Hi there,

I'm looking for some general advice.

I currently work within software licensing for an oil service company, covering the inventory/maintenance/useage summary etc side of the IT function.

At present within our company (around 5,000 employees) we only have 1 person who really deals with all SMS/Package scripting issues, as I'm quite computer/IT savvy my line manager thought it in idea to get involved with this and help him out.

I'm based in the UK, and I've attended the Altiris/Symantec Repackaging with Wise Studio course, but I only really found 1 out of the 5 days useful; it should be important to note I'm a COMPLETE novice, n00b - I've played around with Wise package studio a little, its what we use here.

I suppose my questions are as follows:

1. Does anyone know of any other beginners guides to scripting with Wise/websites/courses?

2. Is this something worthwhile to try and make a career out of/get involved in? The only programming of any type I have done is with Java using Kawa Pro at Uni in 2001! I believe scripting is not straight forward, and been told it can take years to get any good at it - the person I work alongside has been doing this for over 7 years. Like me, he has no IT degree and started off in the role I am in, he says he just learned how to do it over time himself.

Is this worthwhile, or to a complete novice is it just going to be extremely difficult? One of the other problems I have is he is extremely busy so he cant allocate much time to spend with me. At the moment I'm just playting around with VM's for test machines and the actual studio istself, practising packagine standard apps, but I've yet to do anything functionally as of yet.

Just wondering if its really worth getting involved in, given my complete lack of experience and the lack of teaching on this area - its been referred to me as a "black art". Although I only completed one year of my computing degree, I am quite PC/IT savvy and have had a general interes in IT and computing since my teens.
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You might get more real experience if you can work with the current packager at your work and learning some hands on.

There's an e-book guide you can download here free:
http://nexus.realtimepublishers.com/DGWITSA.htm

There's probably another evalution guide pdf from the wise website. I know that Adminstudio has one that has a tutorial in it along with some sample files to package from the acresso site.

You will pick up the most experience as you package, get familiar with the tools and read the help files. If you can work some with the current packager at your site that probably will help you grow into it.

Not sure if that answers your question or not..
Answered 03/10/2009 by: LB3
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Thanks for the response. Can anyone else add to this?

I'm hoping for a dew different views/advice from the amount of posters on the board given that this is a site dedicated to the topic!
Answered 03/11/2009 by: bc1sjw
Yellow Belt

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This site should hopefully help you along John McFadyen's Blog

The site talks about the basics of msi technology. One of the main reasons I think that people don't get much from the WPS courses is the fact that most students go to the course without any or very little knowledge of msi technology. I've seen this happen countless number of times since I started teaching the course last year. Adding to the problem is the fact that since it's assumed that the student has some form of knowledge regarding msi technology, the course barely touches on this particular topic like say Self-Healing and Installation Sequences etc. (I however go into it a bit more when I teach the course because it seems to make it easier for students to understand when I start talking about the tables, CA's etc). There's no point learning about the tool if you hardly know anything about the end product technology.
Answered 03/12/2009 by: rbrucelee1978
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I would have to agree with rbruceleee.
You get more out of wise/acresso training if you have the basics down, you can then hammer your teacher with really hard questions.
Or focus more on the tool.

Re black art... hmm i guess its true in that you are dealing with the unknown with every package... and you cant always use your direct past experience. What you learn are skills to keep digging to solve problems... so if you like puzzles... or doing detective work then its up your alley.

1) Jump straight to powershell...
2) Packaging... and more broadly Managed Operating Environment Developement can be extremly rewarding....
Your work replaces thousands of flying worker monkeys... it does hold alot of responsibility in that quality and testing is vital.
Unlike a server admin who when working on one server can fix it via proding it with a stick.
If you stuff up you need to develop an automated fix (Problem and Release Management).

If your a noob then everything is hard....dont let that deter you.
Start with simple applications, start with basic scripts....
If you still feel jittery with a deployment after passing User Acceptance Testing (UAT) then limit the install scope for a week then increase it after as an additional quality control.

Read this forum.... and note what some of the jedi posters say.....
That said this is my first post on this message board in what seems like a year... i think im as busy as the guy you mentioned at your work.
Oh if you do get in this line of work... prepare to get hell busy when your skills increase... as people want everything under the sun automated :-)
Answered 03/18/2009 by: rahvintzu
Orange Senior Belt

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Don't limit your duties to packaging. Make sure you get SMS duties added to your role. You can get by making money as a packager, but you can do much better if you get involved in deployment (O/S and application deployment, inventory, etc). Deployment positions (SMS, etc) pay better and are considered more senior in general.
Answered 03/19/2009 by: turbokitty
Sixth Degree Black Belt

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Thanks for all the advice.

Yes, other areas that are linked to what my colleague does include O/S application deployment, new OS builds and SMS upkeep/admin.

Well I've got some reading to do and soem initial shadow sessiosn with our current packaging guru so I'll see how things go [:D]
Answered 03/20/2009 by: bc1sjw
Yellow Belt

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couldn't agree more...and I'm one of those people who started using Wise without much knowledge of MSI technology, I hate to admit it, but I just got real good at quickly repackaging apps without a full appreciation of the underlying technology..."back in the day" when there was a lot more repackaging. It was only when I started writing macros in Wise and really delving into the Installer reskit that I realized..."hey, this is very SQL-like....hey, this is a relational database!"
Answered 03/25/2009 by: aogilmor
Ninth Degree Black Belt

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I had jmcfadyen constantly riding my back telling me I had a whole lot more to learn, he was right, so now, I've got this mentality that just when you think you know a little bit, you find out that there's a whole lot more to learn
Answered 03/25/2009 by: rbrucelee1978
Orange Belt

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The post from LB3 has been one of the most useful tips I got here.

http://wpkg.org/Category:Silent_Installers has a nice database also. Will help people dealing with SMS etc
Answered 03/26/2009 by: dvdzonenz
Purple Belt

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you're lucky to have a teacher like that; I'm hoping to get hooked up with some free Windows installer training. I certainly don't know it all!
Answered 03/30/2009 by: aogilmor
Ninth Degree Black Belt

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Yeah, I agree. I certainly don't know everything either but I know that I'm definitely in a better position than what I was around 18mths ago. Keep harassing him about it. He might even let me tag along [:D]
Answered 03/30/2009 by: rbrucelee1978
Orange Belt

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