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gretty

Providing Plugins for a 3rd Party Application: Installer or Application

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Hello

I am providing plugins for a 3rd party application:
- Can you suggest a language(& API) I could use that would allow me to create an installer/program quickly and with the least headaches. The languages I know are C++, C# & Python.
- Can you inform me on the industry standard way to provide/install plugins for a 3rd party application(which only works on Windows 2000+)? The application developers encourage programmers to expand their application through plugins, so the expansions/plugins are legal. Is it best to use an installer, normal program or something else I'm not aware of?

What I am developing:
I am making a windows Installer(or any other program you think would be best) that will install plugin files for an existing 3rd party surveying application. The files should be stored in different directories depending on which version(version 2000, 2003, 2008) of the surveying application they have.

What I plan to do(but looking for advice):
I am thinking that I'll make this program as an installer in Python because I think python with give me the fastest development time compared to the other languages I am most experienced with(C++ and C#) and because AFAIK I can bundle the plugin files within the installer .exe so the user only has to download 1 file.
I dont know if this is possible for an installer, but when the installation runs I will run a script that will determine where to place the plugin files(depending on the version I'll place them in either C:/program files/3rdPartyApp2008 or C:/3rdPartyApp2000) based off what version of the 3rd party application the user has.

If you could answer my questions and/or provide any further advice I would be very greatful.

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Why bother rolling your own installer? Just use an existing scriptable installation system. If you can't spend money, there's good free ones too, like NSIS.

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Thanks for the reply and advice.

Going to go with NSIS, after working with it for a couple of days I can see it has many uses which is good. But IMO the scripting language is horrible; ugly ugly code, a mixture of old assembly like commands and new completely different commands(like $if), 2 ways for writting comments(';', '#' some consistancy please!) and lots more. Ok enough of my rant, got to get this done no matter the language semantics.

Anyone had any experience with WIX? Its XML which is much easier to write with but I'm not sure if it has all the plugins and potential functions that NSIS can do

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FWIW I've never seen a scriptable installer that wasn't somehow insane. Even InstallShield was pretty horrible back in the day.

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