Installation softwaremade for developers

Wise Solutions Inc. is offering installation-authoring tools designed to reduce the complexity of creating software installations in the Windows workstation environment.

Brien Witkowski, president of Wise, said users of his firm’s installation software – InstallMaster, InstallBuilder and InstallMaker – tend to order a copy prior to shipping their applications to market.

“Usually people are on the one yard line and are ready to ship their applications when we get the call from them,” Witkowski said. “In fact, 80 per cent of our software is shipped overnight.”

Version 8.0 of the multi-tiered product offering targets varying audiences.

“We started out in 1994 with our software and found there are some very distinct groups within the installation community,” he said. “So we designed different programs to suit those unique groups.”

To that end, InstallMaster is designed for experienced developers who want complete control over every aspect of their installations in any Windows platform and contains integrated debugging, advanced script writing, custom dialogue editing and custom graphics editing. InstallMaster also features SmartPatch for creating installation patches, SetupCapture for repackaging other installations into easy-to-use Wise scripts, and Web Deploy for efficient, one-click downloading of applications from the Internet.

“If you have to download in a single session on a non-stable Internet connection, Web Deploy breaks up that installation into smaller chunks,” Witkowski explained. “It downloads only the parts you need and checks your system before it installs them. If you lose your Internet connection, Web Deploy allows you to pick up exactly where you left off…what used to be a cumbersome process is not anymore.”

Furthermore, version 8.0 of InstallMaster also features Import Registry Settings – rather than typing tedious registry settings by hand, users can now import registry files into their installation. This is the quickest way to add lots of registry keys at once with a minimum of errors. Plus, the Installation Templates are designed for those who consistently use the same default settings in their installation routines.

“The programs are very well designed for ease-of-use and implementation…they’re well conceived,” said Richard L. Tack, a software analyst with the Hurwitz Group Inc. in Framingham, Mass. “They certainly seem to have focused on identifying the key requirements to their targeted client base, which are primarily developers.”

InstallBuilder builds on the company’s entry-level product, with the addition of the integrated debugger, user defined actions, and the Script Editor, which allows the user to customize a variety of pre-built scripting commands.

“InstallBuilder is a step above InstallMaker as it adds a script editor that allows the developer to look at each step in the installation and tweak it to how they want it,” Witkowski continued. “It gives the user more control overall and there’s greater functionality with the script editor aspect.”

InstallBuilder also boasts an application watch wizard which monitors all external calls (DLLs, OCXs, etc.) from any application, and automatically adds necessary files to an installation script. Plus, the API calling feature adds Windows functions (APIs) to an installation script without the need to write code.

“This software is for developers building solutions that are widely used,” Tack said. “Secondary to that, (it is targeted at) IT organizations and large enterprises for use internally.”

The entry-level InstallMaker creates basic Windows installations by guiding the user through Wise Solution’s installation expert – a GUI interface that leads the user through a step-by-step script creation process. The product includes a Visual Basic import wizard, application watch wizard, a royalty-free uninstaller, and SmartPatch.

“InstallMaker leans towards the basic programmer,” Witkowski said. “It’s for very simple applications and allows programmers to streamline their data and registry settings, package it up and distribute their application on the Web or on a CD-ROM.”

With this release, Wise Solutions addressed its corporate user requests to add an array of new features such as Windows CE Support, an easy-to-use installation expert interface in InstallMaster, and Wise Update – which updates software on a customer’s machines via the Internet, thus ensuring clients are always working with the latest application version.

“Windows CE offers full support and it’s built right into InstallMaster,” he added. “Windows CE has really taken off in the last 12 months; there only used to be about 50 applications last year available. We’ve definitely seen that market growing…there’s not another product [like InstallMaster] that covers all this functionality on the market.”

Roy Doolittle, a software packager for the SMS Centre of Excellence in Atlanta, said his firm – which packages software for Lucent Technologies – is in the process of upgrading from 7.04 to the 8.0 version.

“I like the program very much, it’s very flexible and easy to use and it doesn’t require much programming knowledge to install either,” Doolittle said.

Wise Solutions installation software ( version 8.0 pricing begins at US$195 for InstallMaker. InstallBuilder is priced at US$395, and InstallMaster retails for US$795.

Wise Solutions in Canton, Mich., is at 1-800-554-8565.

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