Hello everyone

I have begun looking into upgrading our chosen repackaging tool and would very much like to take advantage of the experiences you have out there.

Presently our company uses Wise Package Studio 5.x (in general we have been using the tools offered by Wise since the dawn of the windows installer format)
We stopped upgrading when WPS became dependant of MS SQL Server because of the ressources needed to implement this.

Our needs are centered around general repackaging and authoring - Package Creation and Customization (Setup Capture, Transform generation, setup capture reporting, Exclutionlists, Basic Script Editoring)
and we do not need any kind of Conflict Management, Quality Assurance and/or Package Distribution.

.. all in all our only problem with WPS 5.x is that it is getting increasingly difficult to manage without supporting MS Windows Vista and 64-bit installations.

What's you take on the tools out there as of now?

Any input is greatly appriciated.

Best Regards,
Christian Roejbaek
KMD, Denmark
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http://itninja.com/question/help-publish-appz-via-.cmd6
Any use?
Answered 08/05/2009 by: VBScab
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We use WPS 7.0 SP2 as basic and Admin Studio as secondary. We repackage over 5000 Software, 80% with WPS, 15% Admin Studio and 5% Script( AutoIt or NSIS).

With WPS is very easy to work and Conflict Management is very help full.
Answered 08/05/2009 by: wonde
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I am not very experienced....but still I will like to give my opinion.
Depends on your team's convinience.
If they want more gui based tool, then go for wise package studio, wininstall.
If they are ok with Playing with tables, with some gui then go for Installshield.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: abking99
Second Degree Blue Belt

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What makes you say that? In WPS, choose the 'Setup Editor' view and click the 'Tables' tab. Voila!
Answered 08/07/2009 by: VBScab
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If they want more gui based tool, then go for wise package studio, wininstall.
If they are ok with Playing with tables, with some gui then go for Installshield.


A GUI is just that, a shell ontop of the MSI tables.
Personally I started out in Packaging 6 years ago training with Wise, and I loved it at that point. I later had to switch to Installshield (you use what the company uses) and I still stand by what I told my interviewers at that time.

"Wether you use Wise or Installshield doesn't really matter. In essence it's the underlying technology that you have to grasp, all the rest is just the wrapping."

Imo they both have their strong and weak points. I prefer the way Wise portrays InstallSequences for example. But what it really comes down to is what you're used to working with.

Nowadays I find myself an Installshield user, on one hand exactly BECAUSE the GUI isn't as "heavy" as the one in WISE, I spend alot of my time looking at the msi's in table view anyway. Another reason is because I don't like what happened (or didn't happen) to WPS after the Syamantec takeover.

PJ
Answered 08/07/2009 by: pjgeutjens
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I have seen packagers who have worked on Wise package studio, and Installshield. Packager who has worked on Installshield, I felt his concepts are more clear than a packager who have worked on Wise Package Studio. When I dig in to it, I got feedback from packagers.
When Packagers are in learning phase, they always feel wps easier than Installshield. And Because of the habit of working on wps they do not feel convinient on Installshield. Meanwhile because working on gui based application, they do not get to know, what is happenning in the backend.
As I previously said in my comment, I am not very experienced so may be I am Wrong, but when I was working as a QA engineer, I used to get such kind of feedbacks from packagers.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: abking99
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Meanwhile because working on gui based application, they do not get to know, what is happenning in the backendThey should know that before they even install WPS or IS.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: VBScab
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On Paper you are right, but Practially it does not happen :)
Answered 08/07/2009 by: abking99
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soooooooooo...your company employs people to do a job which they can't actually do until they sit in front of a piece of software?
Answered 08/07/2009 by: VBScab
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I think you will find most IS departments will start at the GUI and work back to the tables.

Not great but that's the way it is for the majority.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: Tone
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In the really bad situations they actually wrote tools to automate the whole capture/create msi/write documentation/insert in deployment tool process and the packagers become like monkeys clicking buttons... they know how to do standard capture cleanup and that's it

I've seen it, it's scary. You get people literally responding when they make a mistake with "But I'm sure I clicked the button" [:(]
Answered 08/07/2009 by: pjgeutjens
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I just expressed my opinion. Now I do not want to discuss on it. Main aim of Roejbaek's, post is getting opinion from pakagers. We will debate on some other topic.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: abking99
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ORIGINAL: VBScab

soooooooooo...your company employs people to do a job which they can't actually do until they sit in front of a piece of software?



