Software Deployment Question

Installshield vs Wise for repackaging

09/26/2003 26471 views
I'm looking to repackage 80+ desktop applications. For those who have compared recent versions of Wise Package Studio and Installshield AdminStudio, which suited your needs better and why? The most important criteria to me are accuracy, ease of use, and technical support. The Professional editions of both products seem to be very similar in functionality.
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Community Chosen Answer

We are in the process of just wrapping up a contract to convert 300 Zen snapshots applications in the MSI format. We reviewed both Wise and InstallShield. Both were very similar and each has it's own areas of expertise.

We choose Wise.

1. The overall use of the Wise packager and IDE was simple enough, yet powerful enough for us to train our group of engineers to complete the task faster.

2. Before they(WISE) offered a complete package of software with the msi format, they had their own scripting language, WiseScript. It offers a great extension when repackaging other non-os friendly software.

The IDE for Dialog creation is clunky and compiling to the network in unthinkable.

I think the choice really depends on who is going to do the work and their ability to use installers and their understanding of the Windows OS, Windows Installer Format and services.

Good Luck,

Answered 09/26/2003 by: DigitalFootprint
Yellow Belt

Rating comments in this legacy AppDeploy message board thread won't reorder them,
so that the conversation will remain readable.

All Answers

Now I feel uniquely qualified to offer an opinion on this topic. I've had the great fortune to have worked on several different migration projects, using such products as Wise Installer, Walls, Wise Package Studio 4.x and InstallShield AdminStudio 5.

I'm using InstallShield right now, not because I got to choose, that's what the client uses, but if I had my way we'd go with Wise. The built-in logic in Wise (WiseScript) is great, and it's easy to include code from other sources like WinBatch. SetupCapture in Wise is WAY better than InstallShield. Before we went to version 5.0, InstallShield was picking up all kinds of spurious crap during a capture, regardless of the contents of your exclusion list. You'd spend twenty more minutes trimming away unnecessary reg entries.

InstallShield is slower than Wise in operation, I find. And I've been able to crash InstallShield when trying to set the properties on a shortcut for a large MSI.

Wise gives better access to the order of execution so you can slam in your custom actions anywhere you want, and the default template is easier to use. With InstallShield, we need to use a merge module for our customizations, which means an extra few steps in creating the package.

Also, InstallShield packagers have to rely on Orca periodically to allow them to tweak an MSI when InstallShield won't do it itself. Wise does everything for you. I've come upon situations where Installshield wouldn't even package an application. In frustratation, I downloaded the Wise Package Studio eval and ran that instead. It packaged the application properly the first time without complaint. Way to go Wise. (On a licensing note, this was an exercise to show the value of WPS over InstallShield. The client did not use the WPS-prepared MSI in their deployment)
And last, when you price it out, don't forget the ongoing maintenance agreement. Per seat licensing for Installshield is less expensive than Wise, but InstallShield gets you on the annual maintenance. Price out comparable products with ongoing maintenance for three years and you'll find Wise is much less expensive.

So, my choice is Wise Package Studio.

Mark Weston
Answered 10/01/2003 by: markweston
Senior Yellow Belt

I too feel qualified to comment here.

This is my 4th packaging contact in 3 years and I'm currently working on a site with 30,000 users and would say that Wise was the best choice. I had to evaluate 4 different packaging tools for the company before settling on Wise Package Studio.

The SetupCapture is by far the best around. Although I do double check the capture with Winstall as well and Wise generally detects more accurately and includes far less rubbish keys etc.

The only thing I dont like about Wise is the Software Repository because it can be a bit confusing. At this site we actually created our own method for storing the original files and it works fine. The Wise way is a little clunky and you have to place your faith in a SQL server as well.

