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Do we still need an Installer for Data Products?

  • 1.  Do we still need an Installer for Data Products?

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 16 days ago

    StreetPro is one of the few data products we currently supply with an installer.  A few years ago we evolved from individual installers included in each product to a single global installer that could:

    • Be pointed at any StreetPro Display or StreetPro Classic individual zipfile or multiple product zipfiles
    • Provide an interface to allow customers to choose what to install and where
    • Would set up the data in Spectrum Spatial

    The Software and data marketplace makes it a lot easier to manage data product installations as you can now see a list of your products and pick which ones to download and install on demand.  If you want to automate the download and install process we provide an SDK for doing that easily. 

    So, I'm wondering if we really need an installer for any of our data products any longer.

    I've already had some client feedback around installers so it's time to outline the case

    The case against data product installers

    • Designed for desktop users, so doesn't allow for easy automated installation on servers
    • We have an SDK so you can download and install your data anyway you like it automatically
    • Overkill because we are only installing data not software so no customisation or integration with other software is usually needed
    • Compatibility issues – some installers won't run on Unix or iOS
    • Some firewalls block installer executables
    • We no longer deploy data on DVD so no autorun necessary
    • Loader tools can be supplied separately for those customers who still wish to use them
    • Inconsistent customer experience as very few datasets are delivered with an installer, most products come as zipfiles.


    The case for data product installers

    • Customers may still expect to have an executable to run
    • Allows easy set-up of the data to run in Spectrum Spatial
    • Allows correct folder structures to be set up and maintained
    • Catalogue functionality allows customers to choose and install only the files they want
    • Allows simple uninstall of data or overwrite of the data


    Have I missed any Pros and Cons here?

    How was your experience of using our installers?

    Do you think data product installers are still relevant and useful?

    Daniel Edwards
    Product Manager, Location Intelligence Data
    Pitney Bowes Software Ltd

  • 2.  RE: Do we still need an Installer for Data Products?

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 8 days ago
    Hi Dan - That's a solid list of pros and cons.  I generally come in on the side of no for data product installers.  However, in the case of some very complex data products, or if you want things specially set up for a specific targeted use/product (ex. Spectrum Spatial) I can definitely see the benefit.  I don't think this is necessarily a one-solution-fits all kind of issue.

    Cecily Herzig
    Maitland FL

  • 3.  RE: Do we still need an Installer for Data Products?

    Pitney Bowes
    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Dan
    Your list of Pros and Cons is pretty good. The other Con may be additional data storage, often zipped files, then installer and then the loaded data - but data storage isn't generally much of an issue.
    In my experience the loaders don't add considerable additional benefit for most users, however I agree single desktop use and the management of updated data is very valid. However this type of use and need has reduced considerably in past years. For installers to be of value these days they would have to run in all operating environments and export selected data in the selected datum into a broad list of environments, including all common databases and spatial formats. Even then security protocols and custom field name conversions etc undertaken by many customers would still limit applicability and as such value to the user.

    Gerry Stanley
    Pitney Bowes Australia Pty Ltd
    Macquarie Park