InstallAnywhere 2009 Looks to Smooth Java App Installs

Software installations are notoriously fickle. Incompatible runtimes, missing drivers, non-existent libraries, and other common situations conspire to reject new programs on a fairly regular basis, causing time and productivity loss for the customer and a backlash against the software developer. Acresso, the software startup that owns the InstallShield franchise, last week unveiled a new release of the multiplatform version of the product, called InstallAnywhere 2009, that aims to thwart installation imps, particularly in Java environments.

Acresso was formed on April 1, 2008, following the acquisition of the business software unit of Macrovision by Thoma Cressey Bravo, the private equity firm that has driven many acquisitions in the IT industry over the last several years. Macrovision, in turn, had acquired the original InstallShield company, which was based in Schaumburg, Illinois, back in 2004.

The InstallShield products are designed to streamline the software installation process and reduce the risk of corruption during the software de-installation process. Previously, InstallShield was offered in a regular edition that ran on Windows, and a MultiPlatform edition (which was originally called InstallShield for Java) that supported OS/400, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Mac OS, and Windows operating systems.

Macrovision changed that lineup with the introduction of InstallAnywhere, the follow-on product for InstallShileld MultiPlatform customers. Today, InstallShield targets only Windows, while the cross-platform InstallAnywhere product works with OS/400 and other platforms.

InstallAnywhere offer benefits to software developers and end users. For developers, the product eliminates the process of writing, testing, and maintaining installers for each platform's specialized packaging process, saving time and money. The software also helps users by providing a familiar graphical user interface and a standard sequence of events, eliminating a potentially confusing manual process using shells, command lines, and other techniques.

Acresso has added a number of new benefits with the 2009 version of InstallAnywhere. For starters, the software improves the installation of Java software by automatically searching and detecting existing Java runtime environments. Customers run the risk of destabilizing a machine or application by loading a new Java runtime when an older Java runtime has already been installed.

The release also introduces new APIs aimed at improving the automation and the capability to customize instillations for software developers. The APIs allow developers to programmatically manage important aspects of working with InstallAnywhere, including creating, editing, and building installation projects. They also let developers build more flexibility into the actual installation process.

Roger Bottum, senior vice president of marketing for Acresso Software, which is still based in Schaumburg, says the new version builds on nearly 30 years of experience at InstallShield, Macrovision, and now Acresso.

"In this tough economic climate, as software producers are looking to reduce their costs and those translated to their customers, InstallAnywhere 2009 can help not only decrease development time, but can create higher quality installations," he says. "With 35 percent of support calls related to installation-related issues, by improving installation reliability, InstallAnywhere can help reduce technical support costs and improve customer satisfaction."

InstallAnywhere is available in standard and enterprise editions. The enterprise edition is designed for developers requiring advanced tooling to create customized installations across a large number of diverse operating platforms and languages (it supports 31 languages), while the standard edition (which supports nine languages) is designed for developers facing less complex environments. via itjungle

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