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AppDeploy: Reviews: InstallShield AdminStudio 6.0

InstallShield AdminStudio Professional 6.0 by Bob Kelly
AppDeploy.com
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The focus of this review will be on those new features introduced in this latest version 6.0. For a closer look at AdminStudio and its features that existed prior to this new release see the AdminStudio 5.5 review. This is a major upgrade to AdminStudio and with that comes an impressive list of new features. Of these new features, I’ll be discussing those I feel are most important:

  • InstallScript MSI Support - AdminStudio 6.0 can now convert an InstallScript MSI setup to a Basic MSI setup with InstallScript support so it can be managed more effectively in an enterprise environment.

  • Process Assistant - provides a high-level interface providing a guided approach to testing and conflict-resolving packages.

  • Predeployment Testing - allows you to determine if an MSI package will succeed or fail when it is installed in production, in order to help reduce the likelihood of deployment failures.

  • SMS Web Console – Blurring the line between package creation and deployment administration even further, AdminStudio now offers its own Web interface version of the SMS Administrator Console.

Finally, I will close with some final thoughts including some information about other new features of AdminStudio in less detail. 


InstallScript MSI Support
 
Just the word “InstallScript” can send Windows Administrators into a frenzy. Vendors employing InstallScript MSI installation projects (a hybrid of the two installation technologies) typically deliver setup.exe wrappers to bootstrap the installation of InstallScript which must be used to call the Windows Installer setup. While command line support for these wrapped installations is robust, those that wish to assign the included MSI setup using Active Directory are prevented from doing so. Creating a transform, detecting conflicts, and patching and upgrading are all much more difficult issues to deal with when working with an InstallScript MSI installation. While there are some work-arounds to the issues, InstallShield now comes to the rescue with a solution of its own.AppDeploy.com
            search engine keywords: deployment, remote, installation, software,
            applications, updates, hotfixes, hot fixes, hotfix, service pack,
            sp1, sp2, sp3, sp4, sp5, sp6, IE, Microsoft, SMS, installer,
            install, pdf, package, definition, file, script, KiXtart, kix,
            logon, logoff, bat, NT, shell, batch, installation software,
            software installation, remote installation, installer, wise
            installer, SMS installer, window installer, windows installer, 
            ghost image, imageing, drive image, drive image pro, 
            warez drive image, drive image download, drive image powerquest,
            powerquest drive image, warez drive image, appz, drive image 3, imaging software, disk imaging software, free imaging software, perl script, vb script, free script, shell script

 
Process Assistant
 
The new Process Assistant is a great interface for getting the most out of what AdminStudio has to offer. From what I have seen in the field (and I am a bit guilty of this myself) is that people get comfortable with the tools they know and spend much or all of their time in that one tool- a good example being the InstallShield Repackager. Since the release of v5.5, the Repackager is robust enough to create, edit and compile MSI packages, so it is easy to find yourself not looking at the other tools until you run into a situation that forces you away.

The new Process Assistant guides you through the tasks to get from creation to distribution in a very logical and common sense interface. The first window asks you to select a file. When you do, the Process Assistant determines what the next step should be - if you have an MSI, you’ll want to customize it with a transform – if you have a legacy setup, you’ll want to repackage it and generate an MSI of your own. It then takes you through conflict resolution, testing and finally to the distribution phase (another enhanced feature in this release we will touch on later).

Even if you already know the steps to take and the tools to use, the Process Assistant may still be the way to go. The reason is that it collects most of the necessary information from you before launching the required tool, so you have a consistent interface for the entire procedure. Finally, because the Process Assistant knows what setup you are working with, there is no need to specify this in the various tools as you move through the process!
AppDeploy.com
            search engine keywords: deployment, remote, installation, software,
            applications, updates, hotfixes, hot fixes, hotfix, service pack,
            sp1, sp2, sp3, sp4, sp5, sp6, IE, Microsoft, SMS, installer,
            install, pdf, package, definition, file, script, KiXtart, kix,
            logon, logoff, bat, NT, shell, batch, installation software,
            software installation, remote installation, installer, wise
            installer, SMS installer, window installer, windows installer, 
            ghost image, imageing, drive image, drive image pro, 
            warez drive image, drive image download, drive image powerquest,
            powerquest drive image, warez drive image, appz, drive image 3, imaging software, disk imaging software, free imaging software, perl script, vb script, free script, shell script