Actually that's exactly how I learned it. A company I worked for years ago bid on a massive IT outsourcing contract and part of it was a packaging/deployment role. No one on staff had any experience in that. They grabbed me from a completely unrelated role and said "you need to learn Installshield and Radia in 1 week and meet the client as an expert".

That was unpleasant, but I faked my way through it. I'd love to see those packages now. I cringe at the thought of them.
Answered 08/07/2009 by: turbokitty
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I started just this April using AdminStudio (Installshield). It's kind of an older version, but it only took me a couple months from having no experience working with MSIs to being competent at packaging. It really is something you have to just sit down and do in order to learn it. We are deploying packages across a university campus of around 5,000 nodes.
Our version here can be a bit flaky, especially on my box, which doesn't sport the latest-and-greatest hardware. Despite that, it has handled even the most demanding applications, from SAS to ArcGIS, down to the simplest projects like Filezilla and Skype. Hell, I just finished packaging Second Life (a popular online game).
I'm pretty sure that one's not in Package KB :)
Answered 08/07/2009 by: smooochy
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Its one thing to be a snapshot kiddie and another to actually knowing and understanding windows installer :)

Proper ICE validation and using VBScripts to resolve package related issue to name two things which most snapshot kiddies struggle with.

P
Answered 08/10/2009 by: Inabus
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Thank you for your responses but perhaps I should elaborate our situation.

I am a great fan of Wise Package Studio regarding repackaging and customization, but I am not interested in the rest of the features it provides.

I (my boss) am NOT interested in purchasing WPS 7.x if it means that I also have to invest in MS SQL Server or like.

I am looking for alternatives that provides us with the same functionalities as WPS 5.61 (which didn't require any expensive databases) but also supports Vista and 64-bit installations.

Again: Our needs are only centered around general repackaging and authoring - Package Creation and Customization (Setup Capture, Transform generation, setup capture reporting, Exclutionlists, Basic Script Editoring)
Answered 08/10/2009 by: Roejbaek
Senior Yellow Belt

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What's to "invest"? Set up an inexpensive server, slap SQL Server on it (MSDE or whatever MS is calling it this week will do), make sure you have a back-up - and restore - strategy, forget it.

You don't mention conflict management: presumably you and your boss retain an enclyclopeadic knowledge of your build and the content of each package. That'll be handy. :)
Answered 08/10/2009 by: VBScab
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Hello VBScab

Thank you for your reply.
I would like to be able to install it as a client/server setup which the WPS Std does not support and the Professional Edition does not support MSDE.
In our case we would need five or six licenses for MS SQL Server.. which I wont be allowed to purchase before I have examined all other options (personally I would also prefer WPS.. )

My problem regarding licenses/SQL Server is that I need to be able to install both server and client on portable labtops that our technicians carry with them when visiting customers.
Using WPS Pro 5.61 this is no problem since it supports MSDE.

We've been doing fine without conflict managenment (and alt the rest of the cool features WPS provides besides package creation/customization).. even though we also support several hundred customers (using everything from MS SMS, Novell Zenworks, Citrix) and quite a bunch of installations.

If I have misunderstood something regarding the requirements for WPS I would love to be corrected!
Answered 08/10/2009 by: Roejbaek
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MSDE is called 'SQL Server Express Edition this week and, according to this document http://www.symantec.com/business/products/sysreq.jsp?pcid=pcat_infrastruct_op&pvid=wp_studio_1, it is supported.
Answered 08/10/2009 by: VBScab
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Hi VBScab

You might just have made my day... :-)
I have been so focused on the part:

Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) does not support Wise Package Studio client installations. If you will install Wise Package Studio in a client-server configuration, use SQL Server.

which is stated on the same page, that you linked to, that I missed the express version.

Of to the drawing-board once again!

Cheers
Answered 08/10/2009 by: Roejbaek
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My reading of that is that you can't have the server and client on the same box. Do you agree? No reason, of course, why a box with suitable horse-power couldn't host both as VMs/VPCs...
Answered 08/10/2009 by: VBScab
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Wise does not support x64 or Windows 7. You'll need to go with Installshield (I prefer it over Wise anyway), if you want that functionality.

