Hi setup developers,

we as a software developing company deliver our Installshield MSI Setups as setup.exe. Some customers ask for MSI-Packages to deploy via Active Directory or tools like that.

The thing is that our installation projects are not really designed to be used as MSI+MSP because a lot of custom actions are running after apply install and prerequisites are included etc.

How do you deal with such requests. Isn't this a job for repackagers working in these big companies dealing with huge roll-outs. Or are you so kind to deliver also the msi files that are already prepared for such deployment scenarios (or not really)?

Maybe you can give me feeling :)

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  • Packagers love vendors like you: it keeps them in work! ;-)

    >a lot of custom actions are running after apply install
    So add these to the MSI.

    >and prerequisites are included
    ...and build MSIs for these, with clear instructions in your deployment document that the pre-reqs need to be included.

    For lazy customers, you can include the EXE which includes the pre-reqs.
  • > > a lot of custom actions are running after apply install
    > So add these to the MSI.
    If it would be such simple. (hidden properties etc.) Is it that bad to run CAs after apply install?

    > Packagers love vendors like you: it keeps them in work!
    Exactly, that is what I mean, isn't it the job of software packagers to repackage setup.exe installations of software vendors to meet their deployment strategic. What else are they doing? I know from one single customer that tells me that he is repackaging our software.
    So I would say deliver MSI files ARE a kindness from software vendors, setup.exe installation their duty. Or not really? :)
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Delivering installation friendly software is not a kindness, but rather should be your goal. Customers have been getting the raw end of the deal from poorly designed installations for so long that it seems to be the prevalent attitude among vendors. Take a hint from the major industry players who have in the recent past attempted a more customer-centric and configurable approach to their installations.

Answered 01/28/2014 by: kiptek
Second Degree Green Belt

  • Yes of course this is my goal. But please understand my dilemma.
    Me as well as our company is quite young and I grew into this task of developing our installations as basic msi Installshield projects. Our installation projects started years ago and it is not that trivial to adapt them now. Our customers are now end-users as well as big companies. MSI files were not requested in the past but their importance growed with our company. So we did not take care if our installations meet the requirements to be delivered as msi files. Now we have reached the critical point were more and more customers ask for MSI files and we are facing a huge problem: redesign (or adapt) the installation to be able to distribute derivates of them as MSI files.
    Of course if I start a project for a new product I will take care that the design meets the new requirements of all our customers.
    • If you are creating installs for the windows platform, you are already working within the MSI framework. What are you grandfathering in from older installs that cannot be presented as an MSI? I mean, your complicated setups at some point come down to the basic MSI tables. Whatever scripting logic scenarios that complicate older installshield setups are available for manipulation as MSI custom actions and can likely be simplified. If creating robust installs was a trivial task, then every Tom, Dick, & Harry would be good at it. This does not create an excuse not to to attempt to though, as you are doing yourself and your customers a disservice.
      • Although I - as a non native english speaker - does not understand all your sophisticated language style (I am sorry for that). I think you are right, our installations are somehow bad developed. It is just easier to schedule custom actions after Apply install in InstallShield because of accessing properties. I now know that this was a mistake. Also it is not good becaus afaik these custom action cannot rollback, right?
        So - shame on me. But hopefully this forum will help me come closer to become - at least - a Tom, Dick or Harry someday. ;)
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