By Ken Hilker
Windows 8 provides a completely reimagined application experience through a new, modern user interface. Initially known as "Metro," Microsoft has recently settled on calling these "Windows Store Apps." Part of this new experience limits application installations to a small number of trusted authorities; most commonly the Windows Store. For enterprise-class applications the Windows Store may not always be the optimal distribution method, in fact, many companies prevent employees from installing applications on company computers and may choose to restrict access to the Windows Store altogether. InstallShield 2012 Spring Premier Service Pack 1 adds the ability to package and deliver Windows Store applications as an InstallShield Suite/Advanced UI setup.
Who should author setups for their Windows 8 applications, rather than deliver through the Windows Store?
Line of Business Application Developers
Those developing Windows 8 line of business applications will rarely want to add their app to a public app store. Once your Windows 8 line of business application has been created with Visual Studio 2012, InstallShield can quickly package your app in a format ready for distribution by your IT team.
Application producers that support enterprise-class licensing
Application producers with enterprise solutions often sell their products for use by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of users within a single company. The Windows Store can offer your applications to only a single Windows 8 user at a time and is limited to apps under $1000 USD. Selling through volume discounts, site licenses, or high value solutions will require an installation solution outside of the Windows Store.
Application producers whose customers rely on Enterprise Software Distribution systems
Once your enterprise customers have purchased your product, they will need to deploy it throughout the appropriate areas of their business. Using InstallShield to develop the installation for your Windows 8 application ensures that you are providing your customers with installation experience they know and trust to be compatible with every major enterprise software distribution system.
Software Developers that want to bundle multiple applications
Windows 8 comes with two editions of Internet Explorer 10; the traditional desktop edition and a touch-friendly Metro-fied version. Unfortunately, Microsoft has not provided an installation mechanism to support software vendors that want to do the same. The Windows Store can deliver only individual applications with a single Start Screen tile. InstallShield can bundle up multiple Windows Store applications or combine desktop apps and Windows Store apps together into a single installer.
Let us know in the comments if you plan on releasing Windows Store apps for your enterprise customers and come back soon for a step-by-step walk-through on how to create InstallShield Suite/Advanced UI setups for Windows Store applications.