Software installers

Posted by on in Blogs

Software installers.. There seems to be a huge gap between the commercial and well.. the other end of the scale. I've tried a few and that's at least the impression that I have.

Borland Delphi 7 ships with InstallShield Express (Borland Limited Edition) v3.5 Service Pack 4. As far as I'm concerned, it's great.. for the most part. It allows you to easily (and mostly intuitively) create install programs for your software. No messing with install scripts where you have to learn the install script language.

Problem number 1 is that the installer it creates won't do updates, ie if you create an installer for a later version of your software, the users must uninstall the previous version first. Problem 2 is that XP SP2 breaks the registry modification section. You can't create installers that create or modify registry settings, and there appears to be no fix for this.

I've also worked with InnoSetup. I can't understand why some think it's so great. Don't get me wrong; if you're into learning install script language, it is a great tool, but to my mind, creating install programs should be relatively painless. Same goes for NSIS (from NullSoft), which I've just started using. It seems to be the easier of those two to learn, but it's still a pain to learn the script language.

Shouldn't creating install programs be (close to) this easy?:

Select the files that are to be installed, the destination(s) to which they are to go to, write some configuration settings, select some fancy install splash screens, and that's about it. If the install program creator wants to create a script, it can do so, which can be “tweaked” if necessary.

Perhaps I just haven't looked hard enough.. someone please tell me I'm wrong! Meanwhile, I'm sticking with NSIS and contemplating writing a script wizard for it.


  • unSigned
    unSigned Sunday, 17 September 2017

    I am adding up to date information about installation systems. Now it is possible to create installers directly from RAD Studio IDE.

    *RAD & Installer*: RAD Studio expert for creating NSIS and Inno Setup installers directly from IDE with advanced features like Syntax highlighting (coloring), Code Insight Code Completion, Parameter Hints, Code Hints, Navigation Bars, Ctrl + Click, Find Declaration, Go To file, Live Templates, etc.

  • Guest
    Dave Craggs Tuesday, 22 November 2005

    I always found Installshield Express very awkward to use. The biggest drawback was that it didn't use relative paths.

    I find InnoSetup very simple to use. You can use the wizard to create the simple installation you mentioned, and the actual project file itself is textual and can easily be edited later.

    The fact that it is textual makes using InnoSetup within FinalBuilder very simple as you can change the settings as necessary to build on different machines, and change things like version numbers automatically.

    And the Delphi like scripting is great.


  • Guest
    Dave Nottage Tuesday, 22 November 2005


    Thanks for the feedback re: InnoSetup. Looks like I might need to revisit it.

  • Guest
    Sebastian Modersohn Tuesday, 22 November 2005

    Have you tried using InnoSetup in connection with ISTool? That is a very slick visual editor for the InnoSetup script.

    It also provides a wizard mode which works along the lines of what you mentioned of how easy creating an install program should be.


  • Guest
    Dave Nottage Tuesday, 22 November 2005


    Thanks for the info about ISTool! I'll update my blog to reflect this

  • Guest
    Roddy Pratt Wednesday, 23 November 2005

    I'd also recommend ISTool with InnoSetup. It's a great way to start using InnoSetup.

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