 
Predeployment Testing
 
Predeployment testing is now available in AdminStudio, which provides an effective means of testing the deployment of a package prior to releasing it with whatever distribution mechanism you have in place. You provide it a source MSI (the one you want to test) and a target MSI file names (the new test version of the package you want to create). The test version of the package performs the following silent tests against target systems and then reports the results to a web service installed on an IIS web server.

  • System Search – checks to ensure any configured search conditions are met

  • Launch Conditions – checks to ensure any configured launch conditions are met

  • Directory Creation Permissions – ensures necessary permission exists to create directories

  • File Read Permissions – ensures necessary permission exists to read files

  • File Write Permissions – ensures necessary permission exists to write to files

  • Disk Space – ensures necessary disk space is available

  • Registry Permissions – ensures necessary permission exists to modify the registry

  • .NET Framework – ensures the .NET Framework is installed if necessary

  • File Association – ensures any specified file associations can be enforced

  • File Conflicts – ensures no conflicts exist with current files on the target system

  • Registry Conflicts – ensures no conflicts exist with current registry entries on the target systemAppDeploy.com
            search engine keywords: deployment, remote, installation, software,
            applications, updates, hotfixes, hot fixes, hotfix, service pack,
            sp1, sp2, sp3, sp4, sp5, sp6, IE, Microsoft, SMS, installer,
            install, pdf, package, definition, file, script, KiXtart, kix,
            logon, logoff, bat, NT, shell, batch, installation software,
            software installation, remote installation, installer, wise
            installer, SMS installer, window installer, windows installer, 
            ghost image, imageing, drive image, drive image pro, 
            warez drive image, drive image download, drive image powerquest,
            powerquest drive image, warez drive image, appz, drive image 3, imaging software, disk imaging software, free imaging software, perl script, vb script, free script, shell script

 
Final Thoughts

If you have not had your hands on AdminStudio in a while, I recommend you take a look at my last review of version 5.5 as well. I’ve covered a few key upgrades here, but AdminStudio already had quite a bit to offer.

In addition to these items I thought were key, there are considerable other enhancements as well. To name a few: a new Package Auto Import feature allows you to simply place a package in a specified folder where it will be automatically detected and imported into the Application Catalog. You can now scan for file dependencies in the Application Catalog and can include these dependencies in your conflict analysis. If you are an Oracle shop, AdminStudio now supports Oracle to store its Application Catalog database. Some of the ConflictSolver ACE rules have been enhanced and the output from these checks are consolidated and summarized in its reports.

InstallShield have managed to outdo themselves once again; AdminStudio does not only seem to do everything, but it seems to do everything quite well. New features like its InstallScript MSI installation conversion tool and Process Assistant make this worth a very close look. If you are evaluating a new solution, or rethinking your current tools, do yourself a favor and get your hands on the latest demo.
  

 

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InstallShield® Announces Continued Support of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Integration Program

http://www.installshield.com

Installation Leader Announces Planned Integration with

Microsoft Visual Studio .NET

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., March 21, 2002 – InstallShield® Software Corporation, the acknowledged leader in software distribution and deployment solutions, today announced its continued participation in the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Integration Program (VSIP), nearly three years after becoming one of the first to join the program. InstallShield also reaffirmed its plans to provide developers with an installation-authoring solution that is fully integrated within the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

“We are pleased to see InstallShield reaffirm its ongoing commitment to Visual Studio .NET and VSIP,” said David Lazar, group product manager for the Developer and Platform Evangelism Division at Microsoft Corp. “InstallShield and its installation technology will continue to play a vital role in helping software developers using the Microsoft .NET platform.”

