I’ve written a good quantity of code in my IT profession and launched a very good variety of Home windows applications additionally, so a very good software to create Home windows installer packages was at all times key. Every program would have a unique set of wants, akin to scripts, DLLs, safety settings, and so on., so one software that might deal with a posh set of necessities was needed.
If in case you have the cash or want tons of help, you possibly can at all times go along with InstallShield, the stable alternative for a lot of corporations utilizing Home windows. We at all times used InstallShield in our early days because it got here packaged with Visible Studio and Visible Foxpro.
Nevertheless, it isn’t the one good software program on the market for creating Home windows installers. On this article, I’m going to say a few different free and paid (although less expensive) utilities you possibly can check out in your group.
Nullsoft Scriptable Set up System (NSIS)
For those who love open supply software program, it’s possible you’ll need to take a look at the Nullsoft Scriptable Set up System (NSIS). NSIS is an expert system that you should use to create every thing from quite simple to very advanced Home windows installers. It’s small, but has a big characteristic set, which makes it appropriate for Web distribution.
As you possibly can inform by the title, NSIS is script-based, which lets you create logic as sophisticated as it’s good to deal with any scenario. Fortunately, for inexperienced persons, it additionally features a bunch of plug-ins and pre-defined scripts to get you began.
Here’s a brief record of a few of my favourite options of this MSI bundle creator:
- Capability to create Home windows installers that may set up, uninstall, set system settings, extract information, and extra.
- NSIS has an overhead of solely 34KB! It’s by far the smallest Home windows installer in comparison with InstallShield and Smart.
- One installer that’s appropriate with all main model of Home windows from Home windows 95 to Home windows 10.
- Three compression strategies (ZLib, BZip2, LZMA) to make sure the best compression in your installer packages.
- Script primarily based installer is best than different applications that simply generate an inventory of information and registry keys. Utilizing the script language, you possibly can carry out many alternative set up duties like upgrades, model checks, system reboots, modification of atmosphere variables, entry to Home windows API and extra.
- Create customized dialogs and interfaces to incorporate person enter, configuration choices, and even a customized wizard interface.
- Lengthen the capabilities of NSIS with plug-ins that may talk with the installer.
- Assist for internet set up and file patching throughout the Web.
This system helps a tons of different options together with installer self-verification utilizing checksum, record and tree for element choice, silent mode for automated installations, full code editor for writing scripts, and so on.
Superior Installer additionally has a free model, but it surely additionally has a number of different variations that go up in worth relying on how advanced your installer must be. It’s up to date fairly often and works extraordinarily properly.
For those who’re searching for one thing extra skilled that additionally contains some choices for help, then Superior Installer is an effective alternative. If you’d like a characteristic breakdown between the 5 totally different variations they’ve, then take a look at the hyperlink. The free model truly has lots of options and we have been in a position to make use of that in our firm for a very long time as a result of our installers have been pretty easy.
One distinctive characteristic to Superior Installer is Installer Analytics. It’s principally a set of instruments to see how customers set up, use and uninstall your functions. You possibly can simply see how giant your person base is, load a survey when a person uninstalls this system, and get details about the person’s system and geographic location. All of this on a smooth and trendy internet interface you can take a look at your self.
It additionally enables you to simply repackage your functions into the brand new AppX format, which is required for the Common Home windows Platform. It doesn’t require any code modifications and so they have a free AppX converter software. These are simply among the distinctive options, however Superior Installer just about covers all of the bases. Try the full record of options right here for every version.
Inno Setup is a sophisticated Home windows installer that’s fully free and that has been round since 1997. It’s received a ton of options and works nice for small companies with reasonably advanced necessities.
Here’s a record of among the finest options of Inno Setup:
- Helps all variations of Home windows from Home windows 2000 as much as Home windows 10
- Helps set up of 64-bit functions on 64-bit Home windows
- Helps the creation of a single EXE file for straightforward file distribution
- Customizable setup sorts and full help for utility uninstalls
- Creation of shortcuts, registry entries and INI information
- Helps silent installs and Pascal scripting engine for extra superior installs
- Third celebration extensions that improve the options of Inno setup
General, it is a actually good choice because it’s fully free and really straightforward to make use of. It’s not going to have the ability to do what InstallShield and even Superior Installer can do, but it surely covers just about the entire fundamentals.
The WIX Toolset is a free set of instruments for creating Home windows installers that works with Visible Studio 2012 or increased. I point out it final as a result of it requires the most important studying curve. You possibly can create some very advanced installers with it, however you’ll be coding fairly a bit and utilizing a command line usually.
WIX Toolset relies on the XML authoring mannequin. For those who don’t have Visible Studio, you should use the Wix instruments or MSBuild. It helps constructing MSI, MSP, MSM, and MST installer information. It additionally helps a lot of Home windows Installer options.
So these are among the higher recognized and secure applications you should use to create Home windows installers. I’m certain there are various others on the market, so be happy to tell us which one you employ within the feedback. Take pleasure in!