What are the disadvantages of using custom actions in MSI? or Why use of Custom Actions is not a part of best practices? in most of the interviews, this question is being asked.....what can be the perfect answer?
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Which 'interviews' do you refer to?
Answered 07/31/2009 by: captain_planet
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The only disadvantage that I can think of is that you have to make both a install and uninstall custom action if you want to leave the machine in the state it was in prior to the apps install.

But that isnt strickly a disadvantage, just more work!

P
Answered 07/31/2009 by: Inabus
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Application Packaging/MSI packaging interviews....which i gave in past. I was asked this question 2-3 times
Answered 07/31/2009 by: suchi.jigar
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The answer is that it depends on what the CA is doing.

In *most* cases, CAs are used as a port of last resort, to perform a task which WI can't do natively. For CAs which call script, there's the maintainability/documentation angle to be considered. That might be looked on a disadvantage.

For CAs which call DLL functions, the DLL has either to be present or stored in the Binary table. I guess the former requirement (meaning that the package has a dependency - think InstallShield-driven packages, for example) might be considered a disadvantage by some. Even that can be catered for, though, with the use of AppSearch/LaunchCondition.

Other than that, I really can't think why anyone would regard the use of CAs as a disadvantage. To my mind, it's a stupid question but that's probably NOT the answer to give at an interview LOL.
Answered 07/31/2009 by: VBScab
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Suchi,

I believe the interviewer was waiting for this answer I´m sure... "You cannot rollback a Custom Action during failed installation unless you create another Custom Action for Rollback scenarios..." This is quiet true as far as I know..
Answered 07/31/2009 by: dj_xest
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But again dj_xest that isnt a disadvantage :)

P
Answered 07/31/2009 by: Inabus
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I think the idea here is generally, most of packagers do not create a CA just for a rollback scenarios and is something not practical. Do you create a rollback CA´s for your CA´s? [:D]
Answered 07/31/2009 by: dj_xest
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Nope but then im lazy but that doesnt mean you shouldnt and its vertainly not a disadvantage to using a custom action. If you ask me VBScab had it right, its a stupid question and its certainly not one I ask in an interview :)

P
Answered 07/31/2009 by: Inabus
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I think it´s not a stupid question. That is one of the very good and tricky questions you can throw during interviews to assess your applicants. I was never asked this question but I will definitely answer that one.. hehehe
Answered 07/31/2009 by: dj_xest
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What are the disadvantages of using custom actions in MSI? or Why use of Custom Actions is not a part of best practices? in most of the interviews, this question is being asked.....what can be the perfect answer?


what are CA's ?
answer - they enable us to add specialized functionality to our msi's which we certainly cannot do with the msi technology

when we run CA's we are taking windows installer out of the question.

if you had entries in the host file that you wanted to add to your msi
will you be adding the host file to the file table, certainly not

a vbscript will do the trick

what about this
lets say what are the limitations of msi technology and why use custom actions instead
Answered 07/31/2009 by: cygan
Fifth Degree Brown Belt

  • Custom actions exist, as has already been mentioned, to provide functionality that the native MSI installer does not have. It is also a useful alternative to having a full blown MSI editor, as it means that you can add things like configuration files without having to add actual files - for example it is really easy to write a vbscript that generates a configuration file and add it to the binary, custom action, and InstallExecute sequences and not have to worry about generating additional CAB files or recompiling. Yes, you need to think about the install, uninstall, repair and rollback scenarios but generally these are simple problems with simple solutions.
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