View Full Version : Buggy dynamic file linking

Glen T
08-24-2011, 03:17 PM
I started changing over several large installer projects (1000 files ++) from explicit file inclusion, to Dynamic File Linking on individual folders (I never use the option to link subfolders). I started testing this under ISX 2008 and have continued this under ISX 2011. I am seeing several bugs.

1) You cannot change the parameters on an existing dynamically linked folder. For example, if I had a condition to exclude all files of *.txt type from a dynamically linked folder, but then tried to edit the dynamic link parameters to remove (or add) another condition, the GUI duplicates all of the files in the dynamically linked folder. It has to be deleted and done again (or worse, the project has to be abandoned and started over again (see 2 below).

2) A finished installer, when tested, has installed a number of random empty folders on the target machine, even though the files are shown in the ISX 2011 GUI. This may be related to 1 above, where once the project is screwed up, you have to throw it away and start over.

3) Dynamically linked files cannot be sorted into Features. You cannot drag and drop them into feature subsets. So it becomes impossible to use Features.

These problems seem to have been perpetuated from 2008 to 2011, so I have doubts that anything has been improved in ISX 2012. But I'm asking, just the same...

Edit: I've been analyzing our .ise project files wit ORCA.exe (a freeware program from MS) and have discovered that, over time, there are multiple redundant entries for many folders in each project. These redundant entries may be the result of repurposing existing folders from standard to dynamic, or from moving folders around as the projects have evolved over time.

So far, I have discovered that copying a folder to another location and deleting the original, and then copying it back, may purge some of these duplicate entries. However, it appears that ISX is not capable of identifying and purging duplicate entries on its own.

These projects have evolved through many versions of ISX, dating back more than ten years, so they appear to have collected a lot of garbage along the way. If they were not so complex, I'd start fresh and create new ones. I've been reduced to doing test installations and then doing directory compares from a known good folder set to see what is missing.

It sure would be nice if ISX could be improved to clean up after itself. These issues have apparently been perpetuated for years.

Glen T
08-25-2011, 05:27 PM
I'm thinking back four or five years, back when senior InstallShield software engineers used to read these forums and participate directly in helping to iron out bugs and problems, even to the extent of fixing client's .ise files. Boy, those were the days... :)