Monday, November 19, 2012

Installing VisualVM plug-ins into the shared directory

This article describes how to install VisualVM plug-ins into the shared installation directory instead of the user's home directory. This is useful if the VisualVM installation is used by multiple users on the same system or if you want to create a custom VisualVM distribution with a set of preinstalled plug-ins. Actually the "Force install into shared directories" option in the plug-in installation dialog (see the "Settings" tab) should enable that, but the option doesn't seem to work in VisualVM 1.3.4.

The following procedure can be used as a workaround:
  • Start with a clean VisualVM configuration, i.e. remove (or backup) the ${HOME}/.visualvm/x.y.z folder (Note that on Windows, ${HOME} points to the user's Application Data directory).
  • Launch VisualVM and install the relevant plug-ins. They will be placed into ${HOME}/.visualvm/x.y.z/modules.
  • Create a new directory called custom (you may of course choose a different name if you want) under the VisualVM installation directory (i.e. at the same level as the platform and visualvm directories).
  • Copy the following folder structures from ${HOME}/.visualvm/x.y.z to the custom directory (so that the resulting folder structure matches the one in platform and visualvm):
    • config/Modules
    • modules
    • update_tracking
  • Edit the etc/visualvm.clusters file and add the custom folder to the list.
  • Clear the user configuration, i.e. reexecute the first step.
If you start VisualVM now, the plug-ins you have copied to the custom folder should be available immediately.

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