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Windows Install Class in MSI

by williammawataol / May 10, 2010 11:07 AM PDT

I have put together an MSI installer for windows mobile 6.x. The main project is in C++ and the installer class is in C#. There is also a CAB installer that contains the output of the main project, which is in turn wrapped into the MSI file.

The installer works but it is not as seamless as I would like it to be. When you install, you need to reboot the device in order to get the application installed. When you uninstall, you have to do it in two separate steps: one for the desktop and another for the device itself. I have tried launching the CE App Manager (CEAPPMGR.EXE) from within the installer class, but the connection seems to go dead during the uninstall process and a message box pops up and says that you can only launch the CEAPPMGR when the connection is active.

I am wondering if anyone has had the same experience or any ideas.

Thank you in advance ...

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Same here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 10, 2010 11:55 PM PDT

I'm writing such things in VS2008 and let's just say the installer is from the dark ages of development. Here's what we ended up doing. "Nothing."

Since there was no budget to create a better installer we decided with live with VS2008's Windows Mobile installer.

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One Step MSI Mobile Instaler
by williammawataol / May 12, 2010 2:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Same here.

Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts. With the appropriate resources, do you think it is possible to create an MSI installer that doesn't have those limitations while staying within the same technologies: C++, C#, VS 2008, CAB, MSI and ActiveSync etc? Do you know of any party who has done that?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 12, 2010 5:21 AM PDT

Given time, money and more you can do about anything. But let me warn you of another bump in the road (more like a brick wall.) I have 5 Windows Mobile machines at my disposal for testing and development which appear to give me a good representation of "typical" WM machines.

I have WM 2003SE, WM 5.0, WM 6.0, WM 6.1 WM 6.5 and am previewing some WM 7.0 items. On top of that some like the HTC Touch Pro 2 put a skin on top of it all.

My apps are very industrial and cost conscious to a fault. We reached the point where we can install with the .CAB fine but given the minefield of differences across just 5 machines would you support each variant as it came along?

That is where it could get expensive as you collect each machine, each version of WM that it can have and then sort it all out.

Not impossible but would you turn a profit on that?

PS. Yes, I'm authoring WM Apps. Just not "installers."

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WIn Mobile Platforms
by williammawataol / May 12, 2010 4:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Absolutely.

I don't know how different WM 2003SE is from the the rest, but if I have to refer back to the Win desktop OS history of maintaining backward compatibility, I would be inclined to think that if you can make it work on WM 5.0 then it would likely work on WM 6.0, WM 6.1 WM 6.5 and WM 7.0 as well. That may not be the reality though?

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Sorry no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 12, 2010 9:08 PM PDT
In reply to: WIn Mobile Platforms

The reality is that the stock .CAB installer and the MSDN Windows example installer work without flaw in WM 5.0 and WM 2003SE. Where it begins to fall apart was on the 6.0+ versions.

But here's what you revealed. It appears you don't have the machines to see this so you might question this. Let me write that unless you have the target machines, you might think there are no problems like this.

Here's the ugly truth. You (or the developer) needs the target machines. Or they may fail.

-> Define "work." The simple CAB file installer that runs on the WM machine to install, does install but there are other issues and I take it that you wanted an installer for the Windows side to chat with ActiveSync, etc. Again, a deep definition of "work" would be required. This area is full if potholes, glitches and gotchas. I'm here, I have platforms and made sure our development contracts did not include any installer.

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Platform Testing Service
by williammawataol / May 13, 2010 11:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry no.

Interesting! Since you mentioned about the diverse machines you have access to, are you in a position to offer a platform testing service, install, uninstall and general performance etc, for lack of a better term, on them?

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I don't have a lot of machines.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 13, 2010 10:51 PM PDT

Not today. Neat idea but it would be costly as you would have to spend the time on spec writing than actual work. Then you can be assured that everyone would ask "why didn't it work?" or other questions.

I know we are asking questions about the Widcomm Bluetooth stack and the answers have been less than helpful.

Anyhow why wouldn't your software team have the target machines? I know that without them I would not know where things are slow, fast or when the OS renders different on this or that platform.

Your install questions are easy to answer and cheap when you have the real thing to work with.

While I have 5 WM machines to work with, acquiring them ran under 1K or about the price of VS 2008. To me it seems to be the price of admission.

What you may want to know is some makers/vendors/cellphonecompanies have "seed" programs. The HTC unit is a seed unit. I have to give it back when they ask.

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Seed Program
by williammawataol / May 14, 2010 2:49 AM PDT

Thank you very much for all the info. I will check out the seed programs.

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