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Distribution

P: n/a
Ok, perhaps incorrectly posted this as deployment before and got no responses.
Perhaps, DISTRIBUTION was the term I was looking for. I've been trolling
through the threads and most seem to point out the problems not the solutions
to wanting to do this with a little cynicism from the Pro's to the wannabe's.
;o)

To date I have mainly built small one off databases and a few split network
solutions (mde FE & mdb BE). I would like to start learning how to take
create deployable for users beyond my network. I would appreciate your
thoughts and guidance as to the design considerations I should apply. Perhaps
most significantly I am wondering how at a later date I distribute an upgrade?
Anway from what I've gathered so far:

1) I need Visual Studio Tools for Office for Access Runtime and to create the
MSI file (checked ebay for alternative older tools but sadly lacking).
2) I then get a little confused with lots of talks about Installshield,
SageKey, Install2go .... but which and why?
3) Digital Signatures - required or not required?
4) Much talk of issues regarding Office and Access versions - does the above
software not solve these?
5) References to Office libraries (e.g. Word) causing problems?
6) I split my databases but is there anything to be gained in making the BE
an mde?
7) Aside from the Runtime limitations what other considerations should I give
to my design.

It's obviously a very big topic and I guess I could do with a little hand
holding as I walk the learning curve. Without getting you to spoon feed me,
what should be my first step and what should I be looking to achieve?

As always any help/guidance appreciated. Many thanks.

(P.S. Or should I just start building FE's in VS?!)

--
Darren

Message posted via AccessMonster.com
http://www.accessmonster.com/Uwe/For...ccess/200608/1

Aug 25 '06 #1
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5 Replies


P: n/a

darren via AccessMonster.com wrote:
1) I need Visual Studio Tools for Office for Access Runtime and to create the
MSI file (checked ebay for alternative older tools but sadly lacking).
Yup.
2) I then get a little confused with lots of talks about Installshield, SageKey,
Install2go .... but which and why?
No opinion here, but some sort of tool to create the script for Windows
Installer so everything is installed as intended will be needed.
3) Digital Signatures - required or not required?
IMHO--required. Users get suspicious of unsigned code.
4) Much talk of issues regarding Office and Access versions - does the above
software not solve these?
Underneath the hood are the object libraries that Access & Office use
to run your code. Wrong versions of the libraries--buggy & unstable
code resulting in unhappy clients. You need to ensure your install
script packages the right versions of the object libraries used by your
application.

5) References to Office libraries (e.g. Word) causing problems?
Very, very possible--see above.
6) I split my databases but is there anything to be gained in making the BE
an mde?
With a little effort to create a splash screen you can lock out prying
eyes so they can't see your schema/data without authenticating first.
7) Aside from the Runtime limitations what other considerations should I give
to my design.
I ain't got all day, so in one sentence I'd offer this: ensure that
analysis & reporting is elegant. These days an elegant data entry
interface is nice but not interesting (IMHO). Good reports, though,
that's where the money lies.
Darren

Message posted via AccessMonster.com
http://www.accessmonster.com/Uwe/For...ccess/200608/1
Aug 25 '06 #2

