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View Full Version : I give up, what's different for MSI installs?



HookEm
05-07-2004, 01:12 PM
I've spent too much time sifting through the b.s. product literature on the InstallShield site trying to figure out what is new for those of us who only care about basic MSI projects on Windows only platforms. All I see are vague references to "enhanced" features with no real information on what is different.

I don't care about multi-platform support. I don't care about InstallScript or the update server.

What is in IS X that is new for MSI projects that I should pay an additional $600 to upgrade to Professional or $1400 to upgrade to Premier?

Just cut the BS and tell me.

bobcorrigan
05-07-2004, 01:26 PM
And here I was thinking that the ability to create an MSI from a Universal project was a big deal...

I'm going to get one of my Windows colleagues to respond to this one.

Stay tuned,

Bob
InstallShield Universal Product Manager

johnludlow
05-07-2004, 01:32 PM
I was explaining this to my managers earlier today. Did a document and all sorts. Shame I'm at home now, or I'd send it to you.

Basically, you're looking at the following:

- SQL Servers view (lets you run scripts on SQL Server databases from the install)

- Better IIS Support (create websites, conditional vdirs, more settings on each vdir and website)

- Better Quickpatching (run custom actions from the patch, run a patch on a system that's already had a Quickpatch applied to it)

- Mobile Devices View which has PalmOS support and allows better integration with your main app than a seperate project

- VBScript and Script code editor has syntax highlighting

- Send out one update notification per product release via update service free

- Setup Prerequisites (had a hell of a time explaining this to my managers). These are installations that you want to run before your main setup starts. You could package these as MSMs, but maybe they intefere with your main setup or are used by your main setup, or maybe they're just too freaky for MSMs. The ones that come ready with the software are IE6, MSDE 2000, MDAC 2.8, and the Java Runtime Environment 1.4.something (can't remember the exact version)

- Save as an older version of InstallShield

- Redistributables view now has a download function so that the original download is smaller, and there is no need to download 400MB+ packages of MSMs or find them yourselves.

- Windows Device Driver install wizard

- More reliable COM+ support

Shout at me if I forgot anything.

Most of the extra features available in Premier are to do with multiplatform. CD autoplay menus (a menu that comes up when you stick in the CD), multilingual installs, and a slightly better update service (it downloads the update, whereas the version in Professional just gives the user a link to a webpage where they can download it) are what you get apart from multiplatform. We decided that wasn't enough to justify the extra money for Premier, so we're going for the Professional version. Assuming we can get the big head honcho to scribble on some dotted line or other, that is...

BTW, I agree that the feature list was a bit confusing. I downloaded the evaluation though so I was all right. :D

johnludlow
05-07-2004, 01:36 PM
Originally posted by bobcorrigan
And here I was thinking that the ability to create an MSI from a Universal project was a big deal...

I'm going to get one of my Windows colleagues to respond to this one.

Stay tuned,

Bob
InstallShield Universal Product Manager

I'm quite impressed that you did that, actually. I was a bit confused because it seems to be per-feature, and that seems an odd way of doing it to me. But I'm sure there was a reason for it.

We're not really swayed by Multiplatform either, basically because at the moment we rely heavily on certain Windows-only technologies (.NET, SQL Server, IIS, and so on). In 2-3 years, that might change.

bobcorrigan
05-07-2004, 01:38 PM
Originally posted by johnludlow
We're not really swayed by Multiplatform either, basically because at the moment we rely heavily on certain Windows-only technologies (.NET, SQL Server, IIS, and so on). In 2-3 years, that might change. [/B]

Well, good news is if you've got InstallShield X, you've got multi-platform capabilities, in case the swaying happens earlier.

If we were to write something to migrate the Windows-side projects into the Universal project type (so you could use components of your Windows-only install to target the *nix world), would that accelerate anything for you?

Curious,

bob

tylerr
05-07-2004, 01:41 PM
Remember that you can also go to the web site and look at the upgrade-features list for your previous version. http://www.installshield.com/products/x/features.asp?fv=4&#devstudio

I understand what you are saying, however ... We divide the feature list out to a degree, but it doesn't say specifically what's new for Script vs. MSI like the old DevStudio features did.

johnludlow
05-07-2004, 02:12 PM
Well, good news is if you've got InstallShield X, you've got multi-platform capabilities, in case the swaying happens earlier.
Yes, that is good, even if the support is more limited in the Professional version. But it's there so we can at least do something. It also lets me use the intervening time getting more used to installations on other OS's.


