Since my sccmautodoc program is getting close to completion I set out to try and see whether I could create an install for it.
Most of the bug reports I received back was from people that didn’t have all the requirements installed. SccmAutoDoc needs the .net framework 3.5, word 2007,and the .Net program interop assemblies for word 2007.
I started of by trying to do this in Visual studio as it contains a setup builder, yet for this poor little techy, having it detect all these dependencies was a bit challenging. Using some blogpost I figured out how to have it test for the .net framework 3.5 and the office 2007 pia’s, but testing for word 2007 was beyond me.
As a result I started my search for a packaging tool, and started of by looking at the 2 market leaders flexera and wise, to quickly find out that even their most basic editions are relatively expensive. Flexera offers a free ConfigMgr edition, but that version installs all tools from the enterprise edition with most of them disabled and giving you a nagging windows box when you try to use them.
Subsequently from this post at windowsnetworking.com I found two other contenders, namely, Advanced Installer and Scriptlogic MSI studio. I went to both their websites, and both seemed to offer what I wanted. I eventually went and downloaded advanced installer, as it was hassle free to download and evaluation version of even their enterprise edition. Just click the link and download, no registration required, simple hassle-free, no risk of having a representative contact me to see whether I liked it 2 hours after I downloaded. In short, evaluation software just like the good old days.
Download & install were a breeze, now I needed to make my hands dirty and hammer out my install program. And in contrast to what I expected, my most challenging task in Visual studio (checking whether word 2007 is installed) was as simple as enabling a checkbox in advanced installer. And having the .net framework tested and potentially downloaded when needed didn’t take me more than 5 minutes neither. Integrating the .Net Program interop assemblies took a bit longer, as the download from the internet wouldn’t work. The office 2007 pia download appears to be a self-extracting exe that downloads an msi, that needs to be manually launched after that. On the advanced installer forums I found a post that suggested integrating the msi into your installer, and with that knowledge, it again only took me a couple of minutes to finish off my installer.
I am pretty happy with the result, it detects everything you need at install time, and even installs most components for you if you need them (word 2007 excluded obviously).
So if you are looking for an inexpensive packaging solution because you only require a packaging program every so often, have a look at advanced installer, it certainly did what I needed it to do in a pretty intuitive way.
Alternatively have a look at scriptlogic MSI Studio, I haven’t actually used it, as advanced installer was easier to get my hands on, but I have heard good things about it too.
"Everyone is an expert at something"
Kim Oppalfens – Sms Expert for lack of any other expertise
Windows Server System MVP – SMS