Windows 7 is on MSDN now. Installing the RTM on my laptop now...
Answered 08/10/2009 by: turbokitty
Sixth Degree Black Belt

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Hi VBScab

We are already running both server and client on the same box when "in the field".. works like a charm.
Answered 08/11/2009 by: Roejbaek
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Hi Turbokitty

Under the features-tab [link]http://www.symantec.com/business/package-studio[/link] it says: 64-bit support.

How come you dissagree?
Answered 08/11/2009 by: Roejbaek
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How come you disagree?Because it's simply some marketing wonk's weasle words. I can't think of a suitable analogy. How about that a Morris Minor has "support" for air conditioning. Yes, you can get air con into a Moggie but you have to add this, add that, hack this, strip out that, change this.

Ask them. How does it handle 64-bit registry? Where's the UI for WI v4.5's features?

Sheer marketing puff, I'm afraid.
Answered 08/12/2009 by: VBScab
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I've heard from a reliable source that WPS8 will fully support 64-bit - not that it helps you today but at least WPS is still being developed by Symantec.
Answered 08/12/2009 by: MSIPackager
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I think this gives the lie to Symantec's "commitment" to the Wise product line. Even if they released v8 this year (highly unlikly, IMV), just calculate how long it's taken them to get the point of fully supporting 64-bit. How long were betas available for their team to get started on?

I *really* don't like saying it as I prefer it to IS, but WPS is dead, or at best, taking its final breaths.
Answered 08/12/2009 by: VBScab
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ORIGINAL: MSIPackager
I've heard from a reliable source that WPS8 will fully support 64-bit - not that it helps you today but at least WPS is still being developed by Symantec.


I've heard that too, but when?? Until, the product is out, I consider all this to be conjecture and wishful thinking. WPS hasn't been updated in years, why should I expect next year to be any different?
Answered 08/12/2009 by: turbokitty
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Did some one tested whether Wise package studio works on Windows 7 ?. We are using WPS 7 to package for vista and soon will be moving to Win 7 so just want to make sure we can use this on Win 7 too.

Also out of topic questio, does any one forsee any problem with packaging application on vista ( using WPS 7) and using them on Win7. ?. I know win 7 has Windows installer 5 where as vista has 4.0. will this or any other win 7 feature cause any problems to the packages that are created on vista ?.

appriciate your comments on this.
Answered 08/14/2009 by: Nirmal1208
Senior Yellow Belt

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You can run your MSIs through this tool to test them for W7 readiness:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc766436%28WS.10%29.aspx

I don't think you'll have much trouble with your Vista setups on W7.
Answered 08/14/2009 by: turbokitty
Sixth Degree Black Belt

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If you're packaging, surely you have VMs (or VPCs or VirtualBoxes), in which case, why not just try it?
Answered 08/14/2009 by: VBScab
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TurboKitty , Thanks for the link .

1) I have used SAT to analyze the setup when i migrated from XP to Vista ..do you think that would be necesssry between Vista and Win 7?
2) Looking at Win 7 i don't think any of the "new" win 7 features would affect the application install / functionality. The only part i worry about is newver version of Windows Installer on win 7 (understand that security has been improved) ..will cause any problem to the custom actions execution ?.
3)Also , do you have any idea on Wise Package studio's compatiblity with Win 7 ( i am trying to install on WIn 7 RC now) ...

thanks again.
Answered 08/17/2009 by: Nirmal1208
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If you're packaging, you must have VMs/VPCs/VirtualBoxes (and if you don't, how on earth do you tolerate re-imaging your packaging boxes?!?). In that case, just try it!

While your image is being copied/built/converted to the VM, use the time to contemplate on the consequences of packaging (especially capturing) on a machine whose OS will have a good proportion of system files either missing or, for those with similar names, with different version information.
Answered 08/17/2009 by: VBScab
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I sat on a Win7 compat course at Microsoft head office with Chris Jackson. He states that 99% or more of apps that run on Vista will install and run on W7. Moreover, as Windows Installer is backward compatible, I expect that you will encounter few problems with installation.
SAT is a nifty little tool and it runs quickly so it can't hurt to use it.
As W7 UAC is actually less bothersome than Vista's, I don't think security will be a problem.
As VBScab said, the above is no substitute for actual testing, but I wouldn't put nearly as much effort into testing as I would on an XP > W7 project.
Did you run the ACT tool at your organization? It will find a lot of these problems before you even start looking at each individual app.
Answered 08/17/2009 by: turbokitty
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