PowerBASIC Information Center Tutorials
These tutorials were written to help you get a quick, but thorough, understanding of PowerBASIC -
the scope of the language as well as it's specific capabilities.
Distributing an Application
Once you have the program written, how do you deliver it to users? You'll need
to include the Help file, data files, resource files, and any other custom files
that your program depends on.
Almost always, a single installation file is provided to users - either ZIP or EXE - which
contains all the files needed to run the program.
Many programmers use this approach, where the user is required to create a folder
and unzip all the files into that folder, then create a shortcut as needed to run
the executable application (EXE). It's a very simple approach that works well, but
many users prefer a bit more automation.
Windows XP has a built-in ability to create zip files, plus there are many freeware
and commercial applications that provide more features. PKZip is perhaps the
most popular commercial package. I own PKZip but more often use the freeware tool
integrates into the Windows Explorer tool for convenience in selecting and zipping files.
Another unique advantage of .ZIP installation files is that many companies do not
allow their employees to download EXE files. This many sites offer a ZIP installation
file to support users in such situations. Often, the ZIP file simply contains the
EXE installation file.
Users typically prefer this approach, where the EXE not only contains the files
needed for the application, but also contains a short program that will create
the folder, shortcuts, and complete other tasks users have come to expect from
an installation file. With this approach, the user does not have to perform
any tasks except answer the questions asked by the installation software.
Application Distribution Tools
PowerBASIC does not come with a built-in tool for creating installation files,
EXE or ZIP. This is not surprising with its emphasis on creating standalone
applications which do not need runtime files distributed along with the EXE.
Fortunately there are a large number of freeware and commercial applications available to
pick from. The freeware tools available are more than adequate for most programmer's
needs. I personally use Inno Setup
for creating a distribution file. It's easy to use, has lots of features, and has been
around for a long time.
In addition to Inno Setup, here are several other freeware installation programs that
can create your installation files.
If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know.