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Wise Install Studio replacement

Created: 02 Jan 2014 • Updated: 02 Jan 2014 | 4 comments

Has anyone gone from Wise Install Studio to something else and just loved it?  I'm now in the process of finding something to replace it with.  I started looking in to the install projects built into Visual Studio 2010, but have since read they discontinued that in 2012 and forward.  They all recommended WIX.  That's a total switch from what we were used to with the GUI design of Wise.  Has anyone found a replacement they like?  Have you tried WIX, Flexera, Install Shield or anything else?  I like the idea of WIX because it's free, but I'd have to rewrite everything we have from the ground up.  Also I hear the learning curve is pretty big, but that once people have learned it they never look back.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



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EdT's picture

To some degree it depends on what sort of packaging you are doing. If you have been using Wise Installation Studio, would it be fair to assume that you are packaging software that you or your company have developed, rather than repackaging existing software?

If that is the case, then WIX would certainly be a good way to go, despite the learning curve, as it is indeed free. Frankly, any new tool you use would have a pretty steep learning curve, and the traditional tools such as the Flexera Installshield product are both expensive to buy and also to keep updated.  Wise also had the macro language which was great for automating regular processes in packaging, whereas to my knowledge non of the other commercial packages offered this flexibility. With WIX you retain the ability to really customise your installs to suit your needs, as it's not a "one size fits all" product.

However, if there is a lack of detailed understanding in your company of the inner workings of MSI packages, the learning curve may be steeper than you want to consider, and therefore getting a commercial product may reduce your overall switching costs.  The best way forward is to download evaluations of the products and give them a spin.

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pbishop's picture


Thanks for getting back to me.  Yes we are writing installs for software that we have created.  I looked at WIX a bit yesterday and my first thought was WOW no GUI to use at all.  That part alone was pretty scary.  I'm sure there are sample XML files that I can use that have generic screens progessing from one to the next.  That learning curve alone I think will be huge.  I think that's what we will end up with because of it being free.



MichaelSx's picture

Another solution is to use Visual Installer from SamLogic Software:

Then you will have a GUI again.

Visual Installer is not free, but it is quite cheap compared to many other installation tools. And it is easy to use and learn. However, it is not well-suited for complex projects. But it is perfect for small and medium size projects.

pbishop's picture

I have still been looking around and haven't seen that one yet.  Have you ever heard of InstallMate 9?  It's pretty cheap also.  Only 89 per developer and 249 per developer will get you 2 hours of tech support.

Has anyone heard or tried that?