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Restricting product features based on serial num

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 14:10

I've searched through the forum an learnt a few bits but I'm still missing the overall picture (I'm not an MSI expert). I don't have a all heavyweight tool - just VS.NET 2003, Orca and some custom bits that were built for the current product (to get over some limitations in the VS.NET produced MSI - like a custom UI page).

End result is:
Customers enters a serial number
Serial number is used within the MSI to limit the list of features they can see
Features displayed in a tree with install now, later, never options (the features that they do not have access to shouldn't be displayed at all).

I'd like some links/resources specifically on how the serial number is processed (guess I'm looking at calling a custom action that runs a method in a DLL), how to build a feature tree (we only have a radio box dialog at the mo), how the serial number processing response is used to restrict the feature tree to those that are defined as 'purchased' (I've read it's part of costing).

If someone could list out a sequence of 'headings' in order to acheive this I'd very much appreciate it. Are there any how-to's/tutorials covering this subject?

Many thanks in advance!

Stefan Krueger

Stefan Krueger


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Posted 14 May 2004 - 16:55

To process the serial number you would use a custom action, for instance a DLL written in C.
To display a feature tree use the FeatureTree control.
To hide a feature using condition, set it install level to 0 if the feature should be hidden. Note that you must set the condition before costing takes place, so you would have to split up your dialog sequence:
1. enter serial number and set the condition
2. perform costing
3. display the feature tree dialog
The also means that you cannot go Back from the feature tree to the seerial number dialog.


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Posted 18 May 2004 - 09:38

Thanks, I'll get on and try that out biggrin.gif


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Posted 18 May 2004 - 10:05

Just my 2 cents that you didn't ask for :-). I implemented something similar at one point, but in the end we decided to have the application remove features based on the serial number rather than having the setup do it. It just seemed more reliable.

I do believe it is doable in the setup, but you will need to have your logic run during fresh install, repair etc... and it is not clear to me if patching of this application would work properly (should work, but if you need it I would try it before going public on the first version!).

Apart from that you could compile different setups from the same Installshield project and in effect deliver "editions" of your product.

If you do decide to go ahead and use the approach you describe, it would be very interesting to hear your experiences with the approach.
-Stein Åsmul