One thing I can say for sure is this. Wise makes MSI installations. InstallShield makes InstallShield installations that happen to be MSI's. In some cases they wont deploy like a "normal" msi. Thats the clincher for me.
Answered 03/02/2004 by: MSIMaker
2nd Degree Black Belt

Having worked with Wise Package Studio 5.1, Wise for Windows Install 4.X, InstallShield Admin Studio 5.0 & 5.5 with Developer 8 and DevStudio 9. I'd have to disagree with most of this thread.

Yes WiseScript Express has been wonderful and the interface is easy to use for most users. However, if any of your users have used realy any development IDE, they may find the WISE interface a little Fisher-Price compared to InstallShield's. I have never had WISE take less time than InstallShield.

I use both products daily as we has projects in either. I think I have more granular control over the projects when they are in IS (plus there are quite a few additional function in ISScript). I have had BOTH applications hang and crash as well as certain projects capture better using one tool over the other. Most of this is due to exception lists I have created.

Also, I have yet to find any feature in WISE that compares to isrepackager.exe. There is absolutely NOTHING to install to capture a setup on a clean system. Always a plus when wanting to eliminate excess file and registry entries.

So I guess I'd have to toss my hat into the InstallShield corner. The main point is to get evaluation code of each product and get a feel for how they'd fit in your environment. No amount of reviews or praise can compete with actually seeing how the products perform with your particular situation.
Answered 06/16/2004 by: pm378597
Yellow Belt

I've used both, Wise much more than installshield. I can say that Wise is more highly regarded in making MSIs, however its performance is crap. I regularly have to wait more than 30 min. to compile a large package. Also, their support is really crap and they have virtually no online support save for the Altiris forums. I've learned much more from reading the newsgroups and appdeploy.com than I ever could from official Wise sources. Their typical so-called KB Article is usually just rehashed procedure straight out of the manual.

Installshield support community is much more rich and diverse.

Just my $.02

Answered 10/21/2004 by: aogilmor
9th Degree Black Belt

Hi MSIMaker,

I was wondering if you'd mind expanding on a point you made here - "InstallShield makes InstallShield installations that happen to be MSI's. In some cases they wont deploy like a "normal" msi. Thats the clincher for me.". I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I'm assuming (possibly incorrectly) that you are referring to Isscript.

If you are referring to isscript, well you dont have to use it. Its true they do like you to, and the installshield forums are full of isscript solutions, but I avoid them like the plague and just do VBscript custom actions.

I've used Wise and Installshield for repackaging MSI's (and Zen for Novell based environments), and I guess I'd call myself an agnostic - feature sets are very similar, interfaces aren't too dissimilar, they both have annoying bugs etc. The only real seperator between the two is the licencing restrictions, in certain areas (supporting multiple outsourced clients) Installshield is better as you can use the same licence of installshield across multiple clients (if I recall correctly), with Wise you cannot (again, if I recall correctly).

Some of the problems with Installshield people are reporting here must be from old versions, because having used the last 3 I certainly haven't run into any of these issues.

I certainly don't see an advantage from Wise to Installshield with the ordering of custom actions that markweston refers to, and using a merge module for customisations? No idea where that is coming from...
Answered 10/21/2004 by: plangton
Second Degree Blue Belt

I'll back up MSIMaker on this one. Isscript is definitely part of it. Consider it a "client" that must be present in order to run InstallShield MSIs that rely on it. That doesn't make much sense to me because Windows Installer is already on the machine, and can also be considered a client. Creating an install that requires TWO client applications installed? That's kinda rediculous. FWIW, I really hate discovering an app is installed with Isscript. It adds a layer of unnecessary complexity.

Also, InstallShield adds a disappointingly large amount of proprietary data to the MSI, enough to argue that InstallShield MSIs do not adhere to Microsoft's Windows Installer standards. How bad is that? Well, that's open to interpretation. One can say it enhances Windows Installer, another can say the proprietary data backs you into a corner. Personally, I prefer to stick to standards and I go with Wise.

