Level 5

InstallShield 2011 features that you paying for but don't use

Good day InstallShield developers,

I want to create some pool to analyze InstallShield usage practices in the community and share my own experience.
It is sad that some of the InstallShield functionality that we payed for is not in the condition when it is usable in the modern world and environments.
As result - we pay for the features we actually don't use in InstallShield. Let's localize this ineffectiveness. Let's help Flexera to drive in the customer's direction.
So... My list as follows:

We don't use in general:
1. Setup.exe because it doesn't allow multi-product setups and functionality is quite limited (will be replaced by custom solution);
2. .NET custom actions because the support and error handling implemented in them are too poor (WIX DTF is free and much more supirior);
3. InstallShield Automation interface - poorly documented from my point of view.
4. InstallShield Collaboration - poor tool functionality and application developers don't want to use it in general;
5. VisualStudio & TFS integration - UI is slow and integration is not complex (causes issues).
6. Technical support - usually useless in Bronze maintenance. Usually faster to solve problem by yourself or bypass the issue in case of the application bug. Most time spend on the assuring technical support that you is not a lamer and problem is serious.

Features that have value for us:
1. Visualization of the MSI package design;
2. IIS support and custom actions;
3. WYSIWYG GUI editor;
4. Older InstallScript support (but soon won't be);

Your experience?..
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6 Replies
Level 16

I have the opposite problem. I (my company that is) pay big $$$ for an automation interface ( that I use the heck out of ) but I'm always finding that it's incomplete.

For example IS2011 doesn't expose one tiny bit of the IIS functionality.
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Level 9


Using IS dev. it is not possible to have a project solution with more then one Install Project.

So, we have written our own automation program to build msi and msm using a list.
It use IS-automation interface. Due to poor documentation we have developed this app by try and doing.

We are still using two types of installation:
Basic-msi with setup.exe
ISScript - with IS - Script Objects.

If IS would not support ISScript - Installation in the future,
we would not renew our maintenance plan.

The integration in VS2010 is slowly and we are not using it at all.
We use only source save from TFS. It is not comfortable.

It would be helpfull, if we could integrate TFS-Source save in IS-dev studio.
You could give us the opportunity to integrate it to menue: Project\Source Control.

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Level 9

you have replaced entire script editor control this release (2011).
Bookmarks is one piece of functionality that are not re-added.
(work order number IOA-000054204). We are still waiting for!

In my eyes the old script editor was better in operation and

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Level 5

It look like same experience in your cases!

I also attempted to do the implementation of our custom tool that uses IS automation, but stopped on some point - had other work to do (and also found some features incomplete, but thought that they just poorly documented). And I doubt that customer want to invest in development of the custom tool in addition of such big license expenses.

Some conclusions that we made:

  • InstallShield don't improve and release features that customers need;
  • At the short term - bought concurrent licenses in expense of usual ones to improve development experience (but even here had problems with the paid delivery - took ONE MONTH);
  • As the long term plan - minimize usage of InstallShield features as much as possible;
  • Evaluate other MSI design tools and keep WIX DTF as a core technology;
  • Only great functionality that we admire - visual designer that allows fast and easy review of the UI, sequences, components, features and custom actions implemented.

So integration with Microsoft and Visual Studio 2010 now doesn't matter - product don't follow market requirements and priced out of the market.

Why such non-customer oriented strategy chosen by Flexera? Is InstallShield internal design so poor that it doesn't allow improvements to be implemented fast and with good quality?

My proposals:
  • Lower price, then community will support tool and question won't be so siginficant;
  • Implement plugin interface;
  • Re-write product (original one could be even open-sourced) following latest market demands and this will make support price lower.

Just ways how to keep market share...

It is dare, but it might be good to start the petition or use this topic to somehow get the response from Flexera regarding future plans.
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Level 9

the only one proposal I have is
to ask IS users to make a wish list
to be implemented in the next IS2012 version, this year.
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Level 5

Good idea... But some wishes might be out of scope and according to my experience Flexera don't usually follow this.
Started here:
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