Product Reviews

Quick Review: InstallShield Developer

Installation program adds new features in latest release, including InstallScript.

InstallShield's latest release of their Windows application deployment product is an impressive combination of past successes and new technologies. Notable here is the support for their own InstallScript scripting language within Windows Installer setup files. This makes it easy for users of previous versions to move to the latest Windows Installer technology (version 2.0 is fully supported) without a huge investment in rewriting custom scripts. The product also offers support for both 64-bit and hybrid 32/64-bit installations, Internet deployment support, and excellent integration of help directly into the InstallShield user interface. Other key features include an excellent dialog editor, full support for globalization, and wizards that will get you started on building a new setup amazingly quickly.

Overall, InstallShield Developer provides an excellent mix of features. I'm particularly impressed by their attention to the learning curve involved in building professional setup programs. Windows Installer technology is far from simple, but you don't have to understand it at all to deploy your product with the Windows Installer; just let InstallShield do all the work. When you get a little more adventurous, you can experiment with tools such as the dialog editor or the drag-and-drop Registry editor. The truly hardcore developer has full access to all the internals of the setup through tools like the script editor or the direct editor view of the underlying Installer tables.

If you're developing applications for the commercial market, this product will do a great job of carrying you through the critical deployment phase of the project.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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