The only difference right now is that InstallShield has the Patch Management support, but Wise is responding with similar functionality in WPSE 5.5 due out on Nov 9th.
Answered 10/25/2004 by: VikingLoki
Second Degree Brown Belt

Keep in mind that in Administudio 6 there is a repackaging option that scans the isscript and applies the sequences to a new MSI with compliancy to the Windows Installer standards, then removes the isscript from the vendor supplied MSI.
Answered 10/25/2004 by: cdupuis
Third Degree Green Belt

Whaddya know. Installshield provides a utility that fixes something screwed up in their application and call it a "feature".

Ha! They must be taking lessons from Microsoft!
Answered 10/25/2004 by: VikingLoki
Second Degree Brown Belt

For network deployments isscript really sucks, as did setup.iss before the windows installer days, but you have to remember that they provide theses as tools for the setup developer and do not force any person to use them. I would say that Wise offers similar options to setup developers and their MSi files aren't "standard" either. You need to blame the vendors who are letting their developers use these non standard technologies and not the people providing the tools.
Answered 10/25/2004 by: cdupuis
Third Degree Green Belt

It is also important to note that you can assign permission to .INI files in InstallShield whereas you can't do that with Wise Package Studio.

Answered 10/26/2004 by: oofemioo
Blue Belt

I have to admit that Wise phone support is lacking. The InstallShield support I got was better but these were pre-sales guys so I dunno if I got the true level of support or not.
(i.e. Did I get through the first level of idiots and directly to people that knew what they were doing?) But aside from all that I think the online forums is where you'll get the best MSI support as these guys don't really know about or care about the application you are trying to get packaged.
Answered 10/26/2004 by: kkaminsk
9th Degree Black Belt

I've used the "SmartScan" function and have yet to come away with an installable MSI. Not one has functioned correctly. The tool either does not recognize the isscript as such (yes I checked the version compatibility) and the tool simply performs a capture. Or the tool actually sees the isscript and performs the conversion, but when the package installation is launched it does not function as expected if at all or the software comes out broken.

What apps have I tried to use the "SmartScan" tool with?, Blackberry desktop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat Pro - (which has a whole bunch of other issues), along with a bunch of smaller vendor apps.

The "SmartScan" thing is supposed to work with all installshield scripting engine installations, but I have only seen the SmartScan function launch with isscript version 10+. I have attempted to use it with 6,7,8,and 9, no got love there at all. I called support and opened a ticket and got worse support that I get with Wise (that's saying somthing there!).

And the funny part is that I budgeted the $4000.00 dollars to buy it anyway. It does have some nice features that can help me, and it's worth it as an additional tool in the arsonal. I would suggest that if you only get to pick one, pick Wise. But the more tools you can get ahold of the better it is for you.
Answered 11/15/2004 by: bobfrytz
Yellow Belt

Goota love educational pricing, Mine was $1400...
Answered 11/15/2004 by: cdupuis
Third Degree Green Belt

I also use InstallShield. Although both of them can do similar tasks, I find InstallShield easier to use.
Answered 01/23/2005 by: totoymola
Orange Belt

Regading installshield support, we have the ulta super keen, most you can get, support, and they drove out here when AMS crashed to get us back up and running the same day. So yes, their support is bitchin.

I use Installshield cause my predecessor picked it out as being 'easier to learn' and 'just as functional' for what we do. I have to agree, given that the technical level of people building packages at my office is on par with third level tech support (I mean this as a compliment, actually, we used to have some dumb asses here, and this is said with notable exceptions, some of us are acutally programmers), InstallShield is point-shoot easy. If you need to have, as we do, massive amounts of MSIs built for an XP deployment, and not everyone's going to be a super smart, knows it all, programer geek? Installsheild wins, hands down.
Answered 01/25/2005 by: Ipstenu
Senior Yellow Belt

what diff betn wise package studio and install shield
Answered 06/27/2010 by: sshiva018
Yellow Belt

Both products all you install them as trial versions. Download them and find out! :)
Answered 06/28/2010 by: VBScab
Red Belt

  • Where can I find an evaluation version of wise?
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