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From Tim Hudson <>
Subject Re: Separate Win32 package for 1.3b3 icons & htdocs
Date Sun, 07 Dec 1997 23:23:12 GMT
According to Rasmus Lerdorf:
> > Nominations for alternatives?
> > 
> > Perhaps we could even debate the merit of having an installer?  It seems to
> > be holding up other useful release engineering tasks for NT...
> I wasted an entire day fighting with InstallShield trying to build a PHP
> win32 install a while ago.  I found it incredibly poor as well.

    The usual problem is that installers have their own wierd scripting 
languages and quirks that have to be worked around ... if you buy into the
model of a particular installer it takes time.

    A better alternative IMO is to do anything that is complex in your own
code and have the installer simply invoke the mainline executable with a
special arguement that triggers installation logic (assuming you don't want
to ship a second executable). It also has the benefit of being able to 
move to a different installation package fairly easily.
    InstallShield Express is easy to work with if you don't try to push its
limitations ... the non-express versions where you have to cut scripts are
a pain in the butt.

    If you only want to install a couple of executables and put up the 
standard pages for installation directory choice then you can have something
operational in an hour.

    One drawback in IS Express is that you cannot run the package build
process from the commandline ... you have to fire up the GUI and press
a couple of buttons ... however the installation stuff itself is in a 
flat text file so generating variations is quite easy ... and if you don't 
like drag-n-drop for lots of files and packages it is fairly easy to 
generate you own installation wizard file.


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