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Who creates the transform normally?

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 23:07


I am getting more familiar with MSI as I come from a scripted install background.

But I need some help regarding Transforms/Public properties

One of the installations that I am in charge of creating is one that requires input for 2 things (a server name and a port number). The 2 options that I need to collect during the install, I have made Public properties. So, someone could run the install with a /q and specify the properties on the command line to run it silently.

Obviously, I want our customers to be able to deploy the installation to all of their users silently via AD Group Policy (or whatever other deployment tool they use). From what I understand, when you deploy software via Group Policy, you cannot specify command line parameters. Are transforms the only way for an administrator at our customer site to deploy the msi via Group Policy silently while specifying values for public properties? From all I have read - this seems to be the case.

If that is the case - that transforms are the way to go -
What is the normal practice for this? As the software developer are we supposed to provide a tool for the administrator to create a transform for our software? Or is this normally something that the administrator should already have in his/her bag of tricks if they normally deploy MSIs.

And, If I as the software developer/seller am normally responsible for providing this type of tool for the customer --- what is the best way to do this? Is there a really easy tool that I can provide to them that just asks them for these 2 property values and then behind the scenes create the *.mst for them? Is there something I can do with the admin installation that woudl allow a customer to easily do this.

Any help greatly appreciated....probably just need to be pointed in the right direction.



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Posted 25 May 2006 - 11:10


As per my understanding, as you rightly mentioned, it is not possible to give the property values in the commandline while deploying the package using Active Diretory as there is no option for the commandline arguments.

As you properly mentioned, in these cases only one option (as I know) is tranforms. You have to create different transforms with different values.
For example in most of the applications we are getting transforms based on the languge like 1033.mst, 1034.mst and so on. So if the user want to use the application which is in English, he will use the MSI along with 1033.mst, if some other languge then the same MSI with some other MST.

So basically we have to follow this method.

And to answer your question who has to do this, then its the developer who develop the MSI is resposible for this. He has to provide the transfroms also.

And I am not aware of any tool that will create a MST if we give some input.

If anyone knows, I will be much more eager to know it.

------------ Vijay


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Posted 25 May 2006 - 15:01

Thanks for the reply.
I see what you are saying in the example of different languages --- that would make sense for us the software developer to create transforms for that. But, the situation we have is that there are properties that the user would need to specify - such as server name and port. We would have no way to know all of these ahead of time, as each customer would have their own unique server name and the port they decide to use could be one of thousands of different choices. Also, each customer may need to have multiple transforms - as they may deploy to different locations where the server name would be different.

I have come up with another idea that might work out for our situation. I found how I can allow the user to specify Public Property values from the command line for an Administration install (/a parameter). This way the network admin can specify the property values and create a network install for their users. Hopefully this will work out for Active Directory Group Policy deployments --- I am not completely familiar with how that works.

For anyone interested --- the way to allow this is to create a Property called "AdminProperties" and for the value of this put in a list of all of the public properties that you want to allow to be changed during an administration install. So, for example:
I want to allow the administration install to modify the default values of my SERVERNAME and SERVERPORT properties.
I went to the Property table and added a property called AdminProperties.
In the value for this field I entered SERVERNAME;SERVERPORT

Now the network admin (at customer site) can run the msi with /a SERVERNAME=<name of their server> SERVERPORT=<chosen port>
This creates a new msi with their chosen property values.


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Posted 26 May 2006 - 16:13

I used exactly that last solution - and it works. The resulting admin image should be used for the Active Directory GPO.

The admin image can also be used for a normal visible setup. You may like to review the dialogs, and skip the server name/port dialog. When the running image is an administrative image, the property [IsAdminPackage] is set.