Friday, April 22, 2005

PalmSource installer 1.5 released

PalmSource released a new version of its over-the-air installer yesterday. It supports an array of new features-here is a short overview:

  • Self-extracting EXE creation for simplified Windows install

  • Self-extracting PRC support for Macintosh/Linux installation fallback

  • "Universal" URL supports OTA and desktop from one link

  • "Universal" browser support: IE, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera

  • Installation support for OS selection and Device ID selection (in addition to language and screen resolution)

  • Auto-Run of app after install

  • Simple documentation install (“Installed Packages” Directory)

  • Improved graphics/icons

  • Updated documentation and samples


All these features are a big step towards OTA transfers. Palmsource installer also simplifies desktop installations. Up to now, creating a setup program required use of a setup generator like Innosetup. These are usually limited to Win32 operating systems-Linux and Mac users still need to download seperate PRC files. Now, you can create a single PRC file that handles the components. Missing libraries, wrong install files and other problems should not occur any more-support departments all over the world, rejoice.
This is IMHO the main reason for the program. OTA is still way to expensive, as a megabyte of GPRS data easily costs more than 1€. However, developers already missed a comfortable way to bundle libraries with their programs for quite some time now(see the Tungsten T3 DIA files, the different resolution versions of games, etc). SnapperMail had such a program a year ago or so, but only used it as an antipiracy measure. Now-developers all over the world are expected to use this tool since it is free.
Overall, this is a very nice product-and it is available for free. Developers needing further information should visit these PalmSource pages:
Portal Page
Developer Page
Samples

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