Application Packaging helps manage large numbers of software applications for desktops and servers effectively and reduces the total cost of ownership of applications for organisations, along with providing various other benefits, including application and operating system stability, self-repair and rollback features. It is a method preferred by larger organisations in order to maintain a large number of machines to a standard build and avoid conflicts between applications/configurations, in order to keep support costs low. Packaging applications enables system administrators to carry out unattended automatic application deployment, along with the required configurations, to reduce errors during installations and avoid application incompatibility issues, thereby saving time and effort.
Benefits of Application Packaging
Following are a few of the benefits that MSI packaging and Windows Installer technology:
- Applications can be customised according to business needs. Transform files can be used to modify vendor supplied MSIs to comply with company standards.
- MSI package format is the standard to interface with the Windows Installer technology.
Unattended, silent installation and uninstallation can be performed and can also be deployed to a variety of desktops in various sites.
- The ‘advertise’ feature allows the application to be offered to the user without being actually installed. Instead, the application’s icons appear and when the user decides to run the application, it is installed in a Just In Time fashion.
If there is a failure during installation, the ‘Rollback’ feature will undo all the changes made by the package and brings the system back to its previous state.
- The Self-repair feature of the Windows Installer reinstalls the missing critical files (for example: a .dll or .exe file) and registry keys, if they are corrupt or deleted, this helps reduce the application down time.
Windows installer eliminates the administrative privilege requirement for installations.
Packages can be managed using the MSIEXEC command line tool.
- Minor/major upgrades to the applications can be done with relative ease, along with controlling automatic upgrade download.
- VBScripts can be used to perform custom actions which could be helpful in manipulating MSI files during installation as well as pre and post installation stages.
Application Packaging Quality Assurance Testing
At e-testing, we offer both on and off site MSI Package Quality Assurance testing, carried out by skilled individuals, with a good deal of experience of the packaging process, as well as software testing. This service ensures that all packaged applications conform to industry / company standards and adhere to best practices. Tools such as Wise Package Studio, AdminStudio and Orca are used along with Quality Center to QA packaged applications on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista platforms, including heavily locked down environments, that are replicated in our test lab.
The Quality Assurance testing includes checking the integrity of the packages in the following ways:
- Install/uninstall/rollback and repair checks
- Checking the MSI database for redundant data
- Shortcut configuration
- Keypath/entry-point checks
- Checking and verifying conflicts against the conflict management database
- Validation checks
- Files/registry/component checks
- Checking individual transforms for any client-specific customisations, including Custom Actions
QA testing also includes smoke testing, minor/major upgrade checks, patch deployment, retesting and regression testing.
Please contact us to hear more about the benefits of outsourced application packaging QA – we operate on a fixed, low cost per application model. e-testing would be happy to provide references and case studies on request.