InstallAware... finally an installer tool I can appreciate!

Posted by on in Blogs

I vaguely hinted at this way back in October 2006 with this post talking about how installers are important.  Well, I can finally come out an actually say something about it.  In case you missed it, InstallAware issued this press release last month.  Over the course of the past year besides being neck deep in all the DevCo/Developer Tools Group/CodeGear happenings, I've also been actively working on completely revamping and re-architecting our whole product delivery, localization and install processes.  Many of these processes were somewhat “dated” and overworked.  Some of these consisted of an indecipherable complex “Rube Goldberg” machines.  Some of which which are still in the process of being overhauled.  All of this is in keeping with one of the CodeGear CEO, Ben Smith's, mantra of “Simplifying the business” at all levels.

At the middle of last last year I personally took on the challenge of completing the initial “proof of concept” research project done by a former Delphi install engineer serving as a temporary contractor.  This research project was to ensure that InstallAware was going to be suitable for our purposes.  On paper and in all the demos given by InstallAware CEO, Sinan Karaca we were very encouraged and excited.  IA offered a flexible scripting mechanism, full MSI support, easy plugin development (although due to the scripting we're doing minimal work here), built-in pre-req integration, auto-update, automatic web download deployment, and a host of other “21st century” features.  So we embarked on a small project to create a proof of concept.  Throughout this process, we received impecible support from Sinan.  As this project was winding down, I was looking at the results and it was clear that some of our upstream processes really needed some work before we'd be able to fully realized the potential of IA.

This is where I got heavily involved.  I needed a new challenge and a little bit of a distraction from the divestiture/spin-off process.  I also wanted to continue to be contributing in a meaningful way to the [B]*DS team and the product.  Since we'd faced some unfortunate attrition within the Integration team, I jumped in to fill in the gap.  Within the next couple of months, I plan on creating a case study for InstallAware outlining in further detail some of the tools and process we've created to work with IA.

I must say that it is has been and continues to be a pleasure working with Sinan, and InstallAware.  He's been very professional and highly responsive.  So, if you haven't taken a look at InstallAware, you should.  Oh!  And did I mention that it is built with Delphi!?



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Comments

  • Guest
    Shloma Baum Monday, 12 February 2007

    Agree 100% on this, I also jumped the gun and started using IA, I really love it....

  • Guest
    Jason Monday, 12 February 2007

    I think CyberInstaller has some nice features, but I see you guys at CG were looking for something more complex and fexible. Anyway, if you want to give a look: http://www.silvercybertech.com/english/index.html">http://www.silvercybertech.com/english/index.html



    By the way, InstallAware is great!

  • Guest
    David Clegg Monday, 12 February 2007

    I'd also like to voice my support for InstallAware. Both the CodeCentral Open Tool Add-in (http://cc.codegear.com/Item/24005">http://cc.codegear.com/Item/24005) and http://www.borland.com/delphi" target="_blank">Delphi 2005 CodeCentral Examples (http://cc.codegear.com/Item/22883">http://cc.codegear.com/Item/22883) installers were created using InstallAware, and it was a pleasure to work with.



    And any problems I encountered which may have required input from InstallAware were always delt with promptly and professionally by Sinan.

  • Guest
    David Clegg Monday, 12 February 2007

    I'd also like to voice my support for InstallAware. Both the CodeCentral Open Tool Add-in (http://cc.codegear.com/Item/24005">http://cc.codegear.com/Item/24005) and http://www.borland.com/delphi" target="_blank">Delphi 2005 CodeCentral Examples (http://cc.codegear.com/Item/22883">http://cc.codegear.com/Item/22883) installers were created using InstallAware, and it was a pleasure to work with.



    And any problems I encountered which may have required input from InstallAware were always delt with promptly and professionally by Sinan.

  • Guest
    C Johnson Monday, 12 February 2007

    Of course, if you want a http://www.borland.com/delphi" target="_blank">Delphi installer with source, there is always INNO Setup too...

  • Guest
    Holger Flick Monday, 12 February 2007

    Inno will always be my number one tool to install. With wonderful 3rd party plugins and the source being available it will always outrank any other solution. Its only flaw is missing MSI support if one needs it. However, nobody asked me for that specifically, so I can continue using solutions built with Inno. I also enjoy the simplicity of Inno. I had a look at IA a while ago and the giant number of sophisticated features made it difficult to use for me at first.

