Hey guys, I'm very new to the Installer environment as my background is more in web development. However, I am creating the installer for a software application that contains several component msi's. these components are upgraded/updated regularly when new features are added to the application. I am using Installshield 9 Professional. My problem is:

1. how to deploy all the component msi's - I have tried using the custom actions feature of installshield (which manages to deploy one msi fine) but it gives me an error when i try to deploy more than one msi - yes i know this is against microsoft's industry standard. Because i need to deploy in total about 6-7 msi's (these msi's were writtern using microsoft installer.

2. how to write my own updater alikened to the microsoft windows updater or similar, so that when the application starts it will be able to tell if there are changes made to the components of the application software and downloads the updates automatically.

Can anyone please tell me how would i be able to do this?

Also, are there any learning resources or online courses I can do to improve my knowledge in this field? (I live in Australia...)

Thanks in advance!
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If you're not controlling the actual deployment mechanism (i.e. if these MSIs aren't being pushed by, say, Radia, SMS or Group Policy) then I guess your best bet is to build a simple EXE which calls out multiple times to MSIExec, running it against the MSIs. IS has tools to build these EXEs. The Help file should have details.

Writing an auto-updater is WAY beyond the scope of this forum. Besides any other consideration, what language would you be using? In the first instance, I'd advise you to not bother re-inventing the wheel and explore code which is already out there. I recall adapting some VB code I found on Planet Source Code http://www.pscode.com for a similar project years ago. Start there.

Finally education-wise, AppDeploy has some good stuff (e.g.http://www.appdeploy.com/video/), as does Altiris' Juice forum/knowledge base. http://juice.altiris.com/packaging
Answered 10/13/2008 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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Hi Tyla,
... that contains several component msi's.
What components are we speaking about here? Are these 3party COM components and the like?
If yes, check if they are available as "Merge Modules".
They can be embedded into a MSI package.
That would make your life a lot easier.
Regards, Nick
Answered 10/13/2008 by: nheim
Tenth Degree Black Belt

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Thanks for your prompt responses :)

VBScab, if I was to build a simple exe, will the installer be able to tell if I have updated the version number of each component? and download that updated component accordingly?
The main exe - the installer file needs to be very lightweight in order for the user to download it, and use it to check on our servers for any current updates to the components of the application program they are running.

The components that have been writtern are in C#, .NET and 4D.

I have also thought about using prerequsites which seems to work well with what I am doing.

Thankyou so much for the training link!

Nheim, I think that they are Com components I am not too sure about that as I didn't program these components. And I havent a clue what they do.

I have tried to merge these components as modules however the solution simply doesn't work so I assume that it can't be done that way for my problem.

Also I want the components to be seperated for ease of updating for the clients.

Thanks for your input anyhow

Answered 10/13/2008 by: MzTyla
Senior Yellow Belt

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i have written a custom tool to do exactly that for distributed web clusters if your interested drop me an email.

caters for MCSC and NLB web cluster environments .. etc

Answered 10/13/2008 by: jmcfadyen
Fifth Degree Black Belt

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