VB/VBA Developer's Guide to the Windows Installer Paperback – Apr 2000
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For those old enough to remember pre-Windows times, the whole idea of writing an application to install an application seems bizarrely recursive. Nevertheless, Windows apps such as the 1-GB Microsoft Office suite need installers.
Windows-application installation has been a problem for years, and Microsoft's new installer is supposed to address and overcome existing installation problems. The new installer supports an installation database (in part to fix problems the Registry failed to solve), rollback support, application maintenance, advertisement (which makes features look installed but only actually installs them if the user asks for them), better administrative control over installation, and--best of all--a cure for DLL hell.
Naturally, VB/VBA Developer's Guide to the Windows Installer starts by installing the new installation SDK. Then it gets more complex. The new installer is supposed to cope with Windows 95, 98, NT 4, 2000, and the dozen or so major versions of these--which vary considerably under the surface. These adjustments are all controlled from the installer database, which is incompatible with all other Microsoft databases.
Using the new installer isn't trivial. Indeed, you'll reach page 200 before you'll feel you've learned enough to consider creating an installation routine--and then it's only by modifying an existing one. What comes across most in this book is the Byzantine complexity of Microsoft's new installer. If you're a Windows developer, however, you probably have little choice but to gain at least a basic understanding of the system--and this book does the job. --Steve Patient, Amazon.co.uk
Top Customer Reviews
The author promises a complete walk-through in Chapter 12, but it's not there. Instead, the chapter offers an overview of various installers (InstallShield, Visual Studio, and Wise). But again, there are no examples.
Many developers are trying to figure out how to incorporate various Microsoft technologies, such as MDAC, into Windows Installer files. The book suggests using a custom action, but doesn't provide a step-by-step example of how to do it. This alone would have made the book worth its price.
A really good book should explain Windows Installer in a top-down fashion and illustrate the points using some examples. I know that MSI is a tedious and detail oriented architecture and it might not be easy to devise simple yet illustrative examples but those are the best help a developer will want. I hope that somebody can take up this task.
Most recent customer reviews
I don't know why the title of this book is VB/VBA Developer's Guide to the Windows Installer. There are few VB/VBA Example code. The online help is more usefull than this book. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2002
What more do I have to say, I learned more by working through the Microsoft Windows installer SDK than I did from this book.
I wasted my time and money on it.
This book was unable to help me resolve any of my windows installer issues.Published on Oct. 31 2001 by troy molsberry
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