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June 05, 2008

InstallShield Stand Alone Build

Back when InstallShield 12 was released, Macrovision made the decision to move the Stand Alone Build to the Premiere Edition in order to try to drive customers towards the more expensive product. An uproar subsequently occurred from customers who were under maintenance agreements. These customers felt that by taking away a piece of functionality that is critical to SCM best practices that they weren't getting what they had paid for. After all, since when is a downgrade, an upgrade?

As a result, Macrovision listened to their customers and grandfathered certain customers with rights to use the SAB. However, with the release of IS2009, Acresso has gone back and revoked that right.

I have some really strong feelings on this which I'm going to try to leave out of this post. I will instead focus on a couple facts and then ask that all of my readers please leave comments with their opinions. No comment will be moderated. Also, please take my poll on the subject.

1) I recently found a bug in the IS2008 SAB. After two weeks were spent confirming the bug, the answer I was given that the bug is fixed in IS 2009. Of course it wasn't mentioned to me that I wouldn't actually get IS 2009 SAB.

2) If I can't upgrade my build farm to IS 2009 SAB, then there is no point in upgrading any of the developers because I won't be able to perform production builds.

This effectively means that both my support and maintenance contract is worthless in this scenario.

IMHO, I understand that TCB made a $200 million investment and that they are now trying to make a case for why Premiere is worth more money then Professional. But taking core functionality that is vital to SCM best practices away from customers who have prepaid for maintenance upgrades isn't the way to go. Additionally, failing to be upfront and communicate the change to the user community is even worse. From every product management article I've read, these two principals are a given. Then again, Acresso is currently looking for a Product Manager for the InstallShield brand so perhaps that explains such a huge gaffe.

Ultimately Acresso will once again listen to their customers, or the customers will vote yes or no with their money.

I look forward to your comments and your poll answers.


Charlie said...

I totally agree with you. I think the line from your other post "If this won’t kill a product line, nothing will…" is more applicable here. I don't see the point of having the Professional edition if the SAB is not bundled along with it

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that Acresso has taken this stance with their current "upgrade". It is even more unfortunate that Acresso did not communicate this decision to those of us who have maintenance contracts with Installshield. I just extended my maintenance contract for another year - 1 day before the upgrade was released. Effectively, I can not upgrade to Installshield 2009 without the standalone build module since I (like you) have a heavy investment in build automation. This puts me in a bad position. Effectively I just spent over $1000 for....what? Additional support for Installshield 2008 another year? I guess my current choices are: 1) pay an additional $2000 to upgrade to the "Premier" edition or 2) Keep with Installshield 2008 for another year while looking for an alternative authoring tool. The way this product appears to be heading, I just might go with option #2.

Colby Ringeisen said...

Fortunately, I'm not in this position as my subscription is for Premier. However, I totally agree with your original post and the comments made thus far. In fact, if someone reading this blog does have a current contract that includes support, I would urge each person in this situation who has a support contract in place to open a support incident with Acresso. Maybe if they get flooded with support incidents they will rethink this policy the same way Macrovision did when they made the change originally.

Unknown said...

Hello Everyone,

This is CirclesTraveled. I'm also known as TheTraveler in the Install Shield (IS) forum.

I think anyone who has used Install Shield for a long time will agree with everything mentioned in the blog. I have been using this product line since IS 5.0. I was extremely happy when they came out with the SAB and now I'm extemely upset about them taking it away. I will be contacting my sales rep and I will complain about this. I will also encourage anyone who is in the same situation to do the same thing. If one of the solutions they offer is a free upgrade to the premier version in order to get the same functionality, that would be something else entirely. Only time will tell in this situation.

Dan said...

Like Colby we have the Premier edition maintenance contract. However, I guess I could see the handwriting on the wall - eventually someone was going to make a business decision to move a feature from one product level to another.
Like all business decisions they will be revisited as customer feedback pours in so the only recourse right now is to flood Acresso with your feedback.

Unknown said...

I have used InstallShield since Express 2.x and Professional 6.x. Since I moved to the Professional line I have been generally pleased with the product. I was also pleased when the SAB came out as I could then install the IDE on my computer and run the builds on the build system. I can't see the justification for Premier for a one person IS developer for the SAB and yet it is unreasonable to do the install builds on my system. I too will be complaining to Acresso about the removal.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all previous posts. I thought that maybe Acresso would start paying attention to their customers better than Macrovision did, and this is what they do with the first release under the Acresso name, brilliant. Anyone know of a good forum where you can discuss alternative tools. I just about had it with InstallSuck.

Anonymous said...

We have a Premier subscription for this very reason, although it was most of the reason for getting it. My management was not happy about shelling out the extra money for what seemed like a given (who actually builds the production software on their dev machine?), so I would think this sort of policy is what will make them look at other options.

It comes as no surprise to me though. Having been in companies taken over by TCB before, I would expect a bad experience.

Anonymous said...

The Stand Alone Build Feauture is a CORE FEAUTURE! A stand alone build is A MUST in modern software development...

I am looking for alternatives (Wise, WiX)...Suggestions?