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by Tony Goodhew - GUI Computing

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What do old C programmers do when they run out of pointers? Well, I guess they get WISE.

WISE has to be the coolest piece of install software around - it really does make the whole task very easy. (I still shudder when I think of the MS Setup Toolkit under C++ 7.0... argh, almost as bad as Delta). There was a product review by John Mina in the October '95 AVDF.

I was developing some software recently that required Win32 APIs. It was also targeted for Win3.x, which meant that I had to have Win32s on the client's machine. Easy, I thought, I'll just ask Wise to ensure that it's there. Wise however doesn't let you detect Win32s directly - so I had to find a workaround.

And here it is... just look for the Win32s version number. If Win32s isn't installed Wise will return a NULL. Below is what the WISE code looks like. You'll notice that I read the Win32s version into the variable ISWIN32S.

  If System Doesn't Have Windows NT or 95 Running Start Block
    Get System Information into ISWIN32S
    If ISWIN32S Equals "" then
      Display Message "Requires Win32s"
      Allow Floppy Disk Change / Close Install File
      Display Message "Insert Disk 1 of Win32s"
      Execute %INST%\SETUP.EXE  (Maximized)
      Exit Installation
    End Block
  End Block

The 'IF' line tests if Win32s is installed.

The inner routine solved another problem I found with WISE. If Win32s was not installed, I then wanted the user to place the setup disk into the drive - and the setup program would install Win32s. Yet every time I ran this I got the message "Could not execute program". As it transpires you need to have the "Allow Floppy Disk Change" line in, which tells WISE that some bugger is going to half-inch its disk.

You must then ensure - and this is the tricky bit - that the program you are launching is not the same name as the WISE setup file. This may mean that you need to call your file "INSTALL.EXE", which is all I did.

That's all I have found in WISE so far - I've checked with WISE support and they agree on the solutions. I'd be interested to hear anything you guys had to say about WISE, you can email me at :

I'll leave you with a parting comment:

"There are two ways of constructing a software design:
One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies,
and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies."

- C. A. R. Hoare

Written by: Tony Goodhew
April 96

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