Briefing: WinINSTALL 8

$15-18 per managed machine for WinINSTALL 8 or $2500 for WinINSTALL MSI Packager Professional
OnDemand Software, Inc.
Bonita Springs, Florida
(239) 495-0541

I had a chance to talk with the OnDemand folks about WinINSTALL version 8, which came out around the first of the year. There are actually two products to mention here. THe main product, WinINSTALL 8, is designed to be a complete solution for administrators who need to distribute software around a network. It handles a whole mess of different functions, including repackaging legacy software to the MSI (Windows Installer) format, conflict assessment, patch management, network hardware and software inventory, and other administrative tasks. Version 8 is a major upgrade that includes, among other changes:

  • A new database-backed architecture that runs on either SQL Server or Oracle
  • A service-based agent technology that delivers, among other things, hardware and software inventory down to the file level
  • Deep integration into Active Directory (so, for example, you can easily deploy a package to every machine in an OU)
  • Vulnerability assessment and patch management

The other product here may be of more interest to developers. WinINSTALL MSI Packager Professional is a new version of WinINSTALL that takes the MSI-creation parts and breaks them out as a product for the developer who wants to deliver a product as a Windows Installer setup. In addition to the features you might expect (like an automatic, point & click, fast way to build packages), Packager Professional distinguishes itself by conflic assessment. OnDemand is hoping that this makes it a superior development choice for corporate environments. The idea is that you can have a database of what's already installed on your corporate desktops, and immediately see when a new install is going to overwrite a file or munch a Registry key.

Packager Professional also includes patch creation and MSI validation functions, and is included in the full WinINSTALL system. I should be bringing you a more hands-on review in a future issue of Developer Central. Meanwhile, there's an evaluation download at OnDemand's Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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