install wizard

Overall, I like this wizard a great deal—it is the first installation product I’ve come across that doesn’t assume the installation process is a task for a company’s village idiot. In the past, I’ve found it noticeably quicker to write my own installation programs than use those awful scripting tools, despite the fact that it is not a trivial process to work through all the possible dangers and consequences of an installation process, program round them, and thoroughly test everything.

I’ve encountered some problems with the beta release. In order of ascending importance:

  • It won’t compile under Visual C++ 5 (easy to fix).
  • If no temporary directory is defined on the installation computer, the code produce by the Wizard assumes a temp directory of the current directory—the directory from which Setup is being run. This is a problem when installing from floppy disks, since the floppy disk is full of installation files at the time. This can be fixed by adding a small amount of code at initialisation to set the TMP environment variable to an appropriate location (create a subdirectory off the Windows directory called TEMP?).
  • Automatic registration of OLE components is not there. I’d have expected this to be implemented, by having an option in the Setup preparation utility, and to actually register the components after files have been copied, perhaps by applying REGSVR32 to them. There are two consequence of this—firstly, it becomes important to be able to define the order of installation of software, because you can’t register something if it depends on something else that itself hasn’t been registered—and it probably makes it necessary to have a more sophisticated post–reboot process which can register those components which could only be copied during reboot.

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