O'Reilly logo

Practical Development Environments by Matthew B. Doar

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Packaging Formats

A released product usually consists of many files, all of which need to be carefully installed in different places on each customer's machine. An appropriate file format for this collection of files has to be chosen for the released package of a product. Sometimes simply unpacking a collection of files is enough for the customer to use the product. For instance, when a product is distributed as source code, a customer unpacks the source files and then follows the build and installation instructions that are part of the package. This section describes some of the packaging formats used to release software.

For most products, simply extracting the files from a package is not nearly enough for a complete installation. Other steps in a successful installation may include running other programs, running tests on the customers' machines, and preserving existing data and configuration settings. The unpacking of files and each of the other steps could be done, one at a time, by the customer. However, it's often more convenient to run a single installation program and have it perform all of the different steps. Installation Tools, later in this chapter, describes some tools that can produce such installation programs, or installers.

Tip

How an installation program actually packages a product's files is mostly irrelevant to the customer, though many installers do use one of the packaging formats described in this section. When you click on setup.exe for a Windows installer, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required