I know, I know, it's highly subjective, and "complexity" is a tricky thing to measure objectively when we're talking MSI technology, but..
Does anyone know of any utilities available which make calls to a (working) MSI package and return complexity-type information..?
E.g. count the number of reg hits, ascertain if there are dependencies set on other MSI's, check for any sevrer references, count merge modules used, filecount, etc.
This type of tool would go part -way to allowing less-technical members of a Re-packaging team to make better estimates when setting expectations answering the inevtiable "how long will it take you to re-package this new version for me ?" question.
Any useful information gratefully received.
Many thanks!
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The best tool I know of is experience. We have packaging requests submitted and I, as the senior packager, give it a quick eval based on experience and I also rely heavily on this message board and the AppDeploy package database, among others. From there I give a packaging estimate (with a "Scotty" style buffer for surprises) and delegate it to a staff member with enough experience to handle it.

I don't even think it's possible to produce a "complexity evaluator" tool. You could have a package with 1000 files, 1000 registry keys, ODBC entries, multiple prerequisites, and it captures smooth as silk. You could also have an app with only 5 files and 5 registry keys that get you tearing your hair out trying to make it work. Then you have the whole Conflict Management thing, your first app won't conflict with anything. Your 100th app, however...

The real "complexity" is in how well the developer adheres to current Windows standards and realizes that "creative tricks" are not a good thing.
Answered 03/30/2005 by: VikingLoki
Second Degree Brown Belt

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Participation varies, but an attempt to produce this information is present in the Package Knowledge base here at AppDeploy. For each package listed, people can rate its difficulty on a scale of 1 - 5 along with the method they used to generate the package, and finally any optional comments they wish to include. Many applications have only been rated by one or two members, but some have been rated by several members- I feel the the more ratings, the more accurate the rating is likely to be- but it should be a good start regardless.

Taking the complexity of your own environment out of the picutre, the number of various items and makeup of a vendor-delivered MSI just doesn't provide a picture of how difficult it will be to work with. Like VikingLoki says, experience is the key and AppDeploy is about sharing experience- hopefully the package ratings in the knowledge base are what you are looking for- http://www.appdeploy.com/packages
Answered 03/30/2005 by: bkelly
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