Combo meal edition: Double cheese pontification, crybaby sauce, and a side order of rant fries.


  1. Do NOT repackage unless you absolutely HAVE TO.
  2. If you actually do have a need to repackage, try to produce an MSI package.  And if you crank out an MSI, please fill out all of the properties.
  3. Read this:
  4. Read this too:
  5. If you don’t know how to do it: SEARCH, ASK, READ, LISTEN
  6. Don’t knee jerk. Ask yourself what the BEST solution is for EVERY request.
  7. BE CONSISTENT with EVERYTHING: methods, tools, documentation, naming, version numbering, storage locations, all of it.  Being consistent does not mean change is bad, but analyze the change and when you decide to do it, make it stick.
  8. If you don’t have time to do it the right way, don’t even bother. Grab your keys and head out right now.  I’ll explain it to your boss.
  9. If the installer package you produce requires the target users to have local administrator rights, or that the client firewall be entirely disabled: you have FAILED miserably.  Go back and start over, or cover yourself in lunch meat and visit an alligator ranch.
  10. If the product absolutely cannot work without users having full admin rights, or the firewall turned off, or it cannot install silently by any means, contact the vendor for help.  If the vendor won’t help, find another product.  If you can’t find another product, make one.  If you can’t make one, hire someone who can.

And that’s not all… (pull-starting the rant engine now)

If you’re thinking “I can’t afford to hire a programmer to make this thing“, maybe you need to do the math to be sure.  While the full-on 1990’s approach to large-scale in-house development groups isn’t as common in 2017, there can easily be a comfortable balance when the need exists.

  • How much time do you spend making adjustments for half-baked, crappy-installer products over a year? That includes “tinkering” and “messing around” on your own time, as well as phone calls, emails, to the vendor and colleagues, user groups, trying to get help.
  • How many people are involved in making those adjustments?
  • How much do they cost per hour to make those adjustments?
  • What other tasks are those people NOT working on, while they’re busy making those adjustments?
  • Is your business important enough to put a little more effort behind getting your applications done the right way?  If not: then why not?
  • Why are YOU doing the work that the vendor should have been doing?
  • Why are YOU still paying that lazy vendor for unfinished products?

Think of this another way…

  • What if you had dinner at a particular restaurant every week, and every time they brought you a partially-prepared meal, such as half-boiled pasta and uncooked meat?  And then they told you that if you wanted it fully cooked, to get your own pan, water, and stove and finish cooking it all yourself.  But don’t expect a discount on the price either.
  • Would you still keep going back to eat there?
  • That’s only a $20-$30 meal (on average, at most)
  • So, why would you do this with products that charge you thousands of dollars?

Maybe you hate your employer, which isn’t uncommon these days.  But if you like your job and/or your employer, and you put up with inept software packaging by vendors, ask yourself, why?  At least try contacting the vendor(s) to see what they can do.

Of the several dozen I’ve reached out to, about 50% were helpful in making their product install silently, and with less effort.  About 40% dragged their feet and did nothing.  10% were either unresponsive or complete arrogant bastards that should be lowered into a turbo-charged woodchipper, feet-first.  But otherwise, those aren’t terrible odds for getting help.

I feel better already! 🙂


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