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Ready to Launch

Greg Lambert
March 25, 2023
2 minutes

I wanted to take a little time this week to talk about some of the “unsung” automation features in the Readiness automation platform.

One of the things that happens after a while (like, after a few years of development) is that then one someone “presses a button” and a package just appears (a fully validated, tested and documented one at that) you forget just how many things are working behind the scenes.

When one of our trainers was helping a partner understand our “Manual Modification Tuner” (our transform or MST file generator, I thought I should share just how much was happening behind the “Launch” button.

Let me set the scene.

Some aspects of application packaging, particularly tuning existing MSI Installer packages is needlessly complex, hard and error prone. When using other tools (with so much less cloudy automation) making a simple registry change or (gasp) adding/updating a file requires the following MANUAL steps:

  1. Prepare a suitable system (usually a virtual machine)
  2. Install the MSI using any existing MSTs
  3. Take a system “snapshot” which actually means:
    1. find a tool that describes the differences in the file system
    2. find (another) tool that shows you the changes in the registry
  4. Make the necessary changes (adding/update registry keys or files) (e.g. Accept EULA, disable automatic updates)
  5. Take a  (second) comparison system “snapshot”
  6. Pause for breath.

Using your years (maybe decades) of Windows system level experience to determine which files and what registry settings are relevant and should be included in the resultant transform.

  1. Find an expensive packaging tool (any guesses?) and (struggle to) make the changes in the UI
  2. Check the result against an exclusion list (just in case)
  3. Create the transform (MST file)
  4. Validate the results and resolve any errors
  5. Manually run the install sequence (test run)
  6. Then  you have to prepare another (test machine)
  7. Deploy the test package to the clean test machine
  8. Then you have to test the results
  9. Now complete the QA document (ha! so easily said)

It’s a lot of steps – when done manually.
The MST or MSI Installer transform generation process requires some time, skill (and therefore training) and the appropriate infrastructure.

Or, you could just select an application in Readiness and press the Launch button.

Greg Lambert

CEO, Product Evangelist
Greg Lambert is the CEO and product evangelist for Application Readiness Inc. Greg is a co-founder of ChangeBASE and has considerable experience with application packaging technology and its deployment.

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