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how do i 'Install' my program?

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Ive made a multiplication practice program for my kids, and I would like to distribute it to other people. However, I need a way for it to 'install' itself on their computers, like with an install shield. So my question, is this something I have to code into the program, or is it a seperate thing I do? How can I get my program to install? What is it even called, so if I google for it? Thanks

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Guest Anonymous Poster
What are they called? Installers, I believe...

Check these out:

http://www.freeprogrammingresources.com/installers.html
http://www.thefreecountry.com/programming/setup.shtml

You'll find links to many free ones there.

Regards

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I recommend using Nullsoft's installer-maker, it's relatively simple (involves producing a script and then running a program), and produces a decent installer.

I think MSFT also offers an MSI package builder, but I don't know about the support this has on non-NT systems.

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Please use Inno Setup instead of NSIS. NSIS installers provide no way to customise them for unattended installations, and as a network admin, I often have to repackage them for corporate deployment. Inno Setup also provides better logs, multiple return codes indicating failures, silent uninstalls, etc. Just compare the command line parameters for NSIS with those for Inno Setup and you'll see what I mean.

BTW, InstallShield > *, but I guess you're looking for something free.

EDIT: NSIS == Nullsoft Installer BTW. I just realised nobody in this thread called it that.

[Edited by - Nemesis2k2 on December 17, 2005 5:49:00 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by The C modest god
Is there an application to create installer that comes with visual C++ 2003? Is it good?


Inno Setup is great, and only a couple of MB to download. So why the "comes with VC2003" requirement?

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Quote:
Original post by Nemesis2k2
BTW, InstallShield > *, but I guess you're looking for something free.


InstallShield is probably nice if you need all those system restore options (that never seem to work correctly but are good at wasting registry space) or want that completely professional look. It's very picky about system configuration though, on some of my computers some InstallShield packaged programs refuse to install flat out for no apparent reason (works fine after a os reinstall, sometimes, but you can't expect people to reinstall their os in the hope of playing your game). Also, with one recent version of their installer, there was a serious bug related to XP-SP2 installations, afaik.

Anyway, that was just to provide an alternative opinion about InstallShield. Inno Setup is great though, chalk up one more to that.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Why use an installer at all? A simple zip archive of the app and its data-files is much simpler to create, and seems to be generally prefered by the end user (I know I prefer it at any rate).


I'm sorry, but your preferences as a computer programmer have nothing to do wit hthe preferences of computer users in general. Hell, even I don't like ZIP "installers". A good installer is infinetly better, as it removes all registry keys and other cruft the program would otherwise leave behind. You also don't have to manually create shortcuts.

If it's actually anything more advanced than "Hello world" it might actually require that shared libraries and runtimes and COM components be installed, while not overwriting older versions... See how that, or any other kind of special setup the app requires, could be problematic with ZIP files?

And then there's of course the uninstaller... something that most programs that come in ZIP files usually would need the most (because they turn out to be crap, haha, that's a joke).

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Why use an installer at all? A simple zip archive of the app and its data-files is much simpler to create, and seems to be generally prefered by the end user (I know I prefer it at any rate).


I'm sorry, but your preferences as a computer programmer have nothing to do wit hthe preferences of computer users in general. Hell, even I don't like ZIP "installers". A good installer is infinetly better, as it removes all registry keys and other cruft the program would otherwise leave behind. You also don't have to manually create shortcuts.

If it's actually anything more advanced than "Hello world" it might actually require that shared libraries and runtimes and COM components be installed, while not overwriting older versions... See how that, or any other kind of special setup the app requires, could be problematic with ZIP files?

And then there's of course the uninstaller... something that most programs that come in ZIP files usually would need the most (because they turn out to be crap, haha, that's a joke).


Firstly, I had interpretted the OP's post to mean a fairly simple program, meant to be installed by an average user.
An installer is a multiple-step proccess with choosing locations, viewing license agreements, etc. and an uninstaller is not much better.
I would have thought the a simple program didn't need to mess with the registry, in fact it would be better if very few apps messed with the registry (believe me, I spend a great deal of time fixing the registries of 'average' computer users).
A zip file is a simple no hassle option, you download it to your desktop, expand it (okay, this step could be more intuitive than Windows makes it), and hey presto, there is a folder containing the application. Uninstall is even simpler, just throw the folder in the trash, and all the datafiles in that folder are also deleted.

Lastly, would you mind clarifying why your preferences are closer to those of 'computer users in general'?

SelethD: sorry for deviating from the topic.

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Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Why use an installer at all? A simple zip archive of the app and its data-files is much simpler to create, and seems to be generally prefered by the end user (I know I prefer it at any rate).


Come to think of it, you are probably right with reference to the OP's program. But I would still be careful to state that the end users prefer zip files. I've had to deal with some end users before who did not even understand the concept of a zip file, much less how to use it. Also, not all versions of windows/explorer have built-in zip support (afaik only XP does), and far from everyone has Winzip or Winrar installed.

If you meant zip self-extractors, as you probably did: It's still gonna look nicer with inno setup than with a winrar exe, and there's hardly any issues involved in installing it (the only extra step would possibly be the license, which you ought to display anyway to cover yourself, as the self-extractor is still going to ask for a destination path).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by swiftcoder
Lastly, would you mind clarifying why your preferences are closer to those of 'computer users in general'?


I don't know why, I just know that I prefer installers, and I didn't intend to make it sound like there's some kind of connection between my preferences and users in general.

Installers are better for users in general. Why that is, was explained by the previous poster.

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Quote:
Original post by lightbringer
Quote:
Original post by Nemesis2k2
BTW, InstallShield > *, but I guess you're looking for something free.


InstallShield is probably nice if you need all those system restore options (that never seem to work correctly but are good at wasting registry space) or want that completely professional look. It's very picky about system configuration though, on some of my computers some InstallShield packaged programs refuse to install flat out for no apparent reason (works fine after a os reinstall, sometimes, but you can't expect people to reinstall their os in the hope of playing your game). Also, with one recent version of their installer, there was a serious bug related to XP-SP2 installations, afaik.

Anyway, that was just to provide an alternative opinion about InstallShield. Inno Setup is great though, chalk up one more to that.

I prefer InstallShield because (nowadays) they use MSI packages, which IMO are by far the best way to handle installation packages. They also have the best tools to build, test, customise, and generate transforms for them from what I've seen. As for why MSI's are better, well, things like self-healing, transforms, post-installation modification, patches and the ability to uninstall and slipstream them, etc.

I can't say I've encountered any of the installation difficulties you seem to. The issues you found an OS reinstall fixed sound like problems with Windows Installer, which handles MSI installations. A re-install of that would probably fix your problems.

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