The General Installer (GInstaller)

I have finished the main coding of my ‘General Installer’.  Now we are applying it to live packages and it looks like it will become very useful indeed.

We refer to it as ‘GInstaller’ so that is now the name: GInstaller, short for General Installer.

Some more information on GInstaller:

What is it?

GInstaller is a deployment tool to intelligently install programs and applications with full logging.  It is a VBScript that acts on an input ini file.  It can:

  • Check if the install is required
  • Check a number of pre-install conditions against criteria specified
  • Execute a sequence of command lines acting on specific exit codes
  • Set up a user self-install icon for them to install at their convenience
  • Generate a ‘hidden’ re-install icon for IT Support staff
  • Comprehensively log each step of the installation
  • Email the log at the end to a specified email account
  • Perform simple post install tasks such as creating / deleting registry values, deleting files and folders (e.g. delete extra shortcuts installed but not desired)

GInstaller is designed to enable complex intelligent deployment of programs and applications without complex scripting knowledge (or any scripting knowledge at all!).

How is it used?

The GInstaller.vbs script and the associated, configured, GInstaller.ini file are placed into the folder with the packaged unattended installation files.

The package folder should then be deployed to the local computer using the deployment tool of choice and the GInstaller.vbs called by the deployment tool from the local folder.

General Installer use

ICTST deploy the source locally prior to installation.  There are pros and cons to this method, but we have found that for reducing problems and improving supportability, this is the best option for us.

Show me!

An example ini file can be viewed here:

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~oucs0058/res/blog_oucs/Sample_GInstaller.ini

This is not a working sample just a reference of all the options that can be used.  In practice a real example is less than half the length of this example.

GInstaller is fully documented, but at this stage I can’t release the document to everyone.  (If you work for Oxford then I can let you have a copy of the document – just email me).

As for releasing the GInstaller script itself – this is still very early days and little bugs are still popping up regularly.  In  the future I plan to release for open use.  Please contact me either by email or the comments section below if you are interested in hearing more.

Below is an outline process flow chart of the General Installer:

General Installer flowchart

General Installer flowchart

Posted in Work | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “The General Installer (GInstaller)”

  1. Greenwich says:

    Hi Darren

    A very interesting couple of posts you have there on the General Installer, how has it come along since you last posted on it?

    If you’ve reached a stage where you are happy to release it (I don’t mind bugs), I’d be very interested in having a look through the code.

    Look forward to reading a few more updates.

  2. Darren Collins says:

    Hi Greenwich,
    It has come quite a long way, and is in daily use by us for rolling applications to all staff at the University.

    In the near future, I’ll be looking into writing a proper article on it and releasing a version I’m happy enough with for use out in the wild.

    Thanks for your interest. If you don’t mind, would you please drop me a private email to darren.collins[at]ict.ox.ac.uk with the scenario you think it might fit for you? The more use cases I get the more robust I can make it!

    Regards,
    Darren.

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