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December 14, 2004

Chris's rant about Repackaging

Someone on Community suggested that I should make this a sticky. I can't, so I'll put it on my blog instead:

I remember busting out laughing when I read some guy post here a couple months ago that he just got AdminStudio and now he wanted to try Office 2003 as his first install.Seriously, depsite InstallShields attempts to offer repackaging as a seamless solution for Systems Administrators, repackaging is VERY difficult to do correctly. Basically every time someone throws you a new install to repackage you have to reverse engineer. The repackager is pretty good, but it only goes so far in capturing the "setup intent". It takes years of development work and writing installs to really understand deeply what's going on in someone elses installs. You need to be fluent in every aspecto f windows from Win32 API Base to registry, C programming, VB/VBScript, .Net, application isolation, OLE through ComPlus, so on and so on. You need to know pretty much every SDK Microsoft has out there. ODBC/JET/ADO/SQL. Oracle, Sybase, Informix, MFC, ATL, PowerBuidler, Delphi, JRE.... the list just goes on and on cause you never know what technology some install might use. Do you really want to be the guy that just runs the repackager and trusts that it did it right? Well it SEEMS to work. LOL [SIC]Most of my installs normally go way beyond what the original install did into the territory of what the original install SHOULD have done. There are very few of us. Most guys do such a bad job that many people FEAR repackaging.


Rich said...

sweet doode!
I hear ya about repackaging: I think folks hereit's like
ZENWorks snapshot or something!

Anonymous said...

Speaking from 10 years of experience in this arena, repackaging is all relative. Often repackaged applications are set up for a specific scenario and/or configuration. Repackaging into MSI format is a reasonably easy job, provided you have the correct tools. After all... transforms are technically MSI's answer to repackaging. They allow you to do with MSI exactly what ZenWorks, AdminStudio, PackageStudio and whatever other repackaging tools out there are, do with non-MSI installations. Some are just better with the whole setup analysis bit than others (and InstallShield has long lagged behind other vendors where accuracy is concerned).