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Jargon Buster

  • November 19, 2002
  • By Karl Moore
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If you're writing applications for Windows 2000, you can't showcase its new logo unless you adhere to a set number of rules. And one of those is that your setup has to utilise Windows Installer technology.

Erm, what?

Windows Installer technology is an exciting new way to simplify your installation, whilst at the same time giving you greater control over the entire process. Essentially, you tell the Windows Installer 'component' exactly what files you want to copy, which registry entries you require and so on putting all this information into 'installation tables'.

The Windows Installer then goes and dumps all your files, registry keys and such into the relevant areas and you're finished.

But why bother using it in the first place? Well, the Windows Installer also packs a bunch of incredibly cool features. If a problem occurs during installation, the Windows Installer can very easily rollback any changes it's made. If a critical file is missing when you startup your application, the Windows Installer can automatically reinstate it. You can even install parts of your application 'on demand', just like Office 2000.

You can create Windows Installer scripts manually (eugh!) or using Visual Studio Installer (see link below). You might also want to go for a third-party package, such as the Installation System for Windows Installer, from Wise Solutions (www.wisesolutions.com).

You can find out more about Windows Installer on the Microsoft site. Get the lowdown here.





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