Customising Bandit

I finished packaging RSS Bandit for deployment internally. This is just the application with no embedded feeds. I blogged here about how I would handle merging required feeds for various groups into Bandit. I configured Bandit on a machine so that it was exactly as I wanted it, including the size of the application window, updates set to manual etc.

There are two files, held in the Application Data\RSSBandit folder of the users profile, that control these settings and preferences. They called .settings.xml and .preferences.xml – the latter contains settings chosen in the Tools | Options dialog box, whilst the former is things about the application. Taking these two files, and an empty subscriptions.xml file, I cleaned them up a bit, taking out anything that didn’t look necessary, but didn’t break the appliation, and put them in a transform.

I then removed the desktop shortcut and put on in the users Startup folder so that Bandit would launch on start. Lastly I added a couple of registry keys that register Bandit as the default feed reader so the user doesn’t get prompted.

It was in these last two item that I found some odd behaviour. Fistly, Bandit won’t just start into the System tray – there is a -t switch to make it do this – but the window appears briefly on screen before minimizing into the tray. To ‘hide’ this annoying flashing window I set the startup shortcut to start Bandit minimized and with -t, so Bandit flashes on the task bar, which is acceptable.

The second annoyance was presetting Bandit as the default feed reader. It was easy to find the reg keys for this and pop them in the transform. However, the tool I use (Wise Package Studio) substitutes part of the path with a property. This is good, because if Bandit were installed to a non-default path the registry entries would be correct. However, when Bandit compares the registry setting with what it should be to determine if it is the default (before prompting) it does a case sensitive comparison. The MSI property has a lower case drive letter, Bandit expects an upper case one! So I wrote a small bit of VBScript embedded in the MSI to read the registry value, change the first character to upper case and write it back. Then everything worked fine.

So, I have my standard reader installer, although it’s not an official standard. I have my server built, just need to migrate content. And I need to get people to come and use it. Lots achieved, Lots to do.

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