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Creating an AppExchange custom app installer?

I am creating an AppExchange app which requires the user to follow a lengthy installation guide, adding new fields to page layouts, buttons, and setting up some security settings.   I am looking to automate these steps to make the installation as quick and painless as possible.


Is this something that can be accomplished via the API?  Can I add fields and buttons to page layouts via the API?  Or does anyone have a better idea of how to accomplish this?