Over the span of few weeks I have had “hot” conversation in public NG about speed of installation and that R&D team should do something about it.
For people who worried about future experience with installation of the Delphi 2009 – it is fast (or faster, since it is always comes to personal opinion). I have done several “fresh” installs, along with “on-top” installations. It did took me less then I spend downloading it over my 3Mb connection. Keep in mind a size and compare it to Visual Studio installation time and it start to look very good.
Not to be along with that statement there is other people’s opinion – Holger Flick posted last Saturday about his experience.
For many years, Delphi installation was created and maintained using InstallShield product line. It was based on it and IS Express edition was included in distribution for developers to use it. I am not sure how many people have actually used it, but it was there and it was free. Back in 2006
Newly formed CodeGear(TM) chooses InstallAware for delivering the newest versions of Delphi®, Delphi® for .NET, C++ Builder®, and C# Builder® tools. InstallAware Express is now bundled with CodeGear’s developer products as the installer tool of choice.
Let’s look at the possible reasons:
“Using InstallAware’s MSIcode, we have drastically reduced the need for creating custom plug-ins,” says Allen Bauer, Chief Scientist at CodeGear. “Our InstallAware setup dynamically defines the features and files to be installed. Instead of building, maintaining, and shipping separate installers for all the languages, IDEs, and product editions that we offer, we are now able to build and deliver a single install image. This has dramatically reduced our integration workload along with reducing our costs.”
“Electronic software delivery (ESD) will be playing a larger role in the way we deliver our products going forward. InstallAware will be powering our new ESD functionality in the Delphi and C++Builder products,” adds Michael Swindell, Vice President of Products at CodeGear. “We will be able to increase Internet delivery flexibility and performance providing customers with instant access to features based on electronic software purchases. Our goal is to make the user experience for both trial evaluations and electronic purchases as simple and flexible as possible. We evaluated a variety of installation and delivery technologies and InstallAware had the right features, performance, and technology for our requirements.”
After initial release everyone had “suffer consequences”. Setup was much slower, updates could take substantial time to be applied. As a result, there was up until recently big “roar” to “toss” IA and return to “good old days”.
Aside from choosing to use batch file/XCOPY setup mode (can you imagine that this is still preferred way to deploy ASP applications?) let’s look at the alternatives for InstallAware (MSI).
- InstallShield: recently acquired by Acresso. This is a target – “If your software targets Windows, InstallShield® is your solution.” – MSI. Long history with Borland/CodeGear and marketing/pricing/features may played the role in the decision of looking elsewhere for new deployment solutions.
- InstallAnywhere – just to mention here and it is a product from the same company. In general it may be better positioned since supports not just Windows bit other platforms as well. Not a mainstream product for some time, but what could happen is that it will eventually merge with InstallShield taking best from both. At the time (2006) probably was not even considered to be a choice.
- Wise installation Studio by Symantec – again Windows platform. – MSI and WinInstall. Product line had struggled for many years, was very non-trivial in maintenance and even though it did have potential, uncertainty of it existence at the time may played the role of not going with it.
- InnoSetup – great product, native to Pascal/Delphi developers with its Pascal-like scripting language. But even though it is a great product, it may luck of some Enterprise features CodeGear was looking at the time highlighted above. Would it be faster? For sure. Would it lock the deployment to some of the “legacy” ways of doing so? Most likely. – WinInstall
Some of you will disagree with me on the need of standard ways of deployment, ability to automatically be certified for any future versions of Windows (Vista certification at the moment), common UI elements and interfaces… But reality is that it is that it is needed. User/System administrator/Company should be comfortable and familiar with the product deployment strategies and be able to do the same “that those other setups can do”. InstallAware gives just that. Yes, there is some hype in the air as it is with any product on the market, and yes there is a learning curve. Mind though, learning curve here more related to MSI technology itself, then to InstallAware implementation. Team has to have knowledge, desire, and budget to properly implement requirements regardless of the platform they are using.
It my strong believe that what we have seen over last few years was a story how higher management decisions affect development rather then technology problems. Yes, I could be wrong, but after over a decade working with different deployment solutions, I think that we are in no worse situation with InstallAware then with any other product. With new management direction at CodeGear it may change, but improvements shown in latest installations for Delphi 2009 beta may finally let story rest in peace.
Update (Aug 28, 2008)
Last night I have had a chance to compare RAD Studio 2007 setup speed and RAD Studio 2009 speed once again. Impressive. 1 : 10 ratio. RAD Studio 2009 installs much faster.