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Joel on Software

.msi installer options comparison?

I’m currently working on a fairly complex .NET standalone application which uses a substantial number of MS components (MSDE, WME, etc). Has anyone done a comparison of or had any experience rolling out this kind of project with (a) straight .msi (b) some sort of front end for .msi like Installshield or InstallAnywhere or (c) a proprietary installer such as the old Wise? Also, the product will likely need frequent updates. Any experience with automated software updaters or custom-built update architectures?

Any and all experience/thoughts/links/feedback is greatly appreciated…
Thanks!

Jason
Friday, August 13, 2004

I can't offer any comparisions as we currently only create setups using Visual Studio, i.e. your first option. However, you might like to consider the WiX Toolset that Microsoft has released as Open Source as another option:

http://isleofblogs.blogspot.com/2004/04/microsofts-first-product-as-open.html

We are looking to move to this in the future.

Mike

Mike
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Jason, you may want to checkout InnoSetup as well.  Its free, and the scripting is done with a Delphi/Object Pascal scripting language vs. the other tools which use proprietary, some what bizarre (at least to me) languages.

I believe there are some extensions which might support web updates as well, not 100% sure though. 

HTH,

Kris

Kris
Sunday, August 15, 2004

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