Installer Writing

An installer is used to copy a software product onto a target system and configure that system so that the software works correctly. This can be a complex process and is normally done using a design tool.

The majority of installers that I have written were constructed using InstallShield® tools from version 3 to 12, over the course of many years! However, I have also constructed installers using the Microsoft® Setup Toolkit for Windows® 3.x and using a text editor for variants of Linux.

Software installers for Windows PCs are typically written to use the Windows Installer Service or a proprietary engine, such as the InstallScript® installer. While my favourite mechanism is the InstallScript scripted installation, I have also created large projects based on Merge Modules and an automated build system.

In some cases where incompatibilities have required a special solution, I have created a two-layer setup, where an outer InstallScript setup project, sometimes called a bootstrap or wrapper setup, is used to drive multiple inner Windows Installer setups.