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Wise/InstallShield?

I'm currently evaluating installers for a fairly complex project and I was wondering if anyone had any recent experience with the latest versions of Wise & Installshield. 

I've played around with both for an hour and so far as I can tell, Installshield is more complex and less automated than Wise, but should be fairly familiar to developers.

Wise on the other hand is more WYSIWYG-ish.  The "MSI Script" tab allows you to view the MSI script code.  However, in order to modify the code, you have to right click on a line of "code" and hit "Properties" and so on.  This is not very intuitive and not very programmer friendly.  Is there any way to switch it to a 'dumb' text editor?  I can't even paste in script code that I found on the net.  Seems a bit unprofessional - which is why I wonder if I'm missing an obvious option.

Ideas/Opinions/Suggestions?  This is for a relatively involved installation process for a web app, so a plain vanilla installer like the one included in VS.NET or NSIS won't do.  Thanks.

GiorgioG
Monday, November 03, 2003

I prefer Wise, but YMMV.

MX
Monday, November 03, 2003

I've used InstallShield Developer 8 for MSI. It sucked beyond belief. I can't imagine 9 is any better.

If you've go anything "relatively complicated" InstallShield will explode the complexity to space shuttle proportions. Run, don't walk away from it.

Heck, the InstallShield Developer 8 didn't even install ITSELF correctly.

Chris Tavares
Monday, November 03, 2003

Installshield is a horrid monster.

Try InnoSetup.

Myron A. Semack
Monday, November 03, 2003

I'm looking for something that will:

Allow for easy creation of virtual directories in IIS, start/stop services, execute SQL script, rollback on errors,
detect if runtime of {insert library/etc here}, check version #s, something professional and something that won't take 6 months to learn/implement a solution.

So InnoSetup is out of the question, Wise & IShield are my two options at the moment...

GiorgioG
Monday, November 03, 2003

Ive not used version nine, but have experience with version 8.

Personally Id rather chew my own toes off than go near it again, it  was a dreadful time.  <g> I still have nightmares.

Overall, it made easy stuff difficult, hard stuff bloody difficult, and extremely complex install solutions possible.

IE, if I were looking at an industrial level installtion process that had to be performed across the internet and had hugely complex install and uninstall options then Id probably consider using it again quite seriously, for anything less Id go with something (anything!) else.

FullNameRequired
Monday, November 03, 2003

...I was referring to installshield of course...

FullNameRequired
Monday, November 03, 2003

We used to use Wise 3.5 but recently switched to using the Visual Studio.Net setup projects, our compile times went from >15 minutes to <2 minutes and it does all the same things as wise (some things it does even better), and when each build of our software includes 4 installation compiles, that is a saving of nearly an hour on each compile.

ChrisO
Monday, November 03, 2003

>>Allow for easy creation of virtual directories in IIS, start/stop services, execute SQL script, rollback on errors,
detect if runtime of {insert library/etc here}, check version #s, something professional and something that won't take 6 months to learn/implement a solution.<<

I have used InnoSetup to do most of those things - and yes it is a professional product - and yes it will take a while to learn it.

Please let us know if you find something that does all that AND is easy to learn.

Oh well, get used to it...
Monday, November 03, 2003

Personally, I'd use NSIS and some NSIS plug-ins. NSIS is easy to learn, no complicated IDE to get in the way, and it's very, VERY simple to extend to to anything that you don't automatically get out of the box.

Chris Tavares
Monday, November 03, 2003

"Personally, I'd use NSIS and some NSIS plug-ins. NSIS is easy to learn, no complicated IDE to get in the way, and it's very, VERY simple to extend to to anything that you don't automatically get out of the box."

Yeah, but the llama icons are damn ugly. How do you get rid of those?

/dev/null
Monday, November 03, 2003

I haven't used InstallShield myself, but two of the programmers who work for me have. They hate the product. We've used some of the competitors when we were able, and nothing else has been as bad.

A problem with InstallShield from my perspective is that each version has been incompatible with previous versions. After you have spent a lot of money developing an installer for a product, when the next version of InstallShield comes out, you get to spend even more updating the installer, assuming you need some newer InstallShield features. From a management perspective this is a nightmare. You quickly have multiple products shipping using different (incompatible) versions of InstallShield.

The advantage of InstallShield is that because it is so popular as an installer, if you use it, you know that the installation process for your product will be no worse than that of most other products.

Dan Brown
Monday, November 03, 2003

Hey, that could be a great marketing slogan... "we guarantee that our software is no worse than most of the other crap out there."  <g>

Robert Jacobson
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I am using this really nifty tool: http://www.advancedinstaller.com

It's freeware, extremely easy to use, and creates Windows Installer (MSI) packages.

However, it is only at version 1.0 - so a lot of features are missing. But if your install needs aren't too demanding, it's great!

Nick
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I know this does not help you much, but we were able to use a SetupBuilder 5 pre-release to install the beta of our complex project to 2,000 computers.

The InstallShield DevStudio 9 result was an *absolute* nightmare and so we contacted Wise and LinderSoft to ask for help. Wise did not respond, we do not know why. LinderSoft came back to us within 12 hours. Because their new installer version is currently not available to the public, they created a fully functional setup.exe for us! Works like a charm on all Windows OS.

Olive Coffey
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

He mentioned Installshield. Can I shoot him now please?


Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I'll second the recommendation for NSIS.  I've used it to great success.  The Llama icons can be gotten rid of easily, using the Modern User Interface options.  Dealing with things like IIS virtual directories is probably best handled by writing a little C code and dropping it into a DLL.  NSIS will happily talk to your DLL.

The rollback feature I'm not as sure about, because I haven't needed it yet.  I'm not interested in opening up that contentious debate again, but I encourage you to investigate it yourself.

Clay Dowling
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

To: Olive Coffey

Just read that SetupBuilder (nice stuff, btw) is written in Clarion.  What is Clarion?

Dale Clark
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

From what I have heard about Clarion, it seems to be an interesting system. Clarion is a programming language and Integrated Development Environment from Softvelocity (http://www.softvelocity.com). It's a Rapid Application Development tool (RAD) with a 4th Generation language.

As I understand it, LinderSoft is using Clarion and Visual C++ 7.1 (.NET 2003) to develop Setupbuilder.

Olive Coffey
Wednesday, November 05, 2003

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