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Visual Studio Installer

Namespace: WIN_COM_API
New addition to Visual Studio, Installer (VSI), released as version 1.0

From the Microsoft site:

Microsoft® Visual Studio Installer is a graphical tool that simplifies the creation of application setup programs for distribution to single user or enterprise-wide desktops. Setups created with the Visual Studio Installer provide advanced capabilities such as centralized distribution for maintenance and updates, application self-repair, and powerful installation rollback facilities.

The site mentions (obviously) how well it works with VC++, VB, VJ but not much about VFP (obviously again).
Question: how well does it work with VFP6? Is it worth getting as a free replacement to the VFP Setup Wizard?
The new guide (including VFP merge module) and tutorial for using Visual Studio Installer with VFP has been posted at Using Microsoft Visual Studio Installer for Distributing [[Visual FoxPro]] 6.0 Applications -- Cindy Winegarden, thanks to RogerAnsell.
A few comments from somebody who's always looking for better ways to install applications:

I personally think that if you need installer technology the VStudio installer is not the right way to go. The installer is very limited and provides less functionality even than the VFP Setup Wizard if you can believe that. Other than the fact that it's the latest MS standard the VStudio installer doesn't provide anything new.

The biggest problems I see:
  • No post setup executables.
  • No script support of any kind.
  • Difficult to register components and it failed to register ActiveX controls for me.
  • The UI in the Dev Shell is so slow you'll likely fall asleep while waiting for the next option to come up.
  • A large runtime is required in order to install on machines that don't have the Windows Installer on them, which today is most computers.
    I would content that most computers these days are Windows 2000 or Windows XP, and they should have Automatic Updates turned on, and as a result *will* have Windows Installer. -- Alan Bourke

    The first two are the biggest issue for me - the inability to at least bootstrap a post install program is really painful since many VFP applications require additional setup to be performed.

    Also, I'm totally blown that Microsoft decided to not support any scripting for the installer - it's crucial for many applications to read information from the registry or the OS via Active Directory to configure pieces of the application. You don't see an install from Front Page for example, fire up another program just register Front Page extensions and set up the required virtual directories - of course not that's done as part of the install script!

    -- Rick Strahl
    Windows Installer is included with Windows2000 and Win98, so like HTMLHelp, at present, it isn't everywhere but it certainly is getting there.
    The real benefit I see of the Installer is its ability to register those standard ActiveX controls that don't get registered properly.
    While the Setup Wizard was good, it didn't offer the customization that many applications need (without the need to look at something like InstallShield or Wise Installer).
    Andrew MacNeill
    Has anyone been able to figure out how you can set the 'start in' property of the shortcut that is created? -- RanjanBrahna
    Yes. Q242586 Offsite link to;EN-US;Q242586 INFO: Can't Change the "Start in:" Property of a Shortcut in VSI -
    This is about as unacceptable a solution as possible! So, to build a release, one not only has to use a program outside of VFP, and change the version & Build #'s by hand, but one also has to load the MSI file after it is built (by hand, of course) into Orca, and change the StartIn properties of all the installed shortcuts!

    This second step is Required by any VFP program that is being released with Visual Studio Installer that needs a Resource file, or else the resource files get dumped onto the desktop (or whatever other random folder Windows happens to start the shortcut in!). see Q272219 Offsite link to;EN-US;Q272219 PRB: Visual FoxPro App Installed with Visual Studio Installer Creates Foxuser Files on Desktop

    So this is why the VFP team decided to package InstallShield Express with VFP7... Visual Studio Installer is incomplete! -- ?wgcs
    I had been very frustrated with Visual Studio Installer when I wrote the above. Eventually, I got just as frustrated with InstallShield Express, because it has no obvious programmatic way to set the version number. Then I discovered that InstallShield Express stores its project files in an .MSI-compatible database format (.ISE files), and the "Windows Installer.Installer" COM object can help access them. See the InstallShield Express topic for a way to change the version # in an ISE file, which should also work for automating the manual changes mentioned above. - wgcs

    Category Tools Category Installers
  • ( Topic last updated: 2005.12.23 07:53:34 AM )