View Full Version : Best Practices Forum?

01-19-2005, 08:51 AM
I have posted and seen posted many questions about Best Practices and Best Way To Do Something So It Will Work. But these posts are scattered around the forums. Would it be useful to have one forum for best practice questions and answers?

I also figure this will be helpful for people using older versions of installshield (I am using Developer 7.04) whose forums aren't as busy (and so questions there have, I think, a higher chance of getting missed).


Nate Bloyd
01-19-2005, 02:14 PM
I think that is a good concept, Kristan, but the issue with it is that there are best practices for InstallScript projects that may not hold true for msi projects, and vice versa. If your question is generic enough, post it to one of the newer products forums and if the technology is not available in Dev 7, keep digging. I am "stuck" with DevStudio 9 myself, but post to and search in the IS X and 10.5 forums often.
Hope this helps.

01-19-2005, 02:21 PM

Thanks for the reply. I had come to the same conclusion too. Unfortunately it leads to more of the fracturing, as old best practices get 'left behind' as a new version is release. But then I guess so long as it's somewhere the search should be able to find it.

Maybe a category or marking scheme (just to redesign the community site for a moment, heh) would be good. A post would be marked as a best practice or 'helpful hint' or whatever and then you should do searches just within items of those categories.

But.. I digress.


Christopher Painter
01-19-2005, 02:33 PM
Perhaps a few of us should get together and put together a setup wiki.

01-19-2005, 02:39 PM
That is a very interesting idea!

I think it would be especially great for people just coming in to have a "the help is your friend" kind of resource. I know when i started i found the help oddly hard to navigate. It seemed like everything was easy to find if I already knew what i was looking for, which is great if you know what you are doing, but not as helpful when you are just getting your feet wet.

I notice alot of the questions here are "how do i..." kinds of things, which are documented quite well in the help, but are hard to find.

Has anyone setup a wiki before?

Christopher Painter
01-21-2005, 10:27 PM
I set a simple sample one once. It was some ASP.NET sample code. I need to sit down and give this one some thought. Maybe there is room for another setup portal.

Christopher Painter
01-21-2005, 10:37 PM
Just goes to show that I rarely have an original idea....


01-22-2005, 07:04 AM
Excellent! Though I couldn't work out what project type that was for. It needs some proper formatting guidelines - decisions need to be made about how to put together topics. Are there seperate pages for Windows Installer and Installscript? If not, how to cater for the different properties and so on?

If those were put together it could be pretty good.

01-24-2005, 09:32 AM
Did anyone find any content there ? I didn't find any..

01-24-2005, 09:35 AM
Nah, but maybe if some of us have time we can provide some. But, like I said, before we'd write the content, we'd need to work out how we were going to lay it out.

01-24-2005, 09:39 AM
I wonder if we could draw the person/people that started the wiki into the discussion to get the ball rolling.

Christopher Painter
01-24-2005, 11:13 AM
Right, it looks like that guy set the wiki up, played with it a little then quit. It would be interesting to see if he'd come over to Community and talk with us about it.

01-24-2005, 11:17 AM
He's posted a contact email address. Should one of us contact him and ping his interest?
I say one so the poor guy doesn't get 100 emails :)

Christopher Painter
01-24-2005, 11:39 AM
Why don't you go for it. I can make some time to help edit pages and post some content, but I don't really have the free time to follow up in any kind of leadership roll.

01-24-2005, 02:21 PM
Ok I emailed them/him/her and briefly outlined what was said above as well as gave them the link for this thread.

As far as the formatting aspect.. i'd like to suggest that the topics not be completely seperated based on development environment version (eg. developer 7, developer 8, 10.5, adminstudio etc) or project type (msi, installscript, compact) as this is one of the things that i find really hampers searches on the community site.

Instead i'd like to see some kind of formatting where you'd see all the information as it relates commonly and then to specific versions/types. This i think could be really useful for people trying to get an idea of what version/type of install product/project to use and what some of the headaches and benifits are when moving between them.

