You've written your AutoLisp and VBA routines, you've set up your Block
Libraries and your Custom Partial Menu is now complete. Everything has been
tested but now you hit another snag. You'd like to distribute your custom
application to other drawing officers, or maybe you have 50 machines in your
office that you would like to install it on but you have one big problem.
Having to set up each individual machine is a real pain. There are
directories to be created, support paths to be added, menu's to be loaded,
etc, etc. And if you are distributing it outside the office, you now have to
try and put your setup into words that can be clearly understood by the poor
guy on the other end.
In this tutorial we are going
to have a look at automating the whole process. We are going to make use of
two remarkable software applications that will make this a breeze, namely "Inno
Setup" and "Acad Install".
will be used to install our required support files, and "Acad
Install" will do the job of configuring AutoCAD for us, all with a
lovely user interface.
Firstly though, we have a bit
of forward planning to do before we start compiling our Custom Application
All your programs, menu's,
etc. must be fully tested and free of errors. Test them on as many operating
systems and AutoCAD versions as possible to ensure they are bug free.
Create a dedicated folder,
with sub-folders for your application. The example we will be using here
looks like this :
This is a very simple
directory structure with only three sub-folders. You can though, create as
many as you wish to suit your needs. Oh, before I forget, all your files
need to be placed within these folders AND, now this is important, if you
want to install a partial menu, this MUST reside in the root folder. eg.
Now we need to download some
software. Pop along to both of these sites and download the latest version
of "Inno Setup" and "Acad Install".
Jordan Russell's Software -
Don't worry, they are both
Once you've download both
applications install "Inno Setup" first.
Then install "Acad Install" to any directory of your
choosing OTHER THAN your Application folder. Now, from this directory, copy "ACADINST.EXE"
and "ACADINST.INI" to the root folder of your Application eg.
afralisp2004_install. Do not copy "ACADINST.CHM"
as we do not want to include this in our compiled setup file.
In fact, now is maybe a good
time to have a wee read of the "Inno Setup" and the "Acad
Install" help files to familiarise yourself with the software and
give yourself a basic understanding of what we are doing.
As you have probably noticed
when installing other software, during installation certain pages such as a
License notice or a ReadMe notice appear. Well now we need to create 3 files
to go along with our installation application - A License Notice, a Warning
Notice and a Config Notice. You can use plain old Notepad for this task,
saving them as straight forward TXT files. This is what our example files
License Notice :
AfraLisp AutoCAD 2004 Custom Menu
Except where otherwise noted, all of the documentation
and software included in the AfraLisp AutoCAD 2004 Custom
Menu package is copyrighted by AfraLisp.
Copyright (C) 2003 AfraLisp. All rights reserved.
Be it hereby known that all the functions, programs and
applications contained in this here menu system, together
with but not excluding all those other parts and utterances
thereunto, shall not be warranted against all defects,
failures and malfunctions as shall occur between now and
Thursday afternoon shortly before 2:00 am, during which
time AfraLisp will maybe, at no charge to you or the other
person who complained before you, send the culprit application
to our Programmers, who will emerge from their caves and engage
in rituals designed to cleanse the menu system of evil spirits.
This warranty does not cover attractive blonde females (not male)
who may happen to use this menu system or whatever you would like
to call it.
Please respect the intellectual rights of others, or we will hunt
you down and do nasty things to you!!!
Warning Notice :
Please close all Windows applications, ESPECIALLY any Autodesk
software applications (AUTOCAD, MECHANICAL DESKTOP, etc.)
before proceeding with installation.
If you have these applications open during the installation
process, the software will not install or function properly.
And our Config Notice :
AfraLisp AutoCAD 2004 Custom Menu
AutoCAD has automatically been configured for the AfraLisp
2004 Custom Menu. The installer has performed the following
configuration tasks :
1) Added the required folders to your AutoCAD Support Path.
2) Added the AfraLisp AutoCAD 2004 Custom Menu to your menu bar,
and installed any applicable Toolbars.
3) Created a new AfraLisp Profile and made it current.
4) Created an icon on your desktop which will start AutoCAD
with the appropriate profile.
Okay, that seems to be everything ready.
Let's just have a quick look at what our root folder looks like and the
files therein :
Notice my Afralisp.mnu, AfraLisp.dll
and AcadDoc.lsp are within this folder!!
Okay, now let's create our Setup Script.
See you on the next page........