Today, Flexera Software released InstallShield 2011, their flagship product to create setups using Windows Installer (MSI) or InstallScript technologies, and virtual application packackes for Microsoft App-V.
Highlights of this release:
- Enhanced Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 Support
- Integration with Microsoft Team Foundation Server
- Enhanced 64-Bit Application Support
- InstallShield Prerequisites for SQL Server 2008 R2 Express, SQL Server Native Client, Visual C++ 2010, and Other Redistributables
- Unicode InstallScript Support and Enhanced Script Editor
- Pre- and Post-Build Events to call external programs or scripts
- Expiring Setup Launcher and Custom Icon for setup.exe
- Changes to Standalone Build Module Licensing (see below)
While some of these may not seems like a big deal, they are practical improvements. For instance, many users have been asking how to use their own icon for the setup.exe file instead of InstallShield's standard icon. Also the pre and post build events could be very handy, especially the "in between" event which enables you to run an external command after the setup has been created but before it is packaged into the self extracting exe.
InstallShield 2011 is available in Premier, Professional and Express editions. The Limited Edition which is available free of charge to Visual Studio users has not been updated yet.
Stand-Alone Build Engine Returns to InstallShield Professional
The Standalone Build Module enables developers to automate installation builds and and integrate them with their product builds. It is installed and run on clean machines separate from the InstallShield IDE, and includes only the part of InstallShield that builds the installation.
Some years ago, the InstallShield Build Engine (SAB) was included with InstallShield Premier and Professional. But with the release of InstallShield 12 in the year 2006 the SAB was removed from the Professional tier, so anyone who needed the SAB had to purchase the Premier edition. (Existing customers were grandfathered with rights to use the SAB until the release of InstallShield 2009, two years ago.) This decision was strongly criticized back then.
Today the Stand Alone Build module returns to the Professional edition: Users buying InstallShield 2011 Professional also get one SAB license.
On the other hand, the number of SAB licenses included with the Premier edition was reduced from 10 to 5 (but customers with an active maintenance plan are grandfathered to 10 SAB licenses, so they don't lose anything).
Stand Alone Build Module now available separately
If the included SAB licenses aren't enough for your scenario, you can now buy additional SAB licenses separately. They are available as single licenses and as team bundles with 10 or 30 licenses.
Changes also in the way SAB licenses are enforced: In contrast to the InstallShield IDE which requires activation over the internet, the SAB uses a license file. Customers can generate such license file in Flexera Software's web portal by entering a unique ID of the build machine (I think the network card's NIC number). This license file can then be transferred to the build machine over the internal network or a USB stick, so you don't have to expose your build machine to internet threats.
End of Life for InstallShield 2008 announced
Not surprisingly, with the release of the new version Flexera Software also announced the end of life for the oldest version that is currently supported. Essentially this means that owners of InstallShield 2008 can upgrade to the latest version until November 30, 2010. After that date InstallShield 2008 is no longer eligible for upgrade pricing and they would have to pay the price of the full license. (This doesn't apply to the German edition of InstallShield 2008 which has been discontinued in 2009.)
InstallShield can be purchased from the InstallSite Shop at http://www.installsite.biz/installshield.htm