Singing the Installshield Blues

I’ve been spending a lot of time working with Installshield X (yes I know there’s a newer version) lately and I’m pretty frustrated.

I wrote some pretty cool install helper functions in VB.NET and bundled them all up into a .dll. According to InstallShield, I should be able to call functions exposed in this dll in my InstallScript. Well yeah, sorta. The problem is, InstallShield only really supports this in two ways.

The first way is great if you’re using a C/C++ dll. Just prototype the functions you want to use in InstallScript, slap in a couple of UseDLL & UnuseDLL commands and you’re home in time for dinner. Piece o’ cake! Unfortunately VB.NET & C# dlls don’t work the same way.

Ok… so you think, no big deal I’ll just use this other method. Except hmmm… it’s just for COM dlls. Looks like I can use VB6 dlls, but not .NET? Oh the agony. Better call the wife and let her know I’ll be late for dinner.

So I think… well there’s this great thing called COM Interop, right? Just wrap a COM Callable Wrapper around my .NET DLL and Installshield will never know the difference. Should be a breeze, right?

Yeah well… dinner’s been dumped in the trash at this point, my kids don’t recognize me anymore and I’m starting to smell. I still can’t get the damn thing working.

Installshield also has some pretty glaring bugs in version X, mostly dealing with their SQL Server dialogs. Basically, they don’t work. Turns out it was fixed in the new version (10.5), isn’t that nice? Oh they want me to pay to upgrade to get this fix… hmmm don’t think so.

On a more cheerful note, a friend sent me this: http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1&hl;=en and it’s insanely cool. What will they do next?

Oh and one last thing… go see National Treasure while it’s still in the theatres. It rocks! Take your kids if you have any, or borrow someone else’s if you must. Trust me, they’ll love it too.

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