Installing Third-Party Software

If your application depends on third-party software (for example, a database library or a system update), you might want to install it along with the rest of your application. In many cases, the vendor provides instructions about which files you should redistribute and how to install them. If that is the case, you can add them to your InstallMate project just like any other files.

However, sometimes all you can or are allowed to do is to redistribute a self-contained, self-installing package. This gives you less control over the overall installation process, but you can still use InstallMate's Setup program to co-ordinate the installation of the external package along with the rest of your application.

Tip - It is possible to use InstallMate to create shortcuts to files installed by a third-party installer. See Installing Shortcuts for details about the steps involved. If you do so, be sure to run the external package's action before the CreateShortcuts standard action; see step 6 below.

How to install an external package with InstallMate

To install one or more self-installing external packages along with your regular InstallMate distribution package, act as follows for each external package.

  1. Decide where to put the external package's distribution file with respect to your own distribution package. In most cases, it is most convenient to put the external package on the same media and in the same folder (or a subfolder or sibling folder thereof) as your distribution package proper. Alternatively, simply add the external package as another installation file to the InstallMate project, possibly in a special Temp folder that you create off the main installation folder.
  2. In your InstallMate project, go to the Actions project page and select the MainInstall action sequence.
  3. Right-click on the MainInstall node or in the actions list to display its context menu, then choose New Action > Run Program from the menu.
  4. InstallMate creates the new Run Program action at the bottom of the list. In the Run Program attributes pane, set the following options:

    • Action name - Any unique name. It will not be visible to the user.
    • Description - Enter any descriptive title. InstallMate's Setup program displays this title on the Installation Progress setup page while the action is being run.
    • Installed path - Enter the path to the self-installing external package. In most cases, this will be a path relative to the main Setup package; use the <SourceDir> variable for the root, then add the relative path and the file name. For example, you might use <SourceDir>\DAO36.exe to install DAO 3.6 if it's being distributed in the same folder as the distribution package of the main Setup package.
    • Start in - Enter the initial working folder for the package, or leave blank for the folder that contains the external package.
    • Arguments - Enter any command line arguments that the external package requires. Note that you should quote each argument that contains spaces, including arguments with symbolic variables such as <ProgramFilesFolder> that contain spaces after expansion.
    • Prompt - Check this box and enter an appropriate prompt text if you want InstallMate to query the customer for permission before running the external program. Clear the box if you always want to run the external program.
    • Platforms... - As appropriate.
    • Show - Should usually be set to Normal.
    • Timeout (sec) - Check this box to suspend the main installation process until the external package has finished; clear it to run the external package in the background. If the external package requires user interaction, you should check this box; InstallMate will then hide itself so the customer only has to deal with one package at a time. Set a generous time out period, particularly if you know that the external package takes some time to complete. If the external package hasn't finished by the end of the time out period, InstallMate resumes its own business regardless of the external package's result.
    • ShellExecute - Clear this box for executable programs.

    Consult the Run Program attributes documentation for other options.

  5. Move the newly created action to its proper position in the list of actions, using the toolbar buttons or by pressing Ctrl+Down and Ctrl+Up. If it is an installed file, it must come after the InstallFiles standard action; else it can be at any point between the StartProcessing and EndProcessing actions.