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The Official InstallShield for Windows Installer Developer's Guide
by Bob Baker

AppDeploy.com has received numerous comments that The new Windows Installer edition of InstallShield's product is intimidating and overkill for some installations. The reality of it is that Windows Installer itself is just not simple, through many Wizards and extensive online documentation InstallShield has done an excellent job of making the complicated as close to simple as it gets. Despite this there are still actions you can perform and customization you can inject that just isn't possible to offer through another wizard. 

As you might expect the book starts out with an introduction to the Windows Installer and installation itself. Virtually every management service of Windows 2000 is covered in varying detail. These pages provide an excellent overview of the deployment and installation related technologies in Windows 2000. It includes everything from some interesting information concerning the similarities between IntelliMirror and SMS and where they overlap in functionality, to an in-depth discussion covering the design and implementation of the Windows Installer Service itself. This book does a great job of covering the topics of interest to installation and deployment in Windows 2000.

Package creation with InstallShield - Windows Installer Edition is covered in depth. The author Bob Baker is a technical trainer at InstallShield and these chapters show it. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 walk you through the creation of a sample application in phases, with plenty of detail along the way.

A section devoted to extending the functionality of the Windows Installer through use of custom actions follows next. Custom actions are the way to inject custom code so you may perform actions not built into the Windows Installer already. Some examples of this offered in the book include checking to see if a reboot is needed, performing license verification, removing an old product that used a legacy installation or to validate a serial number entered during installation.

Five chapters are devoted to advanced concepts, the first four of them go from an introduction, to some advanced details of the InstallScript language. InstallScript is similar to the "C" programming language and when compiled uses a scripting engine to interpret the InstallScript code and pass it to the processor as machine code. Creating and compiling scripts is covered, including documentation on the script editor itself with example code and instructions. It includes details covering how to access COM objects with your InstallScript code and the section ends with a departure from the InstallScript topic going into how to create and share components within the Windows Installer. 

Finally, two chapters on solving real-world problems round out this book. The issues of globalization and localization are explained with scenarios and details surrounding how to create a localized installation. How to perform updates and upgrades, along with sufficient detail into the particulars make up the final chapter of this book.

The included CD contains a full PDF copy of the book along with Adobe reader, IE5.5 and the Windows Installer Software Development Kit from Microsoft. Broken down by chapter are included examples used in the book and demos of several InstallShield products are present as well; DemoShield, InstallShield Express, InstallShield for Windows Installer, InstallShield Java Edition, InstallShield Professional Standard Edition, InstallShield Tuner and PackageForTheWeb.

The Official InstallShield for Windows Installer Developer's Guide provides insight, tips and useful examples to get you familiar with InstallShield - Windows Installer Edition, and the Windows Installer itself.

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble

Bob Kelly