I’m looking for some information on common standards that could be applied when developing installations.

The type of installations I am talking about are server and client setup.exe’s & msi’s which are developed by a software vendor and will be distributed to various clients across numerous different windows operating systems.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!
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A few things to focus on here would be to make sure that the installations have the ability to install and uninstall silently. Be sure to include support for a /? if you are doing anything out of the ordinary which should display a list of available command line options.

MSI's are already going to have a standard built into them. When I say standards I mean they use the same command line switches for running silently and uninstalling. You can find a list of typical MSI command line switches here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/227091. Exe's are a different story as they are built using any number of scripts. If you are using Wise to package then usually a /S would be the silent switch but installshield many times uses a setup response file. More than anything it is best to design your own standard with Exe's and stick to it each release to make support easier. You may have to customize the support for uninstall in some areas such as stopping services before removing files. That can be a little tricky but it's important.

Another thing to keep in mind is how do they update other versions. They should be smart enough to either uninstall a previous version and install the new or update the files necessary. MSI's can be a pain here depending on the complexity of the install. Exe's are a little more straight foward but you have to build in the logic to do the upgrade\uninstall.

Finally I would say logging is important. Most logging is done natively in installers but if you are doing anything in your MSI or Exe outside of the normal process make sure it is logged.

Hope that helps. I know its not real specific.
Answered 01/24/2008 by: yarborg
Blue Belt

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I think this is required reading for both vendors and repackagers.

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/05/01/587990.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/05/12/595950.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/05/24/605835.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/06/27/648447.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/07/28/681358.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/windows_installer_team/archive/2006/09/18/tao-of-the-windows-installer-part-6.aspx


But a new and bold tactic would be to release your application as a virtual application to reduce support complexity. I know SAP is using Thinstall for their client peice and you can get software vendor pricing for that solution. It might be too cutting edge today but I can see the potential for virtual application environments being offered by many vendors in the near future.
Answered 01/24/2008 by: kkaminsk
Ninth Degree Black Belt

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Thank You Yarborg & Kkaminsk [:)]
Answered 01/28/2008 by: msAiii
Senior Yellow Belt

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