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Deploying applications with IExpress How to deploy an application, using the IExpress tool.

#1 PixelCard  Icon User is offline

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:35 PM

Any developer has the need to deploy his applications to the end-user. If the application is very small, creating a full-featured installer is not very convenient. In this case is easier to create a self-extracting/self-installing package, that will just automatically extract the application files in a directory, specified by the user. This way of deployment takes much less computer resources and time, when it comes to small application or file blocks.

IExpress is a hidden tool, bundled with Windows, that permits creating self-extracting/self-installing packages with just a few clicks. In this tutorial I will show, how to create a self-extracting package for my application.

Special Tutorial Requirements:
  • Windows XP / Vista

So, let's begin.

1. Launch the 'Run' dialog, through 'Start -> Run...' (if you are using Windows XP), 'Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Run' (if you are using Windows Vista) or by just using the keyboard shortcut - 'Win + R':

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2. To launch IExpress, type 'iexpress' in the 'Open' field and press Enter:

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The IExpress wizard launches:

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As I am creating a new self-extracting package, I will leave the selection at 'Create new Self Extraction Directive file'.

3. Now I have to select the package purpose. I will select 'Extract files only', as my application is very small and doesn't require any additional libraries (so, I don't need an installer). If you want to distribute your installation package by bundling it in a self-extracting package, you must select the 'Extract files and run an installation command' option. If you want to create a CAB file, you must select the 'Create compressed files only (ActiveX Installs)' option.

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4. Now I have to enter the package title. You can enter here the name of the application:

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5. If I want, I can specify a confirmation prompt. This prompts the user, if he wants to install the package. I will select the 'Prompt user with' option and will enter here a sample text:

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6. If I want to show a license agreement, you can specify it in the next step. You just have to select the 'Display a license' option and specify the license file, if you have one. Otherwise, use the 'Do not display a license' option:

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7. Now I have to select the package files. I will use the 'Add' button to add the files:

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8. When I've selected all files, I have to specify how my installation program's window will be displayed. I have these options: 'Default', 'Hidden', 'Minimized', 'Maximized'. I will select the 'Default' option:

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9. If I want, I can specify the finish message. This message will be displayed at the end of the extraction process.

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10. Now I have to specify the package file name. I also must specify some additional options. I will leave the default options, but I have the opportunity to hide the file extracting progress animation from user.

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11. In the next step, I can specify if I want to save the Self Extraction Directive file. If I save it, I can re-use it again to create a new package, without entering the same information. I will save it:

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Now I'm ready to create the package:

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If my package was successfully created, I will see this message:

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There I can see the compression rate, the time it took to process the package and the throughput.

In the specified folder I can see the new package:

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This tutorial showed the basics of deploying an application using the IExpress tool. You can also use this tool to create self-extracting/self-installing packages for any files you want to distribute.

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Replies To: Deploying applications with IExpress

#2 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 08:01 AM

Nice tutorial, I didn't even know that existed :^:
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#3 aj32  Icon User is offline

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Posted 22 July 2008 - 11:10 AM

lol, I used to use that, I found it because I was messing around with all the windows dll files in system32! :P
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#4 jagatworld  Icon User is offline

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 01:48 AM

Toooo good.

Lots of thanks...... I too, never expected this hidden and undocumented tool of Windows.......

thanks a lot.
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#5 Moonbat  Icon User is offline

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 09:09 PM

I had no idea something like this came with Windows, thanks a bunch! :D
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#6 sandy41  Icon User is offline

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 11:41 PM

hi... sorry for the first reply.

I have created DB setup project using IExpress tool, I have 64 bit windows 7 machine. If I try to run setup file on 32bit machine EX/Win7 its giving me error as not supported file.
Can you please guide me how I can create setup file which will be used for both 32 bit as well as 64 bit?
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