Application lists

InstallPad loads a file named applist.xml that resides in the same folder as the InstallPad executable. Applist.xml contains a list of applications that can be downloaded and installed. InstallPad is most useful when you customize this file to include your own applications.

In addition to the default applist.xml that comes with InstallPad, you can download an application list of open source programs, which include Azureus, Firefox, Gaim, Inkscape, Open Office, Synergy, Tortoise SVN, WinSCP, and XviD.

To select another applist.xml to use, you can open install and click the "open an application list" link (or hit ctrl+O), or you can select which file you want to use via the /f command line switch.

Editing the application list

You can edit the list of applications simply by right clicking on one of them seleting "edit." You can add and remove applications as well.

InstallPad supports http, ftp, and file:// urls. Here are some examples:

  • http://winscp.net/download/winscp381setup.exe
  • ftp://ftp.icq.com/pub/ICQ_Win95_98_NT4/ICQ_5/icq5_1_setup.exe
  • file:///c:/myFolder/myFile.exe
  • file://///networkMachine/sharedFolder/file.exe

Editing applist.xml by hand

Editing applist.xml by hand is usually faster than through the InstallPad user interface, and some options are only available by editing the XML file itself. Applist.xml can be edited with Notepad or any text editor. Here is an example application list demonstrating the structure:

<ApplicationList>
  <InstallationOptions>
    <SilentInstall/>
  </InstallationOptions>

  <Application>
    <Name>Gaim</Name>
    <FileUrl>http://superb-west.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/gaim/gaim-1.5.0.exe</FileUrl>

    <Options>
      <DownloadLatestVersion/>
    </Options>

  </Application>

</ApplicationList>

The best way to customize an application list by hand is to modify the applist.xml that comes with InstallPad.

Available application list options

Currently, there are only a few possibilities for options in applist.xml. They are as follows:

Installation Options

<InstallationOptions>

  Try and install all programs silently
  <SilentInstall/>

  Download at most 3 files at once
  <SimultaneousDownloads>3</SimultaneousDownloads> 

</InstallationOptions>

Application Options

<Application>
  <Name>Application name</Name>
  <FileUrl>application url. FTP is not currently supported</FileUrl>

  <Options>

    Download latest version, if possible
    <DownloadLatestVersion/>

    Attempt to install silently (no dialogs/questions)
    <SilentInstall/>

    Pass command line arguments to the installer
    <InstallerArguments>/s /c</InstallerArguments>

    Run a script after the installer exits
    <PostInstallScript> C:\scripts\removeDesktopShortcuts.bat </PostInstallScript>

    Alternate location to try in case the first one fails. Many <AlternateFileUrl> tags can be used for a single application 
    <AlternateFileUrl> http://mymirror.com/file.exe </AlternateFileUrl>

    Whether the item is checked by default
    <Checked>false</Checked>

    Folder to extract the zip to (if item is a zip file). Overrides location in the user's preferences
    <InstallationRoot> C:\Program files\</InstallationRoot >

            
  </Options>

</Application>

Both <InstallationOptions> and <Options> can be omitted.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does <DownloadLatestVersion/> work?

InstallPad parses the url string of <FileUrl>, tries to infer what the program's version is from the url, and then increments the version (both major and minor numbers), until the server returns file not found. This works for urls with well defined versions in them, like synergy. For example, Synergy's url looks like this:

http://superb-west.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/synergy2/SynergyInstaller-1.2.0.exe

InstallPad would try 1.2.0, 1.3.0, and then 1.3.1 (which is the latest version). This can only work with URLs that have some version information in them; InstallPad does not maintain a central online database, nor is it omniscient, and cannot therefore find the latest version of a program any other way.

How does <SilentInstall/> work?

Providing the silent install option cues InstallPad to include a few extra command line arguments to the installer program. By default, it uses the arguments "/S -s", which work for the majority of installers (InstallShield and the Nullsoft Installer System). Some applications are special cased, like Firefox, which requires -ms for a silent install. If your application requires different arguments to install silently, <SilentInstall/> will not work out of the box. Instead, you should find out what arguments are required to make the install run silent, and provide them via <InstallerArguments>.

Note that some installers simply cannot be run silently.