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Installshield’s Component Wizard

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

This one’s a little bit softball…   The Component Wizard in Installshield.

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to even find this feature because it’s buried down in the right click context menu of a feature. No where to be found within the traditional menus, like under “Tools”.  I’d almost catogrize this as a usability issue of Installshield.  Now, I inherited a 10 year old installer, so I wasn’t presented with the wizards as when you create a new project and so this may be the reason it’s elluded me for so long.  But I missed it.  Maybe there are other folks that did as well.

We ship an evergrowing number of applications in our suite and this means from time to time I’ll need to add a long list of new files.  Well, according to best practices you’re supposed to have 1 component per .exe, dll, etc.  Which means creating a new component, adding the file, setting the file as the key, changing properites for destination, etc.  That’s a lot of clicking! Luckily the Component Wizard makes easy work of it.

Nearly all of our files are compiled and output to the same release-win32 folder, or another staging folder where we run some ‘publish’ scripts written in Perl on the files.  So what I do is temporarily move or delete all the files with the exception of the new files I’ll be adding to the installer.  Then I start the Component Wizard. (Setup Design > right click on a feature > select Component Wizard…) and point it at this directory. From there it’s fairly self explanatory.  When it’s done, you end up with a 1 to 1 relationship of components to files.  (there’s 1 component per file).  You also end up saving yourself from the carpel tunnel you’d have developed from creating each component 1 by 1!




TIP: If you’re adding assemblies that need to be deployed to the GAC, ensure that your Installshield’s settings are set to create new components to support the GAC.  Tools > Options > .NET > “Default .NET Scan At Build Component Settings” = “Properties Only”.  If you have this set to “none” you’ll end up with your files deployed to the root folder of the drive.

YET ANOTHER TIP: If you didn’t follow the first tip and added files destined for the GAC without setting the mentioned  “Default .NET Scan At Build Component Settings” property correctly, there’s still hope.  You could click on your components one by one and manually set the property OR you might as well drop down to the DirectEditor and find the table ‘Component’.  Here, the field ‘ISAttributes(I4)’ can be given a value of 9 to set the .NET Scan and Build Time to ‘Properties Only’.

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