Commander4j requires Java 1.6 or above. Only the JRE (Java Runtime Enviroment) is required for deployment, however the JDK (Java Development Kit) will also work. Commander4j will run on any operating system which has Java installed. It is currently developed and tested using Windows, OSX and Linux.
Commander4j can currently use any one of 3 readily available databases including mySQL, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. As far as possible the database schema is created automatically by the Setup4j application. You are required to install the database software yourself, create a blank database and provide a user account with permissions to create tables etc - but that is all. The database schema is versioned and each new release of Commander4j will require you to re-run the Setup4j application to identify and update the database schema as required. No manual SQL scripts need to be run by the user.
Commander4j Interfaces can be run from with desktop client if required. However in a production environment you should install the interface to run as a service. As Commander4j is 100% java it does not contain any O/S specific functionality which would allow it to run as a service without help. To this end Commander4j uses a 3rd party utility called "Java Service Wrapper". http://wrapper.tanukisoftware.com/doc/english/integrate-listener.html. It is not necessary to install this separately. Providing you select "Full" as the installation option this will be installed automatically (under Windows). There is some configuration required from with the Setup4j configuration to identify which host database is to be used by the service - but that all.
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Tomcat is a web server with a built in Java Virtual Machine. That means it can run server side java code called Servlets. Tomcat needs to be installed on the server if you wish to access the application using mobile web browsers such as "Symbol Pocket Browser". If you don't need this functionality you can skip installation of Tomcat. Tomcat should be installed AFTER Java on the server.
Commander4j includes it's own native XML interfaces for exchanging messages with external systems, however it does not claim to have local middleware capabilities. Therefore in order to interface with external systems you will most likely need to use a local middleware solution. A good 3rd party commercial application which I have used in the past is called Konnect and is available from Khi-Ro Ltd, however it's not a requirement and you can use any tool you like to generate messages in the correct format. Konnect has pre defined transformations for messaging between SAP, TROPOS and Logopak Automatic Labelling Systems.