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The fabulous Utilikey

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MakeSIS overview and issues

In an attempt to standardise how we developers package our applications (to minimise confusion at the user end - especially for novices), I wanted to lay down a few steps which we can hopefully all follow as closely as possible. If you have something to add to these notes, please mail me! Thanks.

  • Put a brief description of the program and your installation instructions in a plain text file called README.TXT. Make sure each line is properly terminated with carriage returns and line feeds.

  • Put your 'manual'-type instructions in the online help, accessed in the usual Data/Help way (see notes on my OPL/32 page), using a filename ending in .HLP

  • Use Psion's command line MAKESIS tool to package up the application and resource files. The tool is available from Symbian's EPOC World via their freebie SDKs. Using MAKESIS involves writing a .PKG control script saying where each file should go on the user's machine and specifying version and language information etc. Use double-digits (e.g. 5.20 for v5.2, as otherwise EPOC Install will call your app v5.02....). Here's an example PKG script (part of the file for my Piano application). Note that the hyphens are part of the line and that to fit the page width here I had to break all the main lines into two:
    #{"Piano"},(0x10000001),2,50,0
    "\psion\Steve\backup\a1\system\apps\piano\piano.app"-
               "!:\system\apps\piano\piano.app"
    "\psion\Steve\backup\a1\system\apps\piano\piano.aif"-
               "!:\system\apps\piano\piano.aif"
    "\psion\Steve\backup\a1\system\apps\piano\piano.hlp"-
               "!:\system\apps\piano\piano.hlp"
    "\psion\Steve\backup\a1\system\apps\piano\fascia.mbm"-
               "!:\system\apps\piano\fascia.mbm"
    

    We've also put together a detailed MAKESIS tutorial.

  • Put required OPXs in separate SIS files, so that the user can install just the ones needed, and also to stop removal of your application deleting OPXs that other programs may still need.

  • ZIP the README.TXT and the SIS files already mentioned into a single .ZIP file, making sure that you don't include folder/directory information. Include the version number somehow in the ZIP file name, as otherwise you risk newer versions of your application being ignored or overwritten by CD-ROM compilers and librarians.

  • Make Psion's INSTEXE.EXE installer available on your web site for the user to grab if he or she needs to. The need for this should lessen over time as more users start to use either Message Suite or PsiWin 2.1 and thus have the correct software already.

Watch this space for more musings and info as I think of them....

Steve Litchfield

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