Before you can use any new software you have to install it of course. Coming from a background of the old days of Business Objects I’m fully aware of what a nightmare this can be when it comes to BI applications.
So it is extremely important in this modern world that the installation process is straightforward and seamless. This is especially true of an application that is marketing itself to a wide range of end users.
A large organisation may have dedicated teams to handle the approval and implementation of software but a one man band or small company will not have the same resources available so will be looking for new software to install with pretty much the click of a button.
So how does Flynet DataConnect install? Very well, as it happens. The install wizard is straight forward and automates the whole installation smoothly.
My machine is running on 64-bit Windows 7 and the wizard detected this and set the appropriate version itself. Even checking the terms & conditions is a one click operation launching straight into the install without having to ‘ok’. User interaction is kept to a minimum and I like this.
There are a few customisation options – you can change the Installation Path, you can force a 32bit install, and you can install the Demo Data that comes bundled (this is ticked by default).
Once installation is under way the first things it does is check for prerequisites – IIS must be enabled and running along with a number of IIS components, Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 must be installed, ASP.NET 4.0 must also be installed, MS SQL Server Compact 3.5 SP2 also needs to be installed and on 64bit systems both the
32bit & 64bit versions are required.
Now this all sounds a bit convoluted at first glance but fear not, the wizard handles everything for you. If a service or component is not installed or enabled the wizard will sort it out while you sit back and watch.
I have a new build machine and found that none of the prerequisites were in attendence. The wizard went through them one by one and installed everything for me without me having to get involved.
The only caveat to this is on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 and Windows XP machines where some manual steps are required to install the prerequisites. But nobody runs on those ancient versions anymore, right?
When all the prerequisites have been installed (or checked if you already have them) the wizard moves onto the main DataConnect software which installed quickly for me.
Following this the demo database is set up and you are presented with a screen to enter your Organisation Name and License Key (a trial key is available on registering at the Flynet website).
Finally your user is set up and all the necessary services are started.
You are asked to click ‘Ok’ and the DataConnect Designer starts up automatically. You’re in and free to start creating new data web services for your dashboards.
In summary the installation of Flynet DataConnect is refreshingly simple and straightforward. My personal experience was one of minimal interaction, the wizard handled everything itself. Given the fact that I had none of the prerequisites installed I find this quite impressive, traditionally being used to horrendous issues when laying the foundations of a new BI application. Yes BusinessObjects I’m looking at you.
I will look at the newly installed Flynet DataConnect Designer application in more detail in the next post.