InstallShield also announced that the version 7.04 release of its flagship authoring solution, InstallShield Developer, will extend its current support for developers using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET to offer complete and seamless integration with the Visual Studio .NET IDE. Developer will provide the capability to create setups without ever having to leave the Visual Studio .NET IDE. Developer 7.04 is scheduled for general availability in April 2002 and will be available to existing Developer 7 customers at no additional charge.

“VSIP has been an extremely valuable vehicle for working with Microsoft on the Visual Studio .NET technology and we are delighted to continue our participation in the program,” said Viresh Bhatia, CEO of InstallShield. “The VSIP enables us to leverage the Visual Studio .NET environment and provide customers with the fully-integrated, leading-edge installation capabilities they’ve come to expect from InstallShield.”

InstallShield has a lengthy history of supporting Microsoft technologies – initially working with Microsoft to deliver the first graphical-driven installation experience for the Windows 3.x platform. Over the past decade, InstallShield has worked closely with Microsoft to deliver many of the installation technologies that compose the setup standard used today.

About InstallShield Software Corp.

InstallShield Software Corp. is the acknowledged leader in software-distribution and software-deployment solutions for independent software vendors and corporate IT systems administrators. InstallShield technology powers deployment for the top 100 independent software vendors and is used by more than 200,000 corporate and commercial software developers and systems administrators worldwide. InstallShield is headquartered outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, Ill. For more information, visit www.installshield.com.

# # #

© 2002 InstallShield Software Corporation. All rights reserved. InstallShield is a registered trademark of InstallShield Software Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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InstallShield® Continues Ten-Year-Long Commitment to Microsoft® Technology and the Microsoft Certified Partner Program

http://www.installshield.com

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., March 21, 2002 – InstallShield® Software Corporation, the acknowledged leader in software distribution and deployment solutions, today announced its continued ten-year-long commitment to Microsoft technology and its ongoing participation in the Microsoft Certified Partner program.

InstallShieldÂ’s active involvement in the program and ongoing in-depth access to existing and emerging Microsoft technologies, related training, and resources, remains a key driver in InstallShield offering its next generation Windows Installer-based solutions for software developers and systems administrators.

“InstallShield has a proven track record of delivering innovative, cutting-edge deployment solutions and we commend them for their ongoing level of expertise and continued dedication to the quality implementation of Microsoft technologies,” said Rosa Garcia, general manager of the Partner Programs Group at Microsoft. “When customers are looking to implement a Microsoft technology solution for their business, their best bet is to turn to an expert—a Microsoft Certified Partner. InstallShield is an excellent example of such a partner.”

“InstallShield has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Microsoft over the past decade,” said Viresh Bhatia, CEO and co-founder of InstallShield. “Our continued involvement in this program simply underscores our unwavering focus on delivering products and services that support the latest Microsoft technologies.”

Since 1992, InstallShield and Microsoft have worked closely to deliver many of the installation technologies that compose the setup standard used today. InstallShield initially worked with Microsoft to deliver the first graphical-driven installation experience for the Windows 3.x platform. Since then, Microsoft has licensed and included the InstallShield SDK Edition in the Windows 95 Platform SDK and licensed InstallShield Professional V5 for inclusion with Visual C++ 5.0 – making InstallShield the only third party installation tool included with Visual C++ 5.0. Microsoft has also licensed other InstallShield Limited Edition products, most recently InstallShield Express – Visual FoxPro Limited Edition for Visual FoxPro 7.

From its headquarters and on-site office at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond Wash., InstallShield provides both software developers and systems administrators with comprehensive packaging and pre-deployment configuration products and services for any Windows platform. InstallShield’s flagship authoring solution, InstallShield Developer™, and pre-deployment configuration offering, InstallShield AdminStudio™, provide professionals with the comprehensive tools and technologies to handle any application packaging or enterprise deployment scenario.

About InstallShield Software Corp.

