View Full Version : Issues with ISMP & large installs

05-06-2003, 10:29 AM
Hi folks - my first venture into the ISMP forums, wish me luck!

For starters, let me state that my background is Windows Installer - way back from the IPWI 2.* days, all the way up to Developer 7.*. There was always an issue with Windows Installer and its capabilities with our ever-increasing install sizes, and we finally met our limits (of patience as well!).

Let me state that our install is currently building w/ ISMP and I am quite pleased with the performance, given the size of the product. The installs take a bit longer than ISWI installs, but an accurate progress bar makes up for that - a novel concept for Windows users! ;) The uninstalls are superb, ranging under 5 min. for a 1+ GB install image.

But ... (isn't there always a "but"? :) )

As stated above the product (even with compression) is well over 650 MB, so its a 2-CD install - thus media spanning is a requirement. The build panel for ISMP (vs. Developer) is fairly (actually, 'extremely' is prob. a better choice of word) primitive compared to what I'm used to. The only options to support media spanning seem to be to select either custom archiving, or CD rom archive. We picked the latter, seeming the most logical.

The output of this method is a 'compressed' file for each file in our product. Given that our product is Java-based, we have a vast dir/file structure (com/.../.../.../.../<file>) - all in all, it adds up to 32K+ files in the install image!! Perhaps I've overlooked something, but I see no way to JAR + span.

The problem I'm hitting is two-fold - both stem from the media output of our build type, I suspect:

1) The product install from CD media is <painfully> slow - upwards of an hour (compared to avg. 30 min. from the hard drive). I believe this is due to the IO required for acessing all the compressed data.

2) We're having issues extracting a zip of the install image on FAT32-based systems, while it works fine on NTFS. Again, I suspect this is due to the large number of files in the image.

I'm unclear at this point if there's a viable workaround at this point. :(

Hope there's help out there; and thanks for your patience if you reached this far!


09-19-2003, 03:29 PM
Since no one graced this with any thoughts, guess I'll just have to incestuously reply to myself. :p

We have already shipped our product on ISMP and are much happy with its performance, as opposed to Windows Installer. The uninstalls are mind-blowingly fast, which really is a huge blessing in the world of large products. :)

Now, the basic solution to our dilemma above (ISMP generating one compressed file per real file) was to use a handy-dandy custom beam kindly supplied by Jeff Dillon, known as the "ExpandArchive" bean.

Mind you, the bean has tremendous potential but seems like it got crafted in a one-night coffee binge or something - it's more of a diamond in the rough. For example, the status bar wasn't updating properly or showing the file names so it had to be tweaked to our desires, but all-in-all a solid piece of coding that got us through a big pothole. It would be nice to see this custom bean cleaned up and added to your repository in all it's heady goodness - it has a lot of potential.

Kudos to the IS developers who are working hard on this product, and making it better each service release!