywhere (http://www.installanywhere.com/), which shouldn’t be totally unknown in the PHP community as that’s what Zend uses for Zend Studio.

    There’s a free version to get started with, but if you want to be able to use it in commandline-only environments (like, say, your typical webserver), you’ll need the Enterprise Edition. Not suitable for open source development, but quite okay for commercial apps.

  • http://www.lastcraft.com/ lastcraft

    We are currently moving over to RPMs to set up servers. This means that PHP packages such as PhpMyAdmin, CURL, etc have to be converted to RPMs (most already are).

    If the package is well written, and we intend to hand write some of them, install is a breeze. There are two factors that are pushing me more and more in this direction. Mandrake have massively improved the quality of their RPMs and the existence of excellent package managers such as Red Carpet (http://www.ximian.com). Also Gentoo are specifically tackling the installation of web servers within their (different) packages.

    Not much good for Windows though ;).

    yours, Marcus

  • Andrew-J2000

    [I]ZZ/OSS Installer [/I] has been out for a long time, I tried it in its beta stages, however it failed with similar reasons mentioned above. Alternatively, has anyone toyed with [I]‘Phing (http://phing.tigris.org)’[/I]?

  • http://www.ajohnstone.com Andrew-J2000

    [I]ZZ/OSS Installer [/I] has been out for a long time, I tried it in its beta stages, however it failed with similar reasons mentioned above. Alternatively, has anyone toyed with [I]‘Phing (http://phing.tigris.org)’[/I]?

  • http://blog.casey-sweat.us/ sweatje

    I was going to mention the gentoo ebuild scripts, but Marcus beat me to it. I have been very impressed with gentoo as a distro, and I am migrating all of my home and several work systems to it.

    IIRC, Stuart Herbert wrote a PHP|A article on this subject (Toward the Improvement of Web Application Management Dec 03?)

  • http://www.phppatterns.com HarryF

    We are currently moving over to RPMs to set up servers. This means that PHP packages such as PhpMyAdmin, CURL, etc have to be converted to RPMs (most already are).

    Not much good for Windows though ;)

    Could be that Microsoft’s first OSS project could help – Windows Installer XML (WiX).

    Have done nothing more than glance at it but seems you put together an XML document which becomes an MSI installer, allowing you to do stuff like install files into the correct locations, etc.

  • stuart

    Over at Gentoo, we’ve implemented the installer that I described in my article for php|architect. It’s working well for us, and I’d be happy to work with anyone who wishes to add it to other distributions.

    Best regards,
    Stu – stuart@gentoo.org