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Briefing: InstallShield X

InstallShield X
starting at $1199
InstallShield
Schaumburg, Illinois
(847) 466-4000
www.installshield.com

You might recall that for the version 9, InstallShield merged their Professional (proprietary script) and Developer (MSI-based) products into the single InstallShield DevStudio product. Well, this year, they've gone a step further, by merging in the MultiPlatform and Update Service bits as well, and the resulting soup-to-nuts setup builder is dubbed simple InstallShield X. I haven't gotten my hands on a copy yet, but I did chat with the product managers and see some demos, so here's what I understand is coming.

There's now one IDE for handling everything: Windows, Linux, Unix, PalmOS, PocketPC and Windows Mobile solutions can all be constructed with the same set of tools. They've worked to bring the MultiPlatform version to parity with the Windows stuff, so there's an easy transition path for Windows developers who want to move on to cross-platform work.

The new product also includes a starter version of InstallShield's Update Service, which lets you deliver upgraded versions to users when they sign on to the Internet. The Starter Edition will notify users of updates and provide a link back to your Web site for them to download the updates. If you like, you can upgrade to the Professional Edition, which enables integrated download and installation of updates. The Starter Edition is also limited to 50,000 users of your application.

Other new features here include a wizard for installing Windows device drivers, one-click support for the Java Runtime Engine redistributable, the ability to save projects for previous versions of InstallShield to open, a visual dialog editor for the *nix setups, support for configuring SQL Servers and their databases, and better support for installation prerequisites.

All in all, this looks like another nice step forward for one of the leading vendors of setup technology. You can read much more information, or request an evaluation copy, on the InstallShield 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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