More on Software Installations

Recently I posted this on my experiences with multiple installations for multiple environments.  I got a response from David Lockwood that suggested I look into using MSI Transforms.  After reading a few things (this, this, and this) I’m pretty confident that using MSI Transforms would have worked for us. 

One of the things that we had to deliver to the client was an installation that the IT department could take to the server, double click, and have installation run and complete with no more user interaction required.  I’m sure we all know that deployment environments change and this “one-click” deployment requirement would definitely have the possibility of input changes.  So what we delivered was the MSI file, answer.xml file (contains the potential variable values) and a DOS batch file that runs the MSI file and points it at the answer.xml file.  Double click the DOS batch file and the installation runs to successful completion or failure.

Based on my research of MSI Transforms, <caveat> which is only a day old </caveat>, it appears that we would have shipped the client a MSI file, a transform file and a DOS batch file that runs the MSI file and points it at the transform file.

I know that everyone is thinking “Oh, but you don’t need the DOS batch file”.  Well, according to our client, no matter how much documentation we wrote on how to type the correct command line entry, that was not a viable solution.  So we were stuck creating a batch file which, in almost all cases, has only one line in it.

So, thanks to David, I will certainly be looking at the use of MSI Transforms when I run into these types of installs again.

I’m the Igloo Coder and no matter how much I try msiexec /i TheIgloo.msi TRANSFORMS=BigPalatialShack.mst nothing really changes.