Tool Upgrade

We upgraded almost all our development tools in this latest change cycle. This is nice for developers. We like to use recent versions of the toolsets. This is a nightmare for developers. When you change multiple tools at once, it is hard to identify which change was the cause for any given bug.

Here are the tools we changed during this pass. Moved up to the Oracle 11g client. Upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. Jumped up to Installshield version 18. Also grabbed a recent copy of the Objective Toolkit. Ouch. Everything is changing.

The first pain was that the new Installshield was so much newer than our ancient copy, we had to write the install scripts from scratch. That was a quick weekend hack that just did not work. I spent a lot of time reverse engineering the pieces of the install that were missing from our rewrite.

Next we had some pain from Visual Studio. Installing the runtimes was not as simple as dropping some DLLs in our application directory. Turns out we either need to run the Microsoft installer, or use the support supplied from Installshield. Growing pains really hurt.

The third party tool upgrade required some work. There was some disturbia initially when the developers could not quickly figure out how to build the third party components. We had to do some due diligence to figure out how to build the darn thing. Once that was solved, we quickly figured out how to use the components and deploy the minimal set of third party runtimes.

I am just happy that I only spent about a month or so dealing with all the upgrade problems. Another developer took over and spent an additional month or two working through the problems.