I've also occasionally found a solution-through-osmosis or something by reading a support answer that didn't apply to my install type but sparked an idea on how to solve my issue.

That said, i dont know how well it would work to enforce or properly describe such a format within a wiki. As i dont have any experience in the posting process/design.

01-24-2005, 05:08 PM
Ha. Someone found my little wiki (got the email Kristan)

I haven't really been able to put up content since I've been swamped with projects at both work and at home, as well as this desire to seek this mythical thing called "free time". As well as being preoccupied with toying wtih Mac OS X.

The site is most certainly active, and my hosting costs are relatively negligable, so I'm all for developing it into something worthwhile. I'm still fairly green to InstallShield, so recently I've been compiling notes and small articles to toss up there when I have time.

I'm all for discussing what ideas you folks might have. My recommendation is a handful of you start figuring out what you'd like to accomplish, and feel free to e-mail me. I'm flexible, so long as it makes sense. Anything to benefit the developer community is a good thing in my eyes.

01-25-2005, 04:15 PM
this desire to seek this mythical thing called "free time"
Nah, that doesn't really exist. It's just an old folk's tale, like fairies, trolls, and Bill Gates.

Anyway, it's good that we could possibly have another source of information, and one that's more dynamic than the IS KB and more ordered than the Community. I'll keep checking back here when I get the time and see what it's looking like.

In the meantime, what does everyone reckon we do for the different project types? I reckon that the different project types are, well, different enough to each warrant their own page, so I suggest something like

Basic MSI
Windows Installer technology (general description about how MSI works)
IDE views (walks you through the Basic MSI IDE)
Application Data
Files And Folders

And so on (the other project types would be similar). For each page, you can have a note for any version-specific stuff for IS (such as "this feature is only available in IS X or later", or "This was called xyz in Developer 7"). We could also have a page where people can add problems they've had and how they dealt with them, or sample scripts etc.

What do you think?

01-26-2005, 02:46 PM
Looks like some good, sane guidelines.

As a note, the wiki engine I use is open-source, so it is entirely possible to modify the engine to suit the community's needs if features from the main branch aren't up to snuff.

Once you folks have a good grasp on what you'd like to do, just go forth and do it. The only thing I ask is you don't perform HomePage edits before consulting me (or borders for that matter) -- everything else don't even worrying about asking me, as I'm just going to approve it regardless. I'll probably end up specifically locking down certain files (HomePage, borders, etc) in the future -- more as a concern of spam spiders that target wikis than anything else.

01-26-2005, 02:52 PM
What is the wiki engine you are using (if you don't mind specifing in a public forum...) maybe having a look at any existing documentation for it would help us in brainstorming about the format, knowing what the engine is cabable of certainly couldn't hurt us, i think.

Christopher Painter
01-26-2005, 03:09 PM
He's running FlexWiki.


01-27-2005, 05:29 PM
He's running FlexWiki.

Dead on.

Just as an FYI, I really can't check this forum often, as I have a lot of other stuff to do. If you have questions, just fire off an e-mail as I rarely browse these forums.

01-31-2005, 05:31 PM
I don't really have the drive or the time (it really is mythical, you know) to take the lead on something like this, but I'm more than happy to provide some content.

If you're all happy with that rough structure I put up, I can give misterspoot a holler about editing the homepage.

12-01-2005, 05:04 AM
Whatever happened to this idea...?
It's just that was considering trying to provide a location where IS users can share/get things like Merge Module projects, Pre-Requisite files for commonly redistributed 3rd party components (.NET, MSDE etc etc), and maybe some How-To's etc...as these kind of topics show up pretty frequently on the forums it seems.

Stefan Krueger
12-02-2005, 09:41 AM
Hello Jay,

please feel free to send me any such samples, modules and the like, and I'd be glad to post them at InstallSite.org