Using Advanced Installer

I’ve long used Caphyon’s Advanced Installer when distributing all the freeware I’ve written over the years. It’s really easy to use and their Freeware Edition has everything you need to create and deploy simple projects. It will install your executables and support files into a subfolder of C:\Program Files, create Registry entries, create Desktop shortcuts, and optionally tidy all of that up when someone uninstalls your application.

But my needs for WinBIND were a little more complex. WinBIND has a Windows service as well as a regular GUI application. It’s the Windows service that sits in the background, processing the BIND query logs every ten minutes and uploading them to a Microsoft SQL Server. Windows Service management is included in all of the paid editions of Advanced Installer but it’s not available in the freeware edition. So when issuing new builds of WinBIND I was faced with the prospect of somehow telling people to stop the Windows service before upgrading, then start it again afterwards. That’s not a great user experience.

What I didn’t know until recently was that Caphyon offer a free Advanced Installer license for Open Source software developers. I contacted Caphyon and explained that I was offering WinBIND as freeware to the Windows BIND community, and asked if they would be kind enough to grant me a licence for their Professional Edition. Within 24 hours I had my answer – I was offered a free licence for the Professional Edition with 12-months support.

The Professional Edition gives me an easy way to upgrade the Windows service part of WinBIND whenever I release a new version. Advanced Installer takes care of it all – it stops the service, puts the new executable in place, and then starts the service again. Simple and elegant, with no extra code required from me to handle all this.

I was really impressed with Caphyon’s generosity. They didn’t require anything in return for the free licence. They asked if I would be kind enough to link back to their home page in return, but they also said “if this would be against your project policies then please don’t worry”.

Naturally I said that I would be more than happy to link back to them, and in fact I also said that I’d write a quick post highlighting the benefits of Advanced Installer as I see them, and why I’ve been gratefully using the Freeware edition of their software for more than ten years. I did try other tools when I knew that WinBIND was going to need a Windows service component but none of them were as intuitive or easy to use as Advanced Installer.

If you’re a professional developer writing software for a living then I strongly recommend you take a look at Caphyon’s Advanced Installer if you haven’t previously come across it. If the Freeware edition works for you then that’s great, but if you need more advanced features then you can try one of the paid-for versions for free for 30 days before making-up your mind.

It’s thanks to the generosity of Caphyon that I’m able to continue to offer WinBIND as free software to the Windows BIND community. Thanks guys!

Richard Neal, March 2021.