by Dr Bob
So, you've finally finished that great Delphi or C++Builder application of yours. Now you can ship to your customers and start to make some money. All that's left is a nice (or quick and dirty) installation program or setup script and you can start producing disks, CD-ROMs or even boxes. Most Delphi applications do not require anything more than the executabe itself. Perhaps with a few additional files, images or tables, but that's it.
You could probaby even write a simple install program in Delphi, right?
Unless you're using the BDE, that is.
Installing the Borland Database Engine is not a trivial task, and that's why Borland has set up a special Certification Program for installation programs.
For details, check out DEPLOY.TXT in your Delphi or C++Builder directory... Delphi 2.x and C++Builder both come with a file DEPLOY.TXT, that outlines the Additional License Terms of Borland, which state that you can only distribute the Borland Database Engine files with your application using a Borland certified Redistributable Install program such as InstallShield Express or other compliant install programs.
You can redistribute only those BDE files selected by the Borland certified install program.
Both Delphi 2.x and C++Builder include InstallShield Express, a certified install program to ensure proper installation and de-installation of applications that are guaranteed to co-exist well with other applications which use the Borland Database Engine including dBase, Paradox, Delphi, Borland C++ and Borland C++Builder.
InstallShield Express also makes it easy to properly distribute subsets of the Borland Database Engine.
This is useful, for example, if you want to distribute an application that will only use Paradox tables and you don't want to include additional files for dBase support.
Borland has also certified four other install vendors, namely Sax Software, 20/20 Software, Great Lakes Business Systems and Eschalon Development, so that their products are also ensured to be fully compatible with the Borland Database Engine. Of course, Borland may decide to certify additional installation programs.
To obtain a list of current Borland Certified Installation programs, check the CERTINST.DOC file on Borland's website at http://www.borland.com
A complimentary version of InstallShield Express, from Stirling Technologies, is provided on the CD-ROM of Delphi 2.x and C++Builder, but only with the Professional and the Client/Server versions.
InstallShield Express is a free subset version of InstallShield Express Professional. InstallShield Express offers a sampling of the features available in InstallShield Express Pro. InstallShield Express is designed to show developers how easy it is to produce a top-quality, Windows 95-style installation.
If you wish to create more customized installations, you will need InstallShield Express Pro or any of the other installation tools mentioned in this column.
For ultimate flexibility and extensibility, you might consider InstallShield5.
For more information about InstallShield Express, check out the ISXPRESS directory on your Delphi 2.x or C++Builder CD-ROM, or go to Stirling Technologies' InstallShield website at http://www.installshield.com
InstallShield Express Professional, from Stirling Technologies at $A595, is the professional edition of the free InstallShield Express that is bundled with Delphi 2.x and C++Builder.
With InstallShield5 as its technical foundation, InstallShield Express lets you produce installations in a completely point-and-click environment. InstallShield Express Professional provides automatic support for the setup issues of specific visual development environments so that developers can quickly install the components needed in their application. With its step-by-step installation checklist, InstallShield Express Professional makes setup as easy as possible for the developer.
For more information about InstallShield Express Professional, check out Stirling Technologies' InstallShield website at http://www.installshield.com
InstallShield5, from Stirling Technologies at $A895, is the (expensive) worldwide standard for enabling software distribution to all Windows platforms. Its new integrated development environment offers lots of features, including scripting power and time-saving visual tools. Drag-and-drop file movement and a new Media Build Wizard allow fast creation of multiple builds to support various platforms, languages, and media types.
For more information about InstallShield5, check out Stirling Technologies' InstallShield website at http://www.installshield.com
Sax Setup Wizard, from Sax Software at US$149 (not distributed in Australia), is a much cheaper Setup Wizard than the InstallShield powerhouses (which may be the rich in features, but you need to be rich to be able to afford it as well).
Using visual programming techniques, Sax Setup Wizard helps you to create an impressive setup in a matter of minutes. Sax Setup Wizard gives your setup the Windows 95 look and feel but allows you to write 16-bit or 32-bit install programs that install on machines running Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT.
For more information about the Sax Setup Wizard, check out Sax Software's website at http://www.saxsoft.com/product/setup.asp
PC-Install, from 20/20 Software at US$199 (no Australian Distribution), is professional 16-bit and 32-bit installation software for anyone who distributes applications or data files using diskettes, CD-ROM or networks.
Designed for those who distribute electronic files such as application software, database files, graphics, manuals, spreadsheets or any other type of software.
PC-Install works with all types of files or data under any Microsoft operating system, including DOS.
PC-Install is avaliable in versions for English, Japanese or German.
For more information about PC-Install, check out 20/20 Software's website at http://www.twenty.com/Pages/PCI/PCI.shtml
WISE Install, from Great Lake Business Solutions at $A289, uses an installation script to determine which files to install and where to copy the files. The resulting executables can be directly uploaded to a Web page, BBS or other On-Line service. The installations that are created by WISE Install run under Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and Windows NT.
The Wise Installation System provides two methods of creating installations. The Installation Expert is a high level view of the installation and can be used to quickly create installations. The Script Editor can be used in conjunction with the Installation Expert or separately to create powerful customized installations.
Interesting to know is the fact that earlier this year Great Lakes Business Solutions has licenced its WISE Installation technologies to Microsoft Corporation for distribution within Microsoft's systems management products.
For more information about WISE Install, check out Great Lake Business Solutions' website at http://www.glbs.com
Eschalon Setup, from Eschalon is the last Wizard-like install program with a price less than $US200 (Not distributed in Australia). In fact, Eschalon Setup Pro for Windows 3.1 and Eschalon Setup Desktop for Windows 95/NT are now combined for a price of US$199.95. They both offer you a Wizard to guide to step-by-step into writing a powerful Setup:
I personally use Eschalon Setup Pro/BDE-edition for Windows 3.1 and the Eschalon Setup Desktop for Windows 95/NT version 2.2 with great pleasure.
Of course, there are always new things you could wish for, and in that respect I truly believe there isn't just one "best" installation/setup wizard.
You just have to find out which of these tools supports your wishes best (at the price you're willing to pay for it).
I can tell you one last thing: the support we received from Robert Salesas (Eschalon) is great. For more information about Eschalon Setup Pro and Eschalon Setup Desktop for Windows 95/NT, check out Eschalon's website at http://www.eschalon.com/Html/Setup/ProductInformation.htm