How To Become an Application Packager?
If anyone could give me some advice I'd really appreciate the help. I'm interested in trying to get a job in application packaging, but I don't know the best way to go about it. I'm currently doing contracting work in any old support/deployment roles, but really want to start to get more specialised. One contractor I've spoken to said that he "just did an apps packaging course" and another said that I have no chance of getting an apps packaging job unless I go permanent and hope that I get to do some apps packaging as part of the role.
I'm thinking of doing a couple of the AdminStudio / App-V courses that Flexera run that lead to certification, but they're not cheap and I'm concerned that, without any experience in the real world, they might be a waste of money, or that the pace of the course might be more geared towards people who are already doing this full-time (the course pre-requisites say no previous experience is needed, but I'm still not sure).
Any advice would be great, thanks!
Wise commissioned an e-book titled " The Definitive Guide to Windows Installer Technology" which is now available at:http://cc.realtimepublishers.com/DGWITSA.htm
This is also an excellent resource for explaining aspects of windows installer technology.
Books that packagers have found useful:
" Windows Installer for VB/VBA programmers" by Mike Gunderloy
Now out of print, but the unedited proofs are available for download from:
"The Definitive Guide to Windows Installer" by Phil Wilson, publisher: Apress.
Includes .NET content
The links above may be out of date but google should point you to wherever these documents are stored nowadays. Also, get hold of a copy of WinInstall LE - a packaging tool that was provided free on a windows 2000 server CD, but may also be available from the OnDemand software website (or whatever they may be calling themselves these days). You can then practice repackaging some old non-msi apps and gain some practical experience of the issues you will encounter.
Download a copy of MSI.CHM from the web - it is the definitive reference for MSI file tables and other MSI technologies. You can also download the Windows Installer SDK, part of the Platform SDK, to get the latest Microsoft docs and tools for working with MSI files.
Finally, if taking a course, consider one for Flexera Adminstudio, as since the demise of the Wise products, this is the defacto standard in most corporates. Make sure you meet the experience levels recommended by your course provider.
Finally, virtualisation experience is also required these days, so consider running through some of the App/V labs on the Microsoft website, and also play around with creating virtual apps using the personal (free) edition of the Symantec Workstation Virtualisation client.
You will also need to understand how 64 bit operating systems run 32 bit apps and how the registry is partitioned for 32 bit and 64 bit apps.
Courses are normally 5 days long and frankly they cannot take someone with no previous experience to any realistic level of competence in that time. Even if you are already conversant with the operation of the registry, file system and permissions, and have some windows programming experience, the level of knowledge and experience required to become an effective application packager can only be gained over several months of working in the packaging arena with help from a mentor when you run into problems.
Have you had any exposure to solving problems with application deployment as part of your support work?