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Educational Software Thread, MSI creation packages for small budget? in Technical; Originally Posted by contink On the back of this topic I'm realising very quickly that what I now need is ...
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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    On the back of this topic I'm realising very quickly that what I now need is a decent reference book or "How to" guide that deals with all aspects of MSI's and especially the issues that arise when trying to debug an MSI so you can get it working.

    Any assist, as always, gratefully received..
    Assume you have already got ORCA, which is THE essential MSI utility. It's part of the Microsoft Windows SDK but may be available as a standalone .exe elsewhere if you look around...

    EDIT
    I would add that MSIs are horribly complex and the logic is by know means clear even if you read everything on MSDN. I went on a Wise Package Studio course which by necessity included a fair bit of MSI stuff and it was hugely useful. If you possibly can, get on some kind of Windows Installer course. Other than that, go to AppDeploy, DesktopEngineer and InstallSite and scour the site for MSI info and links to other site with MSI info. It is mostly out there if you can find it!/EDIT

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    Assume you have already got ORCA, which is THE essential MSI utility. It's part of the Microsoft Windows SDK but may be available as a standalone .exe elsewhere if you look around...
    Yup... Got that yesterday and started running ICE validation tasks.. then came up hard against the fact that I hadn't a clue what the actual descriptions meant in terms of "what the heck do I do now?"

    I would add that MSIs are horribly complex and the logic is by know means clear even if you read everything on MSDN. I went on a Wise Package Studio course which by necessity included a fair bit of MSI stuff and it was hugely useful. If you possibly can, get on some kind of Windows Installer course. Other than that, go to AppDeploy, DesktopEngineer and InstallSite and scour the site for MSI info and links to other site with MSI info. It is mostly out there if you can find it!/EDIT
    Urk... I was afraid that was the response I'd get... It does seem like there's a pretty big gap in the interweb with the lack of a laymens guide to MSI's but I guess you're right...

    Thanks for the help...

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Well on the up side I seem to be making some headway at long last... Orca and a little help from MSDN seems to be doing the trick.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    'attaboy contink. I forgot to mention that EduGeek and the various other setup/install related website forums are obviously good places to browse for MSI info.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    'attaboy contink. I forgot to mention that EduGeek and the various other setup/install related website forums are obviously good places to browse for MSI info.
    Thanks.. just keep the caffeine coming!!

    As it happens I've had some success although I'm realising that what I really need to get to grips with is the whole registry to component to file, etc... relationship.. It's getting there but I suspect I'll be putting a fair amount in the wiki shortly..


    Oh and for the record.. the "Installer Design Studio" seems to do a much better job of "capturing" installs but there's still a lot to be desired.. Orca really is a {deity}send though... Oh yes indeed!

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Urk... I was afraid that was the response I'd get... It does seem like there's a pretty big gap in the interweb with the lack of a laymens guide to MSI's but I guess you're right...

    Thanks for the help...
    I know we're under a lot of pressure to get things done yesterday and if possible to spend less on it than most of the students bring in for lunch money, but sometimes you (or perhaps I should say your manglement) have to accept that some things are difficult and will just take time and effort and resources.

    A 'layman's guide to MSIs' would be up there with 'Brain Surgery for Dummies'. No matter how well you learned the contents of that latter title, I still wouldn't want you performing surgery on me!

    We bit the bullet, spent the £'s and purchased Wise Package Studio AND paid for someone to go on the course. Cost a lot but money very well spent.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto
    We bit the bullet, spent the £'s and purchased Wise Package Studio AND paid for someone to go on the course. Cost a lot but money very well spent.
    I'd agree with you but for one thing sadly... I work for a single primary school and their budget is so low that the WISE package would wipe out one fifth in a heartbeat...

    What I've opted to do is spend some "free time" on this stuff as a sort of "enthusiastic amateur" because, frankly, I like to know what's going on but ultimately if my client list expands I'll seriously consider adding the WISE system to my "costs" and spreading it among multiple schools... The skillset can't hurt and whilst I won't necessarily get paid for all the time I put in, I'll have learned a lot of pitfalls and lessons that won't necessarily appear in a course... Of course I'd love to go on one but hey

    Right now though, like I said, that kind of single license spend is just not feasible for the primary school budget..