  • Guest
    Ahto Monday, 12 February 2007

    Yeah, right, empty installer without files is around 1 megabyte? Isn't this just plain waste? I recently gave InstallAware a try as I was thinking about migrating to MSI based setup tool. I agree that this thing looks very nice on paper but in reality I was not that impressed. I like Wise tools better, more robust and compact.

  • Guest
    David R. Robinson Monday, 12 February 2007

    We were about to lose a 1800 user client because we couldn't get InstallShield/MSI to install 20 files and register 2 DLLs successfully.



    Microsoft has never made a decent installer. It's always a black box API that is huge, slow, and cumbersome. InstallShield just makes things even worse. It is even more bloatware on top of MSI.



    After a previous developer of ours created an InstallShield/MSI installer that was failing to deploy successfully to three clients, I wrote an InnoSetup version.



    The InstallShield/MSI one was 16mb, took 3 minutes to install (most of which was initializing MSI), and failed 20% of the time. In fact, it would even say it succeeded when it actually failed. What was worse is you couldn't get it to give you a log that was telling you what happened.



    The InnoSetup replacment is less than 4mb, literally takes about 10 seconds to install and works perfectly. If an error occurs there's a very verbose log that is created as well.



    After spending several hundred dollars on InstallShield, the free InnoSetup product works 10,000 times better and saved us a 1800 user customer.

  • Guest
    Excessive Monday, 12 February 2007

    You're appreciating wrong tool. Here's the correct one:



    http://www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php">http://www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php



    It is coded with http://www.borland.com/delphi" target="_blank">Delphi, and is the best free installer out there.

  • Guest
    Olaf Monien Monday, 12 February 2007

    We tried InstallAware a while ago for IntraWeb. First we were impressed by the features and functionality and we got good getting started support. When we later got into the real business, we ran into some problems though. The setup got slower and slower and produced huge files. This was time when the IA guys got "unresponsive". We had to decide that we had to go back to InnoSetup - at the end of the day it was just easier to use and *way* faster.



    We have asked IA several times to remove our quote, which we gave them *before* we ran to to the issues:

    http://www.installaware.com/clients.htm">http://www.installaware.com/clients.htm



    For whatever ever reason, they never responded to that or removed it. To make it clear, we are NOT using IA for IntraWeb anymore.



    For us InnoSetup has all we need. Even Web based installs - which we are not using because our customers said they want full installs. The only thing that IA would offer on top of Inno is MSI support...



    Regards,

    Olaf

  • Guest
    Olaf Monien Monday, 12 February 2007

    We tried InstallAware a while ago for IntraWeb. First we were impressed by the features and functionality and we got good getting started support. When we later got into the real business, we ran into some problems though. The setup got slower and slower and produced huge files. This was time when the IA guys got "unresponsive". We had to decide that we had to go back to InnoSetup - at the end of the day it was just easier to use and *way* faster.



    We have asked IA several times to remove our quote, which we gave them *before* we ran to to the issues:

    http://www.installaware.com/clients.htm">http://www.installaware.com/clients.htm



    For whatever ever reason, they never responded to that or removed it. To make it clear, we are NOT using IA for IntraWeb anymore.



    For us InnoSetup has all we need. Even Web based installs - which we are not using because our customers said they want full installs. The only thing that IA would offer on top of Inno is MSI support...



    Regards,

    Olaf

  • Guest
    Olaf Monien Monday, 12 February 2007

    sorry - double post was not by intention.

  • Guest
    Frede Wednesday, 14 February 2007

    An interesting post on InstallAware and their "stealing" of intellectual property can be found here.

    http://msmvps.com/blogs/installsite/archive/2006/12/11/412661.aspx">http://msmvps.com/blogs/installsite/archive/2006/12/11/412661.aspx



    I personally have no experience in their products but the comments on this blog post made by their CEO just tells me that I would never do business with these guys.

  • Guest
    Ulrik Sandström Wednesday, 14 February 2007

    Inno Setup rules!

  • Guest
    robert west Friday, 16 February 2007

    Congratulations. The install stuff was a complex mess when I was there, and it's fantastic to hear that you've sorted it out. :)

  • Guest
    german gentile Friday, 10 August 2007

    The 'features' implies to the customer hold 1.5 gb of cahce to install 100 mb (like in d2007 update2). I think you must rethink of the customer experience is rich with that kind of installer. O doubt it. The automatic update dont work in my case, and even Nick cannot fin the fails. IMHO installaware is not the rigth installer. You do a big mistake, put all that dollars to support a first classs setup like inno, and return some of the ivestment to the http://www.codegear.com/delphi" target="_blank">Delphi community.



    I amazed how many bad choices can take the people.

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