If we were to write something to migrate the Windows-side projects into the Universal project type (so you could use components of your Windows-only install to target the *nix world), would that accelerate anything for you?
Hmmm...

Are you talking about just converting my installation project, or are you talking about something that will let my Windows API or .NET application run on, say, Linux? There is WINE, though I don't know what kind of benefit that would have for us.

Thing is, there's quite a lot that needs to happen before we can think about *nix. We need to know lots more about the target OS's. We need to be able to run .NET applications on *nix (we are getting into .NET pretty heavily, so it's a big thing for us to be able to do that).

On the subject of .NET on *nix, the most promising one I've seen is Mono (www.go-mono.org). It's out in beta, and the first version is slated for late this year. However, it's not all there yet, so developing a large app for it may be difficult. I'm keeping a close eye on it.

bobcorrigan
05-07-2004, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by johnludlow
Yes, that is good, even if the support is more limited in the Professional version. But it's there so we can at least do something. It also lets me use the intervening time getting more used to installations on other OS's.

The limitations between the Universal Professional and Universal Premier editions are not crippling - AIX & AS/400 PPKs, the MSI creation out of the Universal Project and Ant & XML support are the biggies.



Are you talking about just converting my installation project, or are you talking about something that will let my Windows API or .NET application run on, say, Linux? There is WINE, though I don't know what kind of benefit that would have for us.


Well, I was thinking the former, but the latter sounds pretty cool too.



Thing is, there's quite a lot that needs to happen before we can think about *nix. We need to know lots more about the target OS's. We need to be able to run .NET applications on *nix (we are getting into .NET pretty heavily, so it's a big thing for us to be able to do that).

On the subject of .NET on *nix, the most promising one I've seen is Mono (www.go-mono.org). It's out in beta, and the first version is slated for late this year. However, it's not all there yet, so developing a large app for it may be difficult. I'm keeping a close eye on it.

Me too.

johnludlow
05-07-2004, 02:32 PM
The limitations between the Universal Professional and Universal Premier editions are not crippling - AIX & AS/400 PPKs, the MSI creation out of the Universal Project and Ant & XML support are the biggies.
I dunno, I also like the look of Java events. I'm sure you can create a good universal install with Professional. You just won't have those extra features to make it even better.

We're planning on getting Professional, so if we switch early, we'll have the basic features available. But I think we may want to go for Premier if/when we migrate to Universal projects, as our app could use those extra features if it was running on *nix.


Well, I was thinking the former, but the latter sounds pretty cool too.
Heh, yeah. Not sure how you'd do it, though.

It's good that you know about Mono and were watching it (I thought you would be). Are there any plans to support distribution of something like Mono? That might bring migration to Universal forward, if we were to convert all our API code to .NET (Our legacy code is in Delphi, BTW), and if the Mono .NET implementation was very stable.

A project migration would be a good thing. I'd thought that the two project types were so different that a convertor would be impossible. However, I don't know what the situation is with Universal projects. Main question is "do they support rollbacks of an installation"? Regulars on the DevStudio forum may know that I'm very big on rollback as a feature of installations.

Thanks

johnludlow
05-07-2004, 06:42 PM
Ok, sorry for the double post, but I figured I should point this bit out now that I've thought about what Bob said.

Bob was asking whether we would consider switching to a multiplatform application and installation earlier if there was a converter to convert windows projects (Basic MSI and Installscript) to Universal.

The answer right now, unfortunately, would have to be no. We would have to be able to run our application on the target system and at the moment there's nothing that can do that reliably enough as far as we know.

We'd also have to understand much more than we do now about the system in question. That includes not only me but our application developers (though I have noticed a few Linux books on desks here and there about the office), our testers, perhaps even our mapping data team (and they are definitely not nearly a geeky as me. I know that's not saying much, but still, learning a whole new OS is a big thing).

Speaking of testing, we have the issue of testing our system on each platform. There just isn't the infrastructure to do that kind of testing at the moment. Not with a system the size of ours (big) and a testing team the size of ours (very very small).

None of that is dependent on InstallShield - it's dependent on us as a company moving in that direction at some kind of speed.