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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

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: 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.


Posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 1:14 PM Installshield | Back to top

Comments on this post: Singing the Installshield Blues

# re: Singing the Installshield Blues
Requesting Gravatar...

whaddya know, I actually read blogs...

drop me a line and we'll get this sorted for you.

installshield product manager
Left by bob corrigan on Dec 21, 2004 1:43 PM

# re: Singing the Installshield Blues
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i have problem in callig a function from C/C++ DLL function...

it calls the function, but also throws an exception...

have a look at code

dll code
long UpdatePassword(char *, char *, char *, char *, char *, char *);

// script

it uses another dll file, but it explicitly loads that file..

Left by hiranya on Jul 22, 2005 4:47 AM

# re: Singing the Installshield Blues
Requesting Gravatar...
i was also using installshield X and .net/com intop.

when you call function from .net dll during installation, it seems you need to do two things first before that:
1. make sure target machine has .net installed orelse you install it for them.
2. register wrapped dll with regasm or other ways first before calling.

just my opinion. is that correct?
Left by changer on Aug 19, 2005 8:40 AM

# re: Singing the Installshield Blues
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How to Use a .Net dll in InstallShield 11 can any one help please urgent
Left by LP on Dec 06, 2005 8:58 PM

# re: Singing the Installshield Blues
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can i call a dll function using installedshield DevStudio9 ?

if not is it feasible to use com interop instead of that,
Left by Ruwan on May 23, 2007 6:28 AM

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