Macrovision updates software-packaging app

Macrovision this week is upgrading its AdminStudio software-packaging application, which the company acquired when it bought InstallShield in July.

Available on Wednesday, AdminStudio 6 handles application packaging steps prior to large-scale deployments in an enterprise, Macrovision said. These steps include conflict resolution, patches, updates, pre-deployment testing, and overall packaging and installation, the company said.

“This is for system administrators who are going to be packaging up applications for use within their organizations,” said Steve Schmidt, director of product management at Macrovision. The product enables software to be deployed to hundreds of thousands of desktops, Schmidt said.

The Professional Edition of Version 6 features a more linear process for pre-deployment testing, to ensure applications are running properly prior to deployment. This is done through a process assistant that walks the user through the process and a start page to access the process assistant.

Also featured is improved integration with application deployment tools such as Microsoft SMS 2003, ZENworks, LANdesk and Tivoli. AdminStudio can allow users to configure scheduling, for example, through SMS.

The product also converts InstallScript MSI (Microsoft Installer) formats into a pure MSI installation. MSI is a standard for enterprise installations and its usage provides benefits of automation and reliability, according to Macrovision. InstallScript is a programming language featured in InstallShield authoring tools.

A user of AdminStudio expressed optimism that the new links to system management products could enable a more fully automated deployment directly to SMS. “Right now, it’s a semi-automated process,” said the user, Brad Peterson, a system engineer and consultant now working on IT systems at McDonalds.

AdminStudio is being used for repackaging of applications to function with MSI, which provides for automated repairing of functions such as registries, Peterson said. Citing what he termed a shortcoming in AdminStudio and other products, he did express a desire to see a software packaging products address the issue of access control lists and assigning permissions. “Right now the only option you have is to blow away and replace the ACL,” he said.

AdminStudio 6 is available in Standard and Professional editions, with the Professional Edition featuring conflict resolution and testing, such as file or registry conflicts. An example of such a conflict would be two applications seeking to install a DLL with the same name.

The Professional Edition has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of US$3,999. Previous owners can upgrade for US$1,499. The Standard Edition costs US$1,699, with an upgrade price of US$699.

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