InstallShield Software Corp. is the acknowledged leader in software-distribution and software-deployment solutions for independent software vendors and corporate IT systems administrators. InstallShield technology powers deployment for the top 100 independent software vendors and is used by more than 200,000 corporate and commercial software developers and systems administrators worldwide. InstallShield is headquartered outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, Ill. For more information, visit www.installshield.com.

# # #

© 2002 InstallShield Software Corporation. All rights reserved. InstallShield is a registered trademark and Developer and AdminStudio are trademarks of InstallShield Software Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other brands and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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InstallShield® Experts to Keynote Live Online Seminar on Windows Installer

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Systems Administrators to Gain Real-World Advice on Migrating Software to Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., April 17, 2002 – InstallShield® Software Corporation, the acknowledged leader in software distribution and deployment solutions, today announced that its application migration and deployment experts will share key insights on “Packaging Applications for Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP Leveraging Windows Installer” via a free live online seminar hosted by leading IT media company TechTarget. The seminar will be hosted April 23, 2002 at 1:00 PM EDT on TechTarget’s popular www.searchwin2000.com and www.searchsystemsmanagement.com Web sites for enterprise IT professionals. Attendees can register for the event at www.installshield.com/onlineEvents/searchwin.

Corporations looking to maximize the benefits of migrating to Windows 2000 or Windows XP will need to repackage their existing software applications to use the Windows Installer service, MicrosoftÂ’s native installation engine. While the benefits of migrating are significant, the process of application conversion is often overlooked or underestimated.

Drawing on the experience from migrating thousands of applications for Fortune 500 clients, InstallShield experts will discuss this critical process, providing specific best practices to use and pointing out potential pitfalls to avoid. This one-of-a-kind online event will provide IT professionals and systems administrators with in-depth information on the issues surrounding application migration. Participants will walk away with the vital knowledge needed to migrate applications to Windows 2000 and XP more easily, efficiently, and effectively.

“Application migration is a daunting initiative for even the largest corporations – and IT pros are hungry for this information,” said Viresh Bhatia, CEO for InstallShield. “A successful migration must begin with a firm understanding of the issues, and we are confident this seminar will give attendees a solid foundation and the key tools from which to initiate their projects.”

The Seminar will cover a wide range of topics including:

· Introduction to the Windows Installer service

· Best practices of performing a migration needs assessment

· Preparing for migration

· Performing application conversion

· Resolving application conflicts

· Delivering migrated applications

Complete Software Repackaging and Migration Solutions InstallShield has trained more than 2,500 users in the art of application repackaging and spent more than 20,000 hours repackaging Windows installations into the Windows Installer format (MSI). InstallShield offers comprehensive products and services to assist corporations in every stage of their migration process. InstallShield AdminStudio offers a total solution for repackaging, customizing, and resolving application conflicts. InstallShield’s unique Application Migration Platform™ combines a proven migration methodology and industry best-practices to provide knowledge transfer, mentoring, or full outsourcing of the migration process. Information on InstallShield’s Systems Administration and Consulting solutions can be found at www.installshield.com.

Seminar Registration

Registration for the “Packaging Applications for Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP Leveraging Windows Installer” online seminar is free and can be completed by visiting www.installshield.com/onlineEvents/searchwin.

About TechTarget

IT media company TechTarget offers the most targeted media for enterprise IT professionals, including six invitation-only conferences, more than 100 e-mail newsletter titles, Storage magazine, and the only network of industry-specific IT Web sites. TechTargetÂ’s more than 700 advertisers include IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Intel Corp., EMC Corp., and Hewlett-Packard. More information about TechTarget is available at www.techtarget.com.

About InstallShield Software Corp.

With worldwide headquarters outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, Ill., InstallShield Software Corp. is the acknowledged leader in software-distribution and software-deployment solutions for independent software vendors and corporate IT systems administrators. InstallShield technology powers deployment for the top 100 independent software vendors and is used by more than 200,000 corporate and commercial software developers and systems administrators worldwide. InstallShield also has European headquarters based in Bristol, England. For more information, visit www.installshield.com.

