I'm looking for some advice (and links if necessary) on how to package a VB.Net application that requires also installing Crystal Reports and SQL Server on the clients machine. Is the VS package and deployment utility enough or do I need to use a 3rd party like Installwise or Installshield?
My current deployment project errors if Crystal Reports isn't already installed on the target machine. I have to manually run the CR installation and then restart my application installation. I would like the install to check for and install CR automatically as needed.
Also, SQL Express has to be installed manually, I would also like my install to check for and install SQL Express as necessary.
Finally, the SQL Express install takes quite a long time and is more difficult than most end-users can handle on their own as it requres instance naming, permission setting, running scripts etc. I'm sure this can be configured to make it easier on the end user, but I don't know how. Is there a smaller easier to install version of SQL that would work for a back end but is capable of addressing the permissions and script running issues?
In short, I want to know if I can have a single setup.exe that will install my app, CR and SQL (with configuration settings) that is simple enough for any end user to install themselves.
Thank you for your help.