Posts: 6470
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 am

Populate CheckList / ComboBox / ListBox controls with values received from a custom script

Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:26 pm

Hello guys,

Question: How can we populate a CheckList / ComboBox / ListBox control with values received from a custom script?

Particular scenario: How can we get all the available drives and show them as checkboxes in a custom dialog?

License required: Enterprise or above!

Here, we will focus on the particular question. With that as a starting point, I believe it will be much easier for you to achieve this in your own custom scenario.

For scenarios like this one, PowerShell is my go-to language. However, please feel free to use any other custom action type, such as: VBScript, JScript, C# executable/.DLL or a C++ executable/.DLL

Let's get this started!

First of all, in order to get a list of all drives on a machine, the "Get-PSDrive" cmdlet can be used. This cmdlet returns something similar to this:
getpsdrive.png (32.74KiB)Viewed 136808 times

From that, we would like to further parse the content and get only the root letters (e.g. A:\) when the Provider property is of "FileSystem" type. To do so, we can use the following:

Code: Select all

$drives = Get-PSDrive -PSProvider FileSystem | Select Root
getpsdrive_extended.png (16.22KiB)Viewed 136808 times

As it can be seen in the above screenshot, we save the return value of our cmdlet in a variable called $drives, which is an array.

Now, the rest of our script will be related to populating a CheckList / ComboBox / ListBox control. For more information about this, please refer to our "Working with Windows Installer ComboBox and ListBox controls" which explains how this can be achieved. Populating a CheckList control is identical to populating a ListBox control.

Short explanation:

Let's consider we have a dialog with a CheckList control in it:
checklist.png (108.72KiB)Viewed 136808 times

As any other control, this dialog has a property assigned to it - in our case "CHECKLIST_1_PROP". In order to populate it, we will need to do the following:

1. Set the AI_LISTBOX_DATA property to the following:

Code: Select all

CHECKLIST_1_PROP|Value 1|Value 2|Value 3|...
2. Use the predefined "Populate ListBox" custom action

For more information about this, please refer to the above linked article.

While developing the script, I have commented every line of it, therefore I will no longer explain it here. Here is the script:

Code: Select all

# Block for declaring the script parameters.

# Your code goes here.

# Get the drives by their root property and save them into a variable

$drives = Get-PSDrive -PSProvider FileSystem | Select Root

# The result is an array of elements. We will have to browse it and create a string composed of the array elements,
# separated by a pipe character ("|")

for($i = 0; $i -lt $drives.Count; $i++){

$temp = -join ($drives[$i].Root,'|')

# Creating a string containing the elements of the array separated by a pipe

$new += $temp

# For instance, on my machine, the $new variable looks like this: A:\|C:\|D:\|

# As it can be seen, one more pipe character is added at the end of the string. We will have to remove that


# Here, we will replace the "\" from our path with "\\". We need to escape the "\" character
# with another "\", otherwise the "PopulateListBox" cutsom action will ignore it (this is most probably
# a limitation of our "PopulateListBox" custom action)

$final = $new.Replace("\","\\")

# The AI_LISTBOX_DATA must be set like this: CHECKLIST_1_PROP|Value 1|Value 2| Value 3|...

# We will concatenate our strings in order to obtain that form.

$conc = -join("CHECKLIST_1_PROP|",$final.Substring(0,$final.Length-2))

# Setting the AI_LISTBOX_DATA property as discussed above

AI_SetMsiProperty AI_LISTBOX_DATA $conc

How to implement this in Advanced Installer:

1. First, we will need to add the custom actions. To do so, please go to "Custom Actions" page and add the following custom actions, without sequence (press the "Add custom action without sequence" button which is placed to the right side of the custom action's name):
  • PowerShellScriptInline
  • PopulateListBox

In the inline script, please copy the script's content provided above.

2. Now, it is time to execute our custom actions. We have specifically added them as custom actions without sequence so we can trigger them as dialog events. We will execute them when our custom dialog is initialized - meaning we will add the custom actions as "Init Events". To do so, please go to "Dialogs" page and add add two events as it follows:

  • Event: Execute custom action
    Argument: PowerShellScriptInline
    Condition: leave unchanged

  • Event: Execute custom action
    Argument: PopulateListBox
    Condition: leave unchanged

checklist_events.png (122.02KiB)Viewed 136803 times

This way, the events will be triggered when our custom dialog will be initialized.

Additionally, for your reference, you can find attached to this thread a .AIP file which you can download, build & run on your machine:

Hope this helps!

Best regards,
Catalin Gheorghe - Advanced Installer Team
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Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2023 8:05 am

Re: Populate CheckList / ComboBox / ListBox controls with values received from a custom script

Wed Sep 13, 2023 8:45 am

Hi Catalin,
Great example of how to use the combo and list box features.! Thank you!

Please can you advise how i can modify this example to show additional properties based on the value selected in the combo box.
In my example project (attached).

The combo box in my example lists certificates install on the machine. When selecting a certificate from the combo box list, on the same dialog page, i want to show some properties of the selected certificate like 'expiry date' and 'Self signed'. And if the certificate selection is changed in the combo list, the properties being displayed should also.

Thanks for your help
Populate CheckList control with values from PSScript.aip
Includes 'GetCerts' custom action
(38.46KiB)Downloaded 165 times
Combo box - list certificates
AdvInstaller-certlist.png (113.2KiB)Viewed 24750 times
Selected Certificate - show additional properties
AdvInstaller-certlist-withprops.png (61.95KiB)Viewed 24750 times

Posts: 6470
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:49 am

Re: Populate CheckList / ComboBox / ListBox controls with values received from a custom script

Tue Sep 19, 2023 1:04 pm

Hello and welcome to our forums,

First of all, thank you for your kind words!

I am glad to hear my article was of help for you.

From what I can see, you have an ongoing thread with one of my colleagues over the email.

If possible, please continue the thread there so we don't have more people working on the same ticket.

Thank you for your understanding!

Best regards,
Catalin Gheorghe - Advanced Installer Team
Follow us: Twitter - Facebook - YouTube

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