View Full Version : Creating setups for networks.

06-02-2005, 12:42 PM

I'm in the process of trying to convert an old app so that it is network friendly and will facilitate installation with the min effort from network support staff. The app is designed for education, so the 'end users' will generally be non-technical and should not be involved with any part of the installation process.

From my understanding of what I have read, the easiest way to install software to a network is via the .msi package route. The software will likely be assigned to groups of users.

However, we are confused over issues concerning what is possible using this method.

Our normal installation routine requests data from the user (network technician) concerning the network. This data is requested via a dialog that we have generated and the data is then stored in an ini file and used by our app. Is this kind of interaction with the network support staff possible before the package is assigned? ie so that the actual user is not involved? Or is it more normal to request the network staff installing the software, should edit a config file before assigning the package? Or is there another way entirely?

I would value the experience of others who have created installers for networks.

Sorry for what may appear as daft questions.

Many thanks to those that take the time to answer!

06-06-2005, 07:21 AM
"Is this kind of interaction with the network support staff possible before the package is assigned? "

No. This is a classic situation where a site specific transform (MST file should be used).

In your base MSI define properties for the required data. Then a MST file could be created for each site which modifies these properties. Depends whether you are able to allow each site to contact you to create a simple specific transform for them.

Properties can also be set from the command line...is that something you can do when you publish via active directory...not sure you can...can certainly do it via sms or the command line.

Otherwise, and I hate this idea, you could have a custom action which reads a file on the machine and then passes in these values to the MSI.

08-18-2005, 10:54 AM
I know this is long after the original question, but I thought this reply may help other developers.

It sounds to me that you could accomplish your objectives using the Windows Installer's Administrative installation. The administrative installation creates an Administrative Installation Point (AIP) and allows a network admin enter information which is stored in the MSI copied to the AIP. The admin can then distribute the MSI from the AIP.