P: n/a
"darren via AccessMonster.com" wrote
1) I need Visual Studio Tools for Office for
Access Runtime and to create the MSI file
(checked ebay for alternative older tools but
sadly lacking).
A quick check showed at least one copy of the Developer Edition of Office 97
and Office 2002. There are other sources than eBay, of course.
2) I then get a little confused with lots of talks about Installshield,
SageKey, Install2go .... but which and why?
Because experienced developers have found that the additional investment
saves them a lot of difficulties... the authors of these products have done
some "heavy lifting" that the Packaging and Distribution Wizard does not do.
3) Digital Signatures - required or not required?
Optional. A good idea if you are distributing to people with whom you don't
already have a business relationship -- it gives them a "warm feeling."
4) Much talk of issues regarding Office and Access
versions - does the above software not solve these?
Dunno... what particular issues? But, see above re: third-party installers
and scripts. This is one area where they are very useful.
5) References to Office libraries (e.g. Word) causing problems?
Yes, this can cause problems. You need to make certain you have reference
only to the libraries actually needed. In most, but not all, applications
the only ones _required_ are those included in the runtime and
re-distributable with it. As there is no runtime for Word or Excel, you are
dependent on the user having those installed, if you use functionality that
requires them.
6) I split my databases but is there anything
to be gained in making the BE an mde?
No, not a thing.
7) Aside from the Runtime limitations what
other considerations should I give
to my design.
Test all, repeat ALL, functions that you think a user might reasonably
expect to be able to use in your runtime application. You may be surprised
at some which are considered "design time" features (like the Linked Table
Manager).
(P.S. Or should I just start building FE's in VS?!)
Not unless time and energy wasted are unimportant to you, or unless you need
a web user interface to your DB. Oh, yes, this might be a good approach if
you have latent masochistic tendencies -- the learning curve is steep, and
once you learn it, it will still take many times the time/effort that
creating the application in Access will take.
Aug 26 '06 #3

P: n/a
Many thanks Larry / knogeek for taking the time for feedback what is
obviously a big topic. I've tried reading up but most books get vague past
deployment and talk as though there is already a familiarity with the whole
install technology. So, final points (for now):

1) Access Dev 97 - will this packaging / runtime work for an ACC2003 db? I
figured I would need at least a developer edition >= the db format?

2) Some people talk of InstallShied AND SageKey but I can't quite grasp what
each does for me. Needless to say both sites don't talk much of requiring
each other. I think Installshield is meant to do a better job of the install
for me and allow customisation but where does SageKey fit in?

(Glad I can give VS FE a miss for now)

Thanks & Regards

Darren

--
Darren

Message posted via http://www.accessmonster.com

Aug 29 '06 #4

P: n/a
"darren via AccessMonster.com" <u11419@uwewrote
Many thanks Larry
You are welcome.
1) Access Dev 97 - will this packaging / runtime work
for an ACC2003 db? I figured I would need at least a
developer edition >= the db format?
No. It stands to reason that support software released in 1997 would be
blissfully unaware of later versions/releases/file formats. And, that is
true. Each runttime is version-specific.
2) Some people talk of InstallShied AND
SageKey but I can't quite grasp what each
does for me. Needless to say both sites don't
talk much of requiring each other. I think
Installshield is meant to do a better job of the
install for me and allow customisation
You are correct - that is the intent. Another popular third-party installer
is Wise, and there are some less-popular ones, too. At one time, some years
ago, I evaluated InstallShield and Wise for a client, and at that time, I
rated the comparison as "a draw," but there have been several new versions
of both since then.
but where does SageKey fit in?
SageKey produces and sells "scripts" which work with installers. Many
believe they save you a lot of time and effort. (And, having watched a
colleague write scripts for custom installations using an earlier version of
Wise Installer, I can believe it.)

The drawback, of course, is that the third-party products are an extra
expense. Many say that it is cost-justified if you consider the learning and
implementation time required to create a smooth, stable installation package
with just the Access Packaging and Distribution Wizard. But, just a
reminder, you have to purchase the Devloper Edition (Office XP and earlier)
or the Visual Studio Tools for Office 2003 System (Office 2003 System) to
obtain the runtime itself and the license to distribute it -- the
third-party tools do not include the runtime nor the license.

Larry Linson
Microsoft Access MVP
Aug 29 '06 #5

P: n/a
Thanks Larry, I've ordered the VST demo so I can start to get to grips with
this and increase my understanding. I'll also try and obtain demos of the
others. I have a little funding so will most likely make the investment in
VST, Installshield, and the likes.

--
Darren

Message posted via http://www.accessmonster.com

Aug 30 '06 #6

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