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Questions and Answers

 

Q: My full-time InstallShield resource recently left. Can your firm assist on a one-project basis?

A: Of course, we can pick-up an existing project, enhance it and deliver a fully-tested Installation Setup for a single project. We don't feel that you should be forced to hire a highly qualified InstallShield resource for short term project requirements.

Q: I only want to contract with experienced and certified InstallShield developers - are yours?

A: Yes, we pride ourselves on having attended multiple certifications courses conducted by InstallShield. We feel that ongoing education is the best way to stay abreast of the latest technology!

Q: We have legacy Setups that we want migrated to Windows Installer (MSI). Can Install Solutions do that?

A: We have extensive experience in migrating legacy setups the the MSI format. We have converted dialogs and adapted them to utilize MSI properties. In addition, we pioneered an innovative method to quickly convert extensive scripts to Custom Actions, thus shorten dramatically the development time to migrate the project.

Q: All of our Installation Setups were written in an earlier version of InstallShield. Can you work on them as they are - we don't want to undergo the expense of migrating to a newer version?

A: We have experience working with almost the entire InstallShield project line versions - from 3.0, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 6.1, 6.3, 7.0, 7.3, 9.0, X and X.5, 11, 11.5 and 12. We can continue to maintain and deliver setups with existing projects. We do recommend that if the InstallShield version is earlier than 6.0 the project should be upgraded to ensure potential compatability problems are not encountered with the latest 32-bit Windows Operating Systems (Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista).

Q: We are in a situation where the project is on a critical deadline. Can you supply a resource on-site?

A: Yes, other than the principles with Install Solutions we maintain relationships with numerous other MSI qualified InstallShield developers. We should be able to have someone on-site to assist. We will arrive with our own workstations that utilize VMWare using different InstallShield versions necessary for development and testing.

Q: Why should we develop/adapt our setups to the MSI format?

A: Organizations that are migrating to Windows XP/Vista architecture will use the features such as Active Directory and Group Policy and will want Installation Setups to take advantage of these features for mass deployment advantages.

The Basic MSI format offers these advantages:

  • Unattended installations
  • Application repair (also known as "Self-Healing")
  • Automated rollback if an abort occurs during application installation
  • Elevated Priviledges will allow deployment by non-Admin users to install applications that have NT Services
  • Advanced deployment options that are consistent across MSI formatted installs

Q: When your consultant departs, am I forced to engage Install Solutions again for future work?

A: Absolutely NOT! (well, only if you choose...) At the conclusion of the project, we will deliver to you the InstallShield source for archiving and will train a designated person to accomplish rudimentary tasks such as rebuilding the project to incorporate new application executables for periodic software updates.

Q: I need to install periodic updates to my application software. What do you recommend?

A: Legacy installs allow you to issue single executables in a self-extracting format to satisfy your customer requirements. We can assist in offering a specialized "Install from the Web" technique that will package your updates for delivery over the web and when applied, will update the application in-place.

On the other hand, your MSI formatted installs require that periodic updates be delivered only in a proprietary MSI based update format (i.e., transforms). This is because the MSI feature "self-repair" or "self-healing" utilizes a stashed copy of the component (executable or DLL) in a hidden MSI cache. This stashed copy is retrieved and is used to restore the original when it becomes corrupt or missing. Unfortunately if a customer "replaces" the executable with a newer one from your website, it could inadvertently trigger MSI to "self-repair" the executable from the original one in the cache.

The correct method to update applications is via the special MSI updates, which applies a transform to the MSI cache, updating the application executable, which is then used to replace the original file referenced by the shortcut.

Q: I want my Setup to be certified by Microsoft as "Logo Compliant". Can you handle this?

A: To be honest we have not had any clients who have desired to undergo the expense necessary to achieve the “Logo Compliant Install” from Microsoft. You must realize that the expense just to have VeriTest review the installation Setup will exceed $5K. This certification is typically only undertaken by those ISVs that are Microsoft partners and are required to achieve the logo.

Part of our development of your Setup will include the ICE Validation test, which must be conducted to “bullet-proof” your installation. The ICE Validation tests are a pre-requisite to submitting your Setup to VeriTest, so you are assured that the setup will conform to all specifications.


 
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