InstallAware Setup Builder: Advancing the Art of Setup Authoring

InstallAware’s legacy began with a simple vision: to make setup authoring simple and enjoyable again. Since the debut of Windows Installer in 1999, setup authoring has become an incredibly complex endeavor.

Developers are forced to work within the constraints of a relational database structure when building their setups, and they can no longer use branching script flow to direct their setup logic. Even creating a very simple setup that installs a single file entails populating multiple interconnected database tables. For more sophisticated installations, custom actions often have to be utilized – a labor intensive and error prone process. While a large variety of third party setup builder tools have emerged since 1999, automating or visualizing most of the tedious work, Windows Installer still remains a setup development platform that is very hard to develop for and customize.

InstallAware has been designed from the ground up to solve today’s setup authoring challenges. InstallAware targets the Windows Installer platform, because despite its being hard to use, Windows Installer has become the corporate standard worldwide for developing and deploying application installations. Most companies today will not even consider software that is not made available with a Windows Installer setup package. With InstallAware, you have everything you need to create modern setups that address today’s development needs:

* MSIcode: In addition to the visual setup editors found in most setup authoring tools, InstallAware provides a human readable, branching setup script called MSIcode. Available only with InstallAware, MSIcode offers a drag-drop scripting environment that introduces branching, scriptdriven execution logic into Windows Installer. Yet, InstallAware does this without requiring any external scripting engine that needs to be installed as a scripting runtime before-hand. InstallAware automatically compiles the MSIcode setup script into a pure, independent, 100% logo compliant MSI file at build time. This shifts the burden of properly populating MSI database tables and creating custom actions (the latter an especially error prone process) from the developer to the setup IDE, providing developers with unprecedented levels of flexibility in coding their setup logic. Such flexibility was unavailable since the initial launch of Windows Installer in 1999.

* WebAware Installations: InstallAware allows splitting the data contained inside a setup package into multiple online and offline parts. Web deployment traditionally involves putting the entire setup online, including the vital files that are always installed. This mandates an active web connection to install any part of the product. InstallAware sidesteps this artificial limitation and allows developers to precisely choose which parts of their setup are to be downloaded, and which are to be provided with the main setup program. Isolating runtimes and rarely used application features from the main setup download saves time and bandwidth for end users installing the applications, and also for companies hosting downloads. Application runtimes which may already be present on end user systems, and typically bloat setup downloads, are ideal candidates to benefit from WebAware Installations. With WebAware Installations, they will only be downloaded if required, and the main setup is wholly self-contained, capable of executing an installation without requiring an active Internet connection.

* Full Support for all Windows Installer Standards: Every setup that is generated by InstallAware is in full compliance with all Windows Installer standards and provides uncompromised support for all Windows Installer features. If you are already familiar with Windows Installer, you will recognize such features as install-on-demand, self-healing setups, advertising, binary differential patching, merge modules, silent/command-line installations, and so on. InstallAware fully supports each of these Windows Installer features while continuing to extend Windows Installer to add its own.

* Other Unique Benefits: InstallAware combines the above core technologies to deliver compelling installers in record time. InstallAware setups can authenticate users online, define setup features on-the-fly, check for application updates on the web, install multiple instances of the same product, check for serial numbers, build installers for multiple editions of a product from a single installation project, install drivers, install complex application runtimes like Microsoft SQL Server, run SQL scripts, configure IIS websites/folders/application pools, and do much more.

You can find out more about InstallAware Setup Builder technologies at

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