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In this latest release we see the first of feature that integrate with existing Macrovision products (FLEXwrap), and AdminStudio 7 has dropped the InstallShield name for its new branding as part of the FLEXnet line of products. The InstallShield name remains as a product name for Macrovision’s developer-focused products (currently, "InstallShield 11"). 

Who is Macrovision and why would they want InstallShield? That was my question when I heard of the acquisition, but when you read into it a little, it makes sense- Macrovision is a company focused on content protection, software licensing and installation as well as digital rights management (DRM) technologies. This specialty, coupled with the fact that InstallShield develops the world’s leading setup authoring software, paints a pretty clear picture. You’ll see the first signs of license management integration in the form of AdminStudio’s new FLEXwrap feature, which allows you to inject license tracking capabilities into your MSI packages.

There are thee editions of FLEXnet AdminStudio 7 available: Enterprise, Professional and Standard. The retail cost of the Standard edition is $1699, Professional is $3,999 and for Enterprise, they ask that you contact sales for more information. Both Standard and Professional editions are licensed per packager, but the Enterprise edition is licensed using a per-seat model. There are naturally upgrade pricing options as well, which you will definitely want to look into if you are considering an upgrade from an earlier version of AdminStudio. If you download the trial, you will see the professional features by default- if you wish to evaluate the enterprise features of AdminStudio, you must contact Macrovision to request this.

What is the difference between the available editions? You can find a complete break down here:

http://www.macrovision.com/products/flexnet_adminstudio/adminstudio/features/all.html

The short answer is that Standard contains only those features needed to repackage applications, while Professional adds features like conflict resolution and quality assurance testing. Enterprise gives you all AdminStudio has to offer including additional management features including Patch Impact Manager, package version management and a job manager (for scheduling of common tasks without manual intervention). For a full review of the Enterprise Edition, click here.

Both products integrate with a separate offering: the FLEXnet AdminStudio Workflow Manager (now in its v3 release). This separate product provides a web-based interface to managing package requests and package development. As you would expect the integration is very tight, tied to your AdminStudio workflow processes.

We will be focusing on FLEXnet AdminStudio Professional Edition in this review, but have a look at the link above for a detailed breakdown of what each edition offers.

  Home > Reviews > FLEXnet AdminStudio Professional 7.0
 
 

AppDeploy.com
            search engine keywords: deployment, remote, installation, software,
            applications, updates, hotfixes, hot fixes, hotfix, service pack,
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            logon, logoff, bat, NT, shell, batch, installation software,
            software installation, remote installation, installer, wise
            installer, SMS installer, window installer, windows installer, 
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            warez drive image, drive image download, drive image powerquest,
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Installation

You can perform a complete, client-only, or custom installation. The first and last options should be quite familiar to anyone reading this, but the client-only installation may be worth elaborating on: This option eliminates the installation of Predeployment Test Reporting and the SMS Web Console, which are web based tools that require IIS and the .NET framework be present on the machine. In fact, if you choose “complete” and these conditions are not met, it will simply warn you that the installation will exclude these items automatically.

Another new requirement of AdminStudio is product activation. Like so many products today attempting to battle piracy, AdminStudio requires activations- in this case, within 30 days of installation. When you choose to activate, it will attempt to do so via the Internet, which takes only a few seconds. If you are disconnected, there are email and phone activation options. Details on just what is transmitted are explained in the product documentation (the help link takes you online for help). Key here is the fact that the fine print assures you that the process is completely anonymous and never requests, collects or transmits any personal information.

Finally, you will see the InstallShield Update Service present itself so that you may check for any existing updates to AdminStudio. By default, this update utility is set to run on launch once every 30 days. It can be completely disabled if you wish and only slightly annoying is the fact that this is also used to provide related announcements such as training opportunities- and is not strictly limited to product updates.
 

  Home > Reviews > FLEXnet AdminStudio Professional 7.0
 
 

AppDeploy.com
            search engine keywords: deployment, remote, installation, software,
            applications, updates, hotfixes, hot fixes, hotfix, service pack,
            sp1, sp2, sp3, sp4, sp5, sp6, IE, Microsoft, SMS, installer,
            install, pdf, package, definition, file, script, KiXtart, kix,
            logon, logoff, bat, NT, shell, batch, installation software,
            software installation, remote installation, installer, wise
            installer, SMS installer, window installer, windows installer, 
            ghost image, imageing, drive image, drive image pro, 
            warez drive image, drive image download, drive image powerquest,
            powerquest drive image, warez drive image, appz, drive image 3, imaging software, disk imaging software, free imaging software, perl script, vb script, free script, shell script

Layout

AdminStudio provides an unmatched workspace when it comes to helping you through your packaging projects. The start page shown below provides easy access to key processes and tools as well as recent files with which you have recently worked...

 

The Assistant tab takes you through package creation steps with its “Process Assistant” – by guiding you through the necessary tasks to create a custom package based on the type of file you select. If you choose an MSI, you are presented with steps to customize the MSI with a transform. Whereas if you select an executable file, you are first presented with steps to repackage and customize the setup into an MSI file. Though this is a great concept, you will still need to take care when working with executables because the process assistant bases its recommendations solely on the setup file extension and does not look further to determine if it is a wrapped MSI (very common with Internet distributions). This is even the case when the setup is an InstallShield wrapped MSI and is something I would really like to see added as an enhancement in the future.

The Tools page, gives you access to each of the tools provided in the AdminStudio Suite. These tools are also accessible from outside this interface, as shortcuts are provided by the installation in the AdminStudio program group off your start menu.

The Projects tab provides a list of the projects you have created along with some key details for easy browsing such as the source package, target directory, filename and any custom notes you care to include.

Finally, the Workflow Templates tab offers many built in process templates, as well as an ability to create and customize your own workflow templates...

For example, the “Package Evaluation” workflow template shown above provides a helpful path for evaluating a package for your environment. A tool, help file and any notes you care to include may optionally be associated with each step in the workflow.