ISWIX, LLC View Christopher Painter's profile on LinkedIn profile for Christopher Painter at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ask the readers...

I need some suggestions from everyone out there.

We are considering moving away from our current install product to a new one. I need some suggestions on what should be put on our short list for evaluation.

Here is a little information about our environment and requirements:
  • Integration with PVCS would be a definite plus
  • We support multiple languages (FIGS, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, et al)
  • Support over 40 products with multiple branches (~150 projects in all, conversion will be a factor)
  • Support for Windows 2000 SP3 (Pro and Server), XP, Vista, Server 2003, Server 2008, IIS5 and above, SQL 2000 and above, Oracle 9i and above
  • We have a homegrown automated build application so OLE automation /COM support is an absolute must
  • x86 & x64 support
I think those are major factors for consideration. I would be interested to not only hear from users but also Product Managers if they wouldn't mind hearing from a squeaky wheel.


  1. Aaron,

    Knowing your history one can assume you are generating MSI's.

    For automated builds i would of thought you would already be into WiX. I currently use WiX and TFS with team build.

    What about using MSBuild and WiX.

    John M

  2. Aaron,

    You're evaluation process should have some interesting results. I know I would be interested to hear a blow-by-blow analysis and what your final determination ends up.

    I would definitely suggest throwing InstallShield into the mix. It meets all of your requirements and then some. There is a complete Automation interface (incl build), built-in support for all common supported languagues (with all standard dialogs already translated) plus the bootstrap.ext to handle language selection prompts. The configuration/release build structure supports your request for mulitple products on multiple branches. There is built-in support for all Windows OS and services packs. The Server Configuration functionality provides database and IIS support. Finally, there is support for both x86 and x64.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Wix but you would do well to compare side-by-side with InstallShield.

    Leslie Easter
    The Orange Brain Company

  3. I'm trying to give my opinion without a lengthy post. The short of it is that WiX and InstallShield have different strengths and weeknesses and could really compliment each other either in terms of integration or in terms of adopting pieces of each others design philosphy.

    What does that mean for you? If you only have a few people working on the installs, I'd go buy InstallShield for them. Otherwise I'd look into creating a tierd system of installs consisting of fragements, merge modules and a single InstallShield project to bring it all together.

  4. After evaluating Chris's comments I think he is right about the tiered approach it offers some nice benefits.

    Wix can be a little annoying when trying to do simple things Wise or Installshield could whip up in seconds.

    Im not sure if I would go Wise or Installshield. To be fair on installshield I haven't evaluated it in a long time (I think version 6 was my last foray with IS). At the time I wasn't that happy with it but things could of changed.

    Aaron you will know I was always previously a Wise advocate.