Building Multi-Platform Installers with InstallAnywhere
The first thing users do with new software is install it; yet most developers wait until the software is complete before giving any thought to installation. This can result in a messy installation procedure that makes a bad first impression on users.
A recent white paper from Flexera Software, the makers of InstallAnywhere, makes a case for using a professional installation utility even when users are software developers themselves. Platform-specific tools such as RPM, which runs on Linux, can be useful for some projects. As more applications are developed in "platform-agnostic" languages such as Java, Python and PHP, however, there is an increasing need for installation utilities that can deploy and configure applications on different platforms.
In addition to using the right tools, developers need to plan installation procedures carefully. Consider your goals: Do you want the simplest possible installation for non-technical users, or a more flexible installation for expert users? Which platforms and architectures will you support?
The white paper also describes the features of InstallAnywhere Advanced Designer, and walks you through various tasks such as defining an installer project and working with the product registry; specifying default install and shortcut folders for different platforms; creating debug output; defining a valid list of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs); configuring locales; and entering optional installer arguments.