I get quite a few requests for some good reference books that will help to understand InstallShield. As it turns out, most are written by InstallShield employee’s – go figure.
Here is my list of beneficial reference books that I frequently pick up and review:
Practical Windows Installer Solutions
Author: Bob Baker – 2004.
Most recent book on the subject, again written by Bob Baker – at Technical Trainer at InstallShield Corp, and the prolific author of at least three InstallShield reference books. Focus is on truly practical solutions to application packaging; the section on understanding Patches and Updates is worth the price.
The Official InstallShield for Windows Installer Developer’s Guide
Author: Bob Baker – 2001
Bob Baker is the author – this book is somewhat dated because it used the ISWI tool – when it was still in competion with IS’s version 6, it does have a good bit of instruction on how to create Dialogs using the internal C++ dialog layout editor. It discusses thoroughly the concept that I fully embrace – using Basic MSI with InstallScript Custom Actions to extend its functionality.
Author: Leslie E. Easter – 1998
Written when IS 5.0 was in production – quite aged and showing its age. The first book that I know of that approached the authoring of install setups as a method to achieve a solid install of a product. One of the strongest presentations of the intricacies of the InstallScript language that you can find.
Getting Started with InstallShield Developer and Windows Installer Setups
Author: Bob Baker – 2002
This book uses IS Developer 7.x as the model – which allows you to continue to be comfortable all thru version 12.0. Granted there are subtle changes and new additions (XML Editing, SQL Scripts, etc), but by far most of the panels and dialogs look quite similar. A testament to the graceful aging of the IS Product line.
Administrator’s Introduction to Application Repackaging and Software Development using Windows Installer
Authors: Bob Baker and Robert Dickau – 2002 (Robert Dickau is a frequent contributor in the InstallShield forums.)
Although this is THE book for Repackaging applications (taking legacy app and using the AdminStudio product to create a MSI for distribution) it goes i-ndepth into Tranforms and handling locked-down environments.
Mastering Windows XP Registry
Author: Peter Hipson – 2002
This book provides an in-depth reference to various HKLM registry keys that I can use to determine NT Service status, how to plug information into the “RUNONCE” registry key, etc.