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Author Topic: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008  (Read 7137 times)

kyrathaba

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Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« on: February 25, 2009, 11:28:08 AM »
I'm giving serious thought to purchasing either the Standard or Professional edition of Microsoft Visual Studio.  I've been working with the Express edition for C# for a long time, but I'm frustrated by its lack of deployment features.  I've tried Inno Setup and actually got it to work after much research and headache (mostly user-difficulty, I'm sure).  What I'm looking for is a version of the studio in which I can (1) produce C# applications, and (2) will allow me to package my finished application into a standard Windows installer.  Can anyone in the know give guidance on which version offers these and the best possible price on that product?  I've visited several sites, including Microsoft's official site, but have had a really frustrating time trying to get email responses to my queries, and their documentation of features is so wordy I'm not sure what I'm reading.

So, to recap, I want a Visual Studio IDE that had the ability to package my applications into a standard Windows installer.  Also, it should have the ability, within the installer, to detect whether or not the end-user's computer has the required .NET Framework version, and install it if needed.

Deozaan

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 12:17:18 PM »
I'm not sure about the answers to your questions, but be sure to look for those occasional deals by Microsoft where they offer full version software for a discount or for free (for students or members of the military, for instance).


mouser

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 12:23:48 PM »
i dont know if you should confound the issue of installer tool with your choice of IDE.
(personally there are a lot of us who are not happy with the MSI installer system).

sounds like what you really want is an installer which can detect if the user needs to install .net and help them do so.  i use inno and as much as i like it, its a travesty that such things are so hard to do with it.  but there must be other free install makers that can do this (and no doubt there are ways to do it using helper utilities and inno setup).

personally i think the only plausible explanation for why its so hard to detect and help users install .net is a massive conspiracy within microsoft to destroy the company from within -- because surely the only other explanation requires a level of stupidity that humans don't normally possess.

CWuestefeld

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 12:44:51 PM »
Count me as a hater of support for installation even in the platinum (or whatever they call it) edition of VS.Net. One possibility is Advanced Installer, which has a free edition. It was recommended to me here, but I never actually tried it myself.

Advanced Installer

kyrathaba

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 01:38:19 PM »
@ CWuestefeld:

Thanks for that link to Advanced Installer.  In reading over its feature list, it appears to have what I want:

Quote
If your application needs some other software to be installed in order to run, you can easily specify them as Prerequisites. Advanced Installer will search for them, then download and install as necessary. This is an easy way to install frameworks like JRE or .NET, browsers or database engines.

Searching for applications, files, folders, registry keys and INI entries is also provided. Using this, installing additional files, extensions and plugins to existing applications becomes trivial.




@ Mouser:

Quote
sounds like what you really want is an installer which can detect if the user needs to install .net and help them do so.  i use inno and as much as i like it, its a travesty that such things are so hard to do with it.

Yeah, that's really what I need: a Windows installer, simple interface that doesn't require me to read a manual or attend seminars to learn how to use it, and that can optionally install .NET if needed on the end-user's computer.  I share your annoyance with Inno Setup.  I recall a thread from months ago wherein several of us were discussing its (to me, at least) cryptic script.  I did finally get it to work in order to create an install for my Crocus Contacts program, but I'd not care to repeat that exercise.

To be honest, I think Visual C# Express 2008 (which is free) has all the functionality that I personally need for the type of projects I've ever undertaken or are likely to undertake in the future.  So, if I can find the right installer I'll be all set.  Sounds like Advanced Installer may be what I'm after.  I'll investigate further.



I have another question, about wireless printers, but I guess it belongs in a different forum.

f0dder

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 02:21:40 PM »
If deployment is your only reason to purchase the pro version, I'd say don't - invest some time in learning another install tool instead. Might take some work, but it's going to be a better investment in the long term. And even though .msi sucks, I'm pretty sure there are 3rd party tools that support it.
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Eóin

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 03:23:46 PM »
You should definitely look into WiX. It's developed by MS staff, standalone or integrates into VS (though don't know about Express Editions). It allows you to build MSI files through a XML syntax.

f0dder

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 03:34:09 PM »
You should definitely look into WiX. It's developed by MS staff, standalone or integrates into VS (though don't know about Express Editions). It allows you to build MSI files through a XML syntax.
Officially supported or "just" developed by MS staff?

I still hate .msi anyway, those installers are damnably slow.
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Eóin

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 04:05:38 PM »
This is as much as I know :)

Rob Mensching, the original author and lead developer of WiX, works on WiX in his spare time. At the time of release he said, "I did not feel that many people inside Microsoft understood what the Open Source community was really about and I wanted to improve that understanding by providing an example."

As of 2006, several other Microsoft employees from various product divisions of the company work on WiX with Mensching, meeting after business hours once a week to coordinate development efforts and write code. WiX has proven to be so popular with Microsoft development teams that many of Microsoft's software products, like SQL Server 2005 and Office 2007, are packaged using WiX.

kyrathaba

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 11:54:10 PM »
I tried Advanced Installer using the "Simple" build option, and it worked flawlessly.  I still had to go to Control Panel to uninstall my sample app, but that's fine by me.  It has a lot of advanced options, but it'll take awhile to get my head around them. 

Thanks for all your help folks. 

Also, I'll check out Wix.

kovi2

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2009, 12:11:08 PM »
May worth to have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/
You can get all Microsoft product for almost free.

Crush

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2009, 03:31:21 PM »
During the last 8 years I get my full versions another way:
Microsoft makes launch-conferences at the release for different product-lines each 2-3 years (developers - all programming languages, website creators and designers and project & business management software). If you visit them you often get expensive new products with full commercial licences for free (sometimes including updates) with additional DVDs containing nearly all powerpoints and videos of all developer-tracks. The only important rule: You aren´t allowed to sell the software, but you can install as example the visual studio up to 5 different computers! Ok, you have to pay a rather small fee to enter them - its cheaper than the products alone - but registering can be only a few 100$ if you get the early-bird registrations some months before.

Not everybody can achieve the BizSpark program, because it´s only for startups and there are some other rules, but i also want to get additional software-support this way if possible :)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 03:38:09 PM by Crush »

bassclarinetl2

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2009, 02:07:43 AM »
I obtained VS Pro 2008 courtesy of MSDNAA (i.e. all hail student discounts)

Haven't had a chance to crack it open tho.
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Sugar

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2009, 12:54:52 AM »
You might want to go to this link and read it:

MS wants feedback

There's another link on that page, also.
Me, Ambivalent? Well, yes and no.....

Sugar

kyrathaba

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Re: Thinking about buying Visual Studio 2008
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2009, 06:08:08 PM »
Regarding installers for C#, I tried the built-in deployment capability of Visual C# Express 2008 and it worked pretty well.  I hadn't tried the Express installer since the 2005 version (at which time it gave me fits).  Advanced Installer seems to have gobs of options, but it didn't create an uninstaller in the program folder.  That could be user-ineptitude, however, as I've not experimented much with it.