I am a desktop support guy who is interested in learning how to package apps. Where do i start? Any resources online that i can read to start out with? Also, any instructional video to learn this? My background is more of a technical support than developer/programmer. Thus any info that shows how to start out slow learning basic scripts before delving into more advanced stuff. What products are good(Wise Package Studio or InstallShield Studio)? Thanks everyone.
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Welcome to AppDeploy.com

This is a very big question that gets asked here every now and then, and it can be as hard to know where to start answering it as it is to know where to begin to learn how to package apps. Nonetheless, here it goes.

Learning how:

Option 1: Just dive in and start trying to learn by trial and error - There really isn't anything on this site that will give you a step by step "how to" for any repackaging product or method you may choose. Repackaging software is a very specialized skill. If you go this route, plan on a very long learning curve, and that you will not be releasing anything out into your production environment for several months. It's hard to tell you exactly how long it might take you to become proficient since I don't know your existing knowledge and skills. Understand, though, that having no software packaging strategy is better than producing packages that are unstable and unreliable, or that do outright damage to your environment. I strongly recommend you read "Top Ten Windows Installer Myths" as a first step. It specifically discusses repackaging into .msi format, but many of the points are relevant no matter what product or format you choose.

Option 2: Go to at least one workshop or seminar - you will see them advertised from time to time on this site, on InstallShield.com, and on DesktopEngineer.com. If you have the funds to do go to at least one, this will drastically shorten your learning curve. If you can go to several, all the better.

As far as what products are good, I would choose between Wise and InstallShield. Both are excellent, and are far superior to just about everything else out there. You will find some members here are very partial to one or another for various reasons, and you can search the forums and read volumes on this. All of their opinions are valid and worth reading, but ultimately it comes down to choosing what is best for your environment.

Last, just start reading as many posts here as you can - even if the subject doesn't apply to any software you are packaging. Pay particular attention to posts by the top rated membes like bkelly, WiseUser, wiseapp, brenthunter2005, VikingLoki, plangton, MSIMaker, MSIPackager, rpfenninger, Ilikebananas, and akhlaque. They really know there stuff, and collectively, there is very little they have not come across.

Craig --<>.
Answered 12/07/2005 by: craig16229
Third Degree Brown Belt

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I really appreciate the response. Thanks.
Answered 12/08/2005 by: zcarenow
Yellow Belt

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