Setup and Deployment Projects

Finally found something in Visual Studio that makes me unhappy (actually, makes me cry).

I haven’t seen so much brokeness in a Microsoft product since Windows 3.11.

– Shortcuts are lacking a “Condition” parameter so you can’t make shortcut installation optional;
– Missing lots of VS 2008 functionality, it feels like nobody has worked on it since 3.11;
– No way to parametrize filenames so you have to wind up hardcoding executable filenames, for instance;
– Some of the properties for Checkboxes have “True” and “False” while others have “Checked” and “Unchecked” and, I couldn’t change the default value of CHECKBOX1 on Checkboxes (A);
– License and Readme require.rtf files, no .txt files for j00!;
– License and Readme quietly let you select any file you want, but they actually look for a file called “license.rtf” and “readme.rtf”

Now, please note I’m not criticizing for omitted features – it would be nice to be able to add quick launches or use HTML files or specify a background image instead of a banner, to have easy ways to do things like “Launch application after installation?” – but hey, this is a bundled installer builder, and it does what it needs to – those kinds of features you go and buy from Wise or whomever else.

But still, I wish just this much worked. I suspect that part of the reason it doesn’t get bundled with Visual Studio Express¬†editions is because some UEX people looked at it and immediately tore their own clothes and cried out, “Why? Why?”.

With a little cleanup, and no fangled no features, it would be a nice – and IMHO necessary – addition to the express products.

3 Comments

Very happy with http://dennisbareis.com/makemsi.htm MakeMSI.

Very useful. Fully featured, everything is in a nice easy script file.

Had many problems with Installshields UI fugging up the installation because it “Automatically” tried to resolve references. When a reference broke, it would silently just omit that component from the installation. Thank you very much.
Also, it was very very heavy handed UI wise. Tons of views and boxes to go through just to add a single file for the next version of your program.

The VS installer was no better (2003 version). It had no support for patches, because it always overwrote the GUIDs used for package and program ID.

Yup, it’s a poorly thought out part of the VS series, it’s like a bolt on that no one wanted to touch.

I generally get it working and have done with it, nothing spectacular.

If you want something a bit more robust, take a look at;

http://www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php

Comes with a scripting language, it’s free but can be a little cumbersome, but once you have it working it’s a nice little setup kit, deployment system.

Like Sres said it, Inno Setup is the choice. And with two third party tools it is one of the best setup kit I know.

ISTool: http://www.istool.org/
So you don’t need to script anymore.

ISFD: http://isfd.kaju74.de/index.php?isfd
So you can design your own forms.

Greetings,
Drave

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