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Author Topic: NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System  (Read 15434 times)

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Mnemonic

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NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« on: June 02, 2003, 01:57:09 PM »

NSIS - http://www.nullsoft.com/free/nsis/

There are 6 things I like about NSIS : it's light, fast, computer friendly, powerfull, opensource and it's improved all the time.

OK, let's talk about NSIS. I was reading the docs recently and I'm considering using NSIS for future distribution of WME DevKit (instead of InnoSetup). Although I like InnoSetup and I still think it's pretty cool, there's one thing that troubles me - the distribution package size. The problem is, there's lot of graphics in the WME DevKit (templates, demos). Some images are duplicated (or even triplicated). What I need is an equivalent of WinRar's "solid" archiving, i.e. all the files are compressed "together", using one compression dictionary. This will reduce the distribution size A LOT. From what I've read in the NSIS documentation, it's capable of this (I didn't test it though; I hope I'm not wrong).
Plus, NSIS installers look cool (just look at the Dreams installation).
Plus, NSIS s quite flexible due to the scripting language (I have to say, though, that I really don't like the language, it's pretty weird ;))
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odnorf

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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2003, 02:06:05 PM »

Quote
have to say, though, that I really don't like the language, it's pretty weird

I have to agree that the language is pretty weird. But as I have said before it has many examples. The installation program I have created in the dreams demo is a combination of 3-4 examples! And I don't even understand the language!

Quote
The problem is, there's lot of graphics in the WME DevKit (templates, demos). Some images are duplicated (or even triplicated). What I need is an equivalent of WinRar's "solid" archiving, i.e. all the files are compressed "together", using one compression dictionary. This will reduce the distribution size A LOT. From what I've read in the NSIS documentation, it's capable of this (I didn't test it though; I hope I'm not wrong).

I don't know what compression algorithm innosetup is using but NSIS can use zlib or bzip2 which have (especially bsip2) very good compression. But as far as I know bzip2 can't use solid archiving. BUT the NSIS team is considering in using the www.7-zip.com in feature releases which support solid archiving AND has GREAT compression ratios. Just compress wme package with 7zip and see the results for yourself.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2003, 02:10:16 PM by odnorf »
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2003, 02:18:42 PM »

I have to agree that the language is pretty weird. But as I have said before it has many examples. The installation program I have created in the dreams demo is a combination of 3-4 examples! And I don't even understand the language!
Maybe one day they'll upgrade NSIS to a real scripting language :) After all, they already have the language ready in WinAmp 3...


I don't know what compression algorithm innosetup is using but NSIS can use zlib or bzip2 which have (especially bsip2) very good compression.
InnoSetup uses zlib. But IMHO the problem isn't the compression method, but rather in the way the files are treated. Normally, each file is compressed individually, with its own compression dictionary, while the so-called "solid" archiving treats all the files as one big lump of data. Therefore if there are multiple similar files, the overall compression ration is much much better. The disadvantage is the decompression. Normally, you can extract individual files immediately, but in solid archive, all the preceding data have to be uncompressed to get to the requested file. Therefore it's suitable for installers (they decompress everything anyway), but it can't be used for example in a game engine :)
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2003, 10:58:06 PM »

Maybe one day they'll upgrade NSIS to a real scripting language :) After all, they already have the language ready in WinAmp 3...

OFF-TOPIC:I don't know what language that is but Winamp3 is a "dead software". It's full of bugs, it's slow and almost nobody uses it. That's the reason that nullsoft has almost stopped developing it. Also that's the reason they implement many of winamp3 main features (media library, video playback etc) in the winamp2.x versions (2.90 & 2.91). From what I know they have abandoned winamp3 and they are going to keep developping 2.xx versions.OFF-TOPIC

Anyway, I don't think that in the next years the NSIS installer is going to change it's scripting language. At least nobody is working on something like that as far as I know. It's not even in the "feature suggestion" list. And it would require a huge redesign of the program.

