In a previous blog entry I talked about how a couple of InstallScript UAC bugs went uncorrected for several years. "Anonymous" left a comment saying "it wasn't a big deal".
So today I'd like to leave a little bread crumb for something that IS a really BIG deal.
InstallShield markets itself as having an Automation Interface and not just a big fat IDE. That is correct and I make extensive use of it in my blending WiX with InstallShield designs.
InstallShield markets itself as having Native IIS 7 support. That is correct and it's one of the big reasons I continue to use InstallShield. WiX 3.5 is supposed to be up to that level but for now I've stuck with IS.
However, recently I discovered that InstallShield's automation interface has 0% coverage of the IIS functionality. That is a huge omission as IIS changes represents a major component of the InstallShield tool.
Now I wasn't in any of the meetings but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what probably happened. Marketing and Engineering probably realized the need for a revamped IIS subsystem to deal with the latest versions of Windows / IIS. They probably scoped it out and somewhere along the lines decided to drop automation support from the roadmap so they could keep their ship date and announce a new feature.
So there you go, sure they have automation and sure they have IIS but they don't have automation for IIS which in my book means they don't really have automation. It simply is not feature complete. This isn't the first, second or third time I noticed glaring holes in the automation interface but it's the most significant IMO. I can kind of ( not really ) understand a property here or there missing but for an entirely new/rewritten feature to be omitted tells me that the automation interface isn't really a priority and that it's a false feature. That it's only there for marketing purposes so that InstallTalk can blog it's usefulness.
Sure, I can "hack" around this problem as has been suggested to me but I don't considering saving and closing the project object then hitting it with a DTF SQL Query or XML DOM to be "automation". This is raw data layer access.
No doubt some at InstallShield will read this and say "he's spot on" and some will read this and say "oh Chris is off his rocker again... this is really no big deal.".
So let's see how many years it takes for InstallShield to fix this one.