Monday, February 12, 2007

InstallAware... finally an installer tool I can appreciate!

I vaguely hinted at this way back in October 2006 with this post talking about how installers are important.  Well, I can finally come out an actually say something about it.  In case you missed it, InstallAware issued this press release last month.  Over the course of the past year besides being neck deep in all the DevCo/Developer Tools Group/CodeGear happenings, I've also been actively working on completely revamping and re-architecting our whole product delivery, localization and install processes.  Many of these processes were somewhat “dated” and overworked.  Some of these consisted of an indecipherable complex “Rube Goldberg” machines.  Some of which which are still in the process of being overhauled.  All of this is in keeping with one of the CodeGear CEO, Ben Smith's, mantra of “Simplifying the business” at all levels.

At the middle of last last year I personally took on the challenge of completing the initial “proof of concept” research project done by a former Delphi install engineer serving as a temporary contractor.  This research project was to ensure that InstallAware was going to be suitable for our purposes.  On paper and in all the demos given by InstallAware CEO, Sinan Karaca we were very encouraged and excited.  IA offered a flexible scripting mechanism, full MSI support, easy plugin development (although due to the scripting we're doing minimal work here), built-in pre-req integration, auto-update, automatic web download deployment, and a host of other “21st century” features.  So we embarked on a small project to create a proof of concept.  Throughout this process, we received impecible support from Sinan.  As this project was winding down, I was looking at the results and it was clear that some of our upstream processes really needed some work before we'd be able to fully realized the potential of IA.

This is where I got heavily involved.  I needed a new challenge and a little bit of a distraction from the divestiture/spin-off process.  I also wanted to continue to be contributing in a meaningful way to the [B]*DS team and the product.  Since we'd faced some unfortunate attrition within the Integration team, I jumped in to fill in the gap.  Within the next couple of months, I plan on creating a case study for InstallAware outlining in further detail some of the tools and process we've created to work with IA.

I must say that it is has been and continues to be a pleasure working with Sinan, and InstallAware.  He's been very professional and highly responsive.  So, if you haven't taken a look at InstallAware, you should.  Oh!  And did I mention that it is built with Delphi!?