InnoSetup uses zlib. But IMHO the problem isn't the compression method, but rather in the way the files are treated. Normally, each file is compressed individually, with its own compression dictionary, while the so-called "solid" archiving treats all the files as one big lump of data.

The compression method can be a problem or an advantage. When for example, the NSIS team implement the 7zip compression algorythms in their program I expect it to create way smaller installers than with zlib and bzip2.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2003, 11:14:27 PM »

OFF-TOPIC:I don't know what language that is but Winamp3 is a "dead software".

Just got a new board and odnorf goes off-topic in the very first thread. :)
(Anyway - Winamp3 totally sucks by bugs!)

InnoSetup uses zlib. But IMHO the problem isn't the compression method, but rather in the way the files are treated. Normally, each file is compressed individually, with its own compression dictionary, while the so-called "solid" archiving treats all the files as one big lump of data.
The compression method can be a problem or an advantage.


I'm not sure if you got the point - sorry, if I just misunderstand you don't mind the next part. The compression method does not matter at all as long as the data get compressed file-by-file. Example: 3 times the same picture in 3 different directories. Inno SetUp would compress that 100K picture down to 30K - three times = 90 K. Useful would be to handle all 3 files as ONE big file to archive, this way all three pictures would take only about these 30K.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2003, 11:16:02 PM by Jerrot »
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2003, 11:20:24 PM »

Quote
I'm not sure if you got the point - sorry, if I just misunderstand you don't mind the next part. The compression method does not matter at all as long as the data get compressed file-by-file. Example: 3 times the same picture in 3 different directories. Inno SetUp would compress that 100K picture down to 30K - three times = 90 K. Useful would be to handle all 3 files as ONE big file to archive, this way all three pictures would take only about these 30K.

What I said is that if you used 7zip then one file would be 20kb (random smaller number, 7zip always compressing much better than zlib), so all three would be 60kb. Also 7zip supports solid archives, so the file would be 20kb.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2003, 11:38:41 PM »

Ah sorry, now I understand you... although (hehe):

I'm not sure this is going to work because I don't know, which of the programs - installer or packer library) decides about the final package. If the installer just says "pack that file!" and adds the packed result to it's installer archive, it's no progress at all, even if 7zip COULD do it.

It only works if the installer says "pack all these files and maybe split the final archive!".

As I'm not a "real" coder, I can't tell more about that....
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2003, 11:51:07 PM »

Ah, you spoke about the algorithm to be implemented, I thought of it using it like some DLL. Ok, ok, sorry...  8)

(But anyway - I really don't like to script for some installer. That's why I like Inno Setup + IS-Tool. Lazy jerrot, yeah!)


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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2003, 11:54:38 PM »

(But anyway - I really don't like to script for some installer. That's why I like Inno Setup + IS-Tool. Lazy jerrot, yeah!)

WINDOWS USER REPLY: Who says that you have to script anything? It took me 2 hours to find out how to combine 3-4 different examples and change the graphics!

LINUX USER REPLY: Real man do it the hard way!
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2003, 12:16:17 AM »

OK... let's make this thread on-topic again. :)

At http://www.spaceblue.com/venis/ there is a visual editor for NSIS with syntax hightlighting. And it seems that future versions are going to have some kind of wizards for easy creation of installers.

Ofcourse you should have NSIS installed, because this package is only the visual editor.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2003, 09:12:43 AM »

Great! But does it do anything else than syntax highlighting and compiling at the moment? I didn't find the "function wizard" and the faq says:

Question I do not see any Function Wizards in Venis 2.0.x? Where did it go?
Answer The Function Wizards were added in Venis 1.0.4. They are included to demonstrate a taste of the future development of Venis. Expect this feature to be added with much more power and flexibility.

Huh?  ???
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2003, 10:53:10 AM »

I am afraid that for now the most imortant (?) features are the syntax hightlighting and the compiling without have to drag & drop the script on the compiler's window.

