A replacement for InstallShield
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Thread: A replacement for InstallShield

  1. #1
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    A replacement for InstallShield

    What are people recommending these days for software installation packaging? I'm still using an ancient version of InstallShield which I purchased about 8 years ago. It still gets the job done - but....

    1) The old style setup.exe GUI is starting to look a bit dated now.
    2) InstallSheild's own IDE is by no means intuitive.
    3) Despite all my hopes, it's never really come down that much in price and there are no upgrade deals available for Version 8, which I'm using.

    So it's time to start looking for something new. What do people recommend?

    Whenever I install anything from Adobe I'm always (mildly) impressed with their installer but it's probably something proprietory. Also, today I installed a softward package called Final Media Player and I was very impressed with its installer (though that one might be propretory too for all I know).

    What else is available?
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

  2. #2
    PeejAvery's Avatar
    PeejAvery is offline Super Moderator Power Poster
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    I've liked NSIS in the past. Inno Setup is also very popular. Both are free and rather easy to use.
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  3. #3
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    Thanks for the links. I've looked at Inno Setup in the past but I'd never heard of NSIS. I must admit though, their user dialogs looked almost identical to InstallShield which I already use. I was hoping to find something a bit more visually impressive. Some modern programs come with really nice installers these days but maybe they're just skins for older products. I do know that InstallShield supports skinning though I've never found the time to look into it. Might try that route first.
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

  4. #4
    PeejAvery's Avatar
    PeejAvery is offline Super Moderator Power Poster
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    NSIS is also fully customizable in the UI department.
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  5. #5

    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    I was hoping to find something a bit more visually impressive.
    First +1 for NSIS.

    Second, not massively constructive to the thread but this is an interesting requirement, surely the installer is just a means to an end, it seems odd that you might need to introduce a wow factor at this stage.

  6. #6
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    I guess the problem is that my (now very old) version of InstallShield has fallen behind the times. As an example, it can automatically install certain frameworks if they need to be present on the end user's system - but the ones it can install are mostly out of date now. For example it can install the redistributable modules for VC++8, but not for VC++9 or 10. So in a roundabout way, InstallShield is limiting the other development tools I can use.

    Actually, this is quite an important requirement. Whatever its faults, InstallShield makes it very simple, not only to install my appication's modules, but also other things like shortcuts / registry keys / startup menu entries and 3rd party frameworks. It's also extremely good at letting me control which installation options get presented to the end user. Am I right in assuming that NSIS and Inno Setup are similarly feature-rich? My requirement is really to find something with a bit more pizazz but with the great wealth of features offered by InstalShield - but without the grossly high price tag..!
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

  7. #7
    PeejAvery's Avatar
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    NSIS is completely scriptable. You can make it do anything as long as you script it.

    Inno Setup is also very feature rich. Best part is the free price tag!
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  8. #8
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    Here is an older thread with the same subject:
    http://www.codeguru.com/forum/showthread.php?t=413000

    You can also try Advanced Installer.

  9. #9
    John E is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: A replacement for InstallShield

    I need to revisit this requirement (i.e. finding an alternative to InstallShield) after basically, doing nothing! In an ideal world, I'd be perfectly happy to upgrade InstallShield but it's just too darn expensive... especially after I paid so much money for my current version!!

    NSIS is still a possibility (maybe) but I kinda disregarded Inno Setup after realising that (evidently) it doesn't participate in reference counting. So if my application installs some components that some other app already installed, uninstalling either of them will stop the other from working. (can anyone confirm this? I have only anecdotal evidence to support it - and one test on my own system which seemed to confirm it).

    Another installer that's been suggested to me is Wix. Anyone heard of it or have any experience with it?
    "A problem well stated is a problem half solved. - Charles F. Kettering

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