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InstallShield® Announces Innovative Value Pack Strategy to Address Ongoing Needs of Systems Administrators

http://www.installshield.com

LAS VEGAS, April 30, 2002 – Continuing its commitment to meeting the rapidly evolving needs of today’s systems administrators, InstallShield® Software Corporation, the acknowledged leader in software distribution and deployment solutions, today announced a new product update strategy at the Microsoft Management Summit, being held in Las Vegas from April 29 - May 3, 2002. InstallShield unveiled the AdminStudio 3.0 Value Pack for its AdminStudio 3.0 pre-deployment configuration solution. The new Value Pack strategy will enable customers to gain critical features and functionality as they are developed – without waiting for formal product releases.

The first AdminStudio Value Pack is available immediately and provides key enhancements to AdminStudioÂ’s conflict resolution and application isolation capabilities. The Value Pack is available to all existing users of AdminStudio 3.0 or higher at no charge.

“Today’s enterprise systems administrators are a dynamic group of customers with rapidly changing needs; therefore, we needed to develop a product update strategy that fit within their unique profile,” said Viresh Bhatia, CEO of InstallShield. “The Value Packs allow us to quickly react to market trends and significantly reduce time to market of the key features and functionality our customers require.”

Improved Application Isolation

The AdminStudio Value Pack introduces significant enhancements to AdminStudio’s Isolator™ technology, providing administrators with enhanced usability and built-in dependency scanning capabilities. The Value Pack also enables .local isolation when targeting operating systems released prior to Windows XP. For organizations with multiple levels of administrators, the Value Pack also provides “lead" administrators with the ability to pre-configure many of the settings within the Application Isolation Wizard™ via a configuration file. This enhanced customization capability is consistent with other tools and the functionality within the AdminStudio suite and is designed to ensure that corporate best practices are followed regularly.

Streamlined Conflict Resolution

The latest Value Pack also delivers powerful new conflict resolution capabilities designed to streamline the resolution process and save enterprises’ significant time and money. AdminStudio’s enhanced ConflictSolver™ now enables grouping of applications by department or business unit – eliminating the need to check an individual department’s set of applications against the company’s entire application portfolio. Instead, administrators have the ability to classify applications by running diagnostics and resolving conflicts based on a specific set of users.

“The additional capabilities offered by the Value Pack illustrate why this strategy makes sense. Many of our customers simply couldn’t afford to wait until the next release to begin using the enhanced conflict and application isolation capabilities – with Value Packs, they won’t have to,” added Bhatia.

About AdminStudio

AdminStudio is a completely integrated pre-deployment configuration solution for systems administrators who repackage, customize, and resolve application conflicts before deploying to the corporate enterprise. AdminStudio provides an easy-to-use wizard-driven interface to quickly handle complex applications and the otherwise labor-intensive requirements of packaging software into the Windows Installer (MSI) format for use on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Value Pack Availability/AdminStudio Pricing

The InstallShield AdminStudio 3.0 Value Pack is available immediately. All existing InstallShield AdminStudio 3.0 customers can obtain the Value Pack, at no charge, directly from within the product. Customers simply click the “Check for Updates” button under the Help menu and the complete Value Pack is immediately delivered and installed via the InstallShield Update Service. InstallShield AdminStudio 3.0 Professional is available for $2,899. AdminStudio can be evaluated and ordered from www.installshield.com/isas, or by calling (847) 240-9111 or (800) 374-4353. It is also available through a network of US and international authorized resellers and distributors worldwide. InstallShield offers comprehensive Professional Services including Windows 2000/Windows XP Application Migration, Installation Consulting, and Training. For more information, visit www.installshield.com/consulting/overview.asp.

About InstallShield Software Corp.

With worldwide headquarters outside of Chicago in Schaumburg, Ill., InstallShield Software Corp. is the acknowledged leader in software-distribution and software-deployment solutions for independent software vendors and corporate IT systems administrators. InstallShield technology powers deployment for the top 100 independent software vendors and is used by more than 200,000 corporate and commercial software developers and systems administrators worldwide. InstallShield also has European headquarters based in Bristol, England. For more information, visit www.installshield.com.

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