From the FAQ I understand that this was a feature that it was partially (only as a demo) introduced into the old 1.04 version, and it's not yet in the 2.x versions.

Anyway, it's not a must-have tool, but it can be usefull for some people (it is for me!) and it's only 500kb. Maybe with the adittion of some wizards it will be a must-have tool. We'll just have to wait.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2003, 10:50:15 AM »

Venis 2.1 just released but... : 1)It's shareware & 2)It still doesn't have a wizard.

So, I searched and found another GUI for NSIS  that is much better IMO.
You can find it here http://www.geocities.com/hmsoftcr/nisedt.htm

It's free, it has a wizard to create installers very easily, syntax hightlighting for the scripts, a GUI for "installed options file" to create custom installers....etc
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2003, 11:33:37 PM »

Some notes about NSIS:

  • bzip2 mode uses solid compression by default (can be compiled to not use it)
  • NSIS (and probably InnoSetup too) uses a data block optimizer. This optimizer makes sure the same file won't be compressed twice into the data block. Instead, it searches for that file in the data that have already been added and if found, just points to it instead of adding it again.
  • A newer and higher scripting language is planned for NSIS 3
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2003, 11:36:39 AM »

Thanks for the information Kichik  :) (Are you one of the authors of nsis? I am asking this because I have seen your nickname in the the developers list.)

Are there any written plans for the scripting language of NSIS 3, or there are just ideas right now?

I can also add that version 2.0 final will have LZMA support (a LZ variant created by Igor Pavlov, the author of 7zip).

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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #15 on: September 13, 2003, 11:52:25 AM »

Hi KiCHiK, thank you for stopping by,

NSIS (and probably InnoSetup too) uses a data block optimizer. This optimizer makes sure the same file won't be compressed twice into the data block. Instead, it searches for that file in the data that have already been added and if found, just points to it instead of adding it again.

I'm not sure about InnoSetup, see below...


A newer and higher scripting language is planned for NSIS 3

I'm REALLY glad to hear that ;)


I did a little experiment and tried to compress the WME package using various tools (of course, it's not completely fair to compare installers and specialized compression utilities, but still...).
The package consists mainly of executables and BMP images (and a 3MB compressed CHM help file).
I used the solid compression mode in both WinRAR (3.20) and 7-zip (2.30beta32)

Uncompressed38.195.864 bytes
InnoSetup14.208.458 bytes
NSIS zlib10.935.232 bytes
NSIS bzip210.163.711 bytes
WinRAR8.230.820 bytes
7zip7.251.109 bytes

I was surprised there's very little difference between the two NSIS compression modes.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2003, 03:23:17 PM »

Yep, that's me :)

Currently, the newer scripting language and NSIS 3 itself are just an idea. There are no written plans yet.

I can also add that version 2.0 final will have LZMA support (a LZ variant created by Igor Pavlov, the author of 7zip).

Indeed, if everything turns out right you will be able to use LZMA compression in NSIS 2 final.
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Re:NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2003, 04:54:05 PM »

The latest development build of NSIS has LZMA support.  ;)
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Re: NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2005, 03:37:04 PM »

Hi I have not used NSIS but have used INNOSETUP the problem I found with INNOSETUP is that it takes ages for it to install my project.


And while it is even waiting to start the windows cursor is an arrow not an hour glass etc.

My project is 600mb in size but still thought that the initial install screen would come up in seconds rather than minutes?


Anyone else had this issue? any ideas how to overcome this?







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Re: NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2005, 07:50:38 PM »

Hey,

My project is 600mb in size...

No idea about your problem ;), but...
 ::hijack
600 MB??! Whew, what sizes it up, is your project THAT big or are there uncompressed parts like Bitmaps, Movies, WAV files ?

And if not - when will we see a demo?  ;D
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Re: NSIS - Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2011, 09:19:57 AM »

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Slappy
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I create cool-looking Graphical Installers in NSIS http://graphical-installer.com
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