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Thanks for the info' to date... now I have to ask a slightly different question as circumstances have now changed somewhat.


    At what point would you say that the WISE package system became worth purchasing?

    I ask because I'm now in the process of "courting" a further two primary schools who are looking at server 2003 and winXP systems and to reduce the amount of onsite time I'm seriously considering repacked apps as the way forward.. ie: it'd allow me to distribute a new package to the whole school without even needing to enter the school.. just Remote access to the server and update the server GPO and away it goes...


    At present I'm still playing with ScriptLogics "Installer Design Studio" trial version so if anyone has tried the two software packages and can give me a clue at this point, it's all useful.

    Cheers

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    There are cheeper repackagers about. I use Masai, which is now called Installer Design Studio from scriptlogic... it's around the £250 mark - and that's standard pricing they may do education discount (it's a uk company).

    Not that my school can afford that either... I use an old light version of Masai for some things and and an old light version of wininstall (it's not too bad!) for repackaging. You can also get wise install tailor (free) for making simple responce transforms for existing msi's).

    Has anyone used CC3 MSIs from RM (I know... boo hiss) on a normal network? Do they work? - It might be worth the extra £20 if it saves you a few hours.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    You can of course use something like AutoIT to automate an awkward installation which insists on interacting with the user, then compile the AutoIT script to an EXE and wrap the whole caboodle in an MSI. Yuck! but it does work, I've had to do it a couple of times (thanks Clicker 4), when initial attempts at repackaging failed.
    Hi AJ... I'm currently trying to sort out Clicker4 and it's proving difficult to say the least..

    I've gotten some idea of how to use AutoIT but I'm missing some key information on setting the silent install option but rather than reinvent the wheel could you share how you did this in detail.

    I'd be immensely grateful for any assist.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Ahah...

    ok... starting to get somewhere here..

    Speaking the cricksoftware tech bod I got this little nugget.

    Replace the text to speech files with do nothing EXE files...

    Run the workstation setup.exe with the silent switch which is a /s (edited as the tech gave me the wrong info!) and that should work silently and then you can install the msttsa22L and SPCHAPI files seperately using their own /Q quiet switches.

    Still early days but useful info all round

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    ok... after all that I think I've got a reasonably good solution here.

    Basically you rename your MSSpeech exe files to something appended with -orig.exe.

    Then use SciTE to create a little AutoIT script that calls each of the renamed files in turn using the /Q switch to shut them up.

    compile these AutoIT scripts to exe's that are the same as the originals were before (ie: SPCHAPI.exe and msttsa22L.exe) and make sure they're in the same place as the originals.

    After than you just create a wrapper MSI for the Workstation Installer with the /s switch to make that silent too and bobs your aunties live in lover..


    Still have to test this on a GPO install but it works pretty quietly so far...


    There's a few other things to watch out for "filepath.dat" but I might as well pop all that lot into a Wiki document so i'll not repeat it all here.

    8)

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Serious Deja Vu! You're nearly there by the sounds of it. I found that sometimes the silent switches don't quite work though and needed an adhoc function in my AutoIt script to watch for file overwrite confirmations and automatically hit OK/YES.

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    Re: MSI creation packages for small budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajbritton
    Serious Deja Vu! You're nearly there by the sounds of it. I found that sometimes the silent switches don't quite work though and needed an adhoc function in my AutoIt script to watch for file overwrite confirmations and automatically hit OK/YES.
    I can imagine... I think the tech at Cricksoft had your old call log when he was trying to remember what to do

    I'll probably refine that script a little to do as you said, ie: look out for overwrites, etc.. but so far it seems to work and as far as my primary install on fresh machines go it's a winner

    If you have the old scripts though I'd sure be interested in seeing how you did it

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