Wixaware 2.0 Beta

June 26, 2007 at 5:52 am | Posted in Deployment, Visual Studio, Windows Installer, WiX | 1 Comment

InstallAware has just released a beta version for their upcoming 2.0 release. This release contains some anticipated bug fixes and support for external fragment and include files.

WixAware is a front end GUI for building Windows Installer XML (WiX) scripts. It’s not just a visual XML editor like other ones I have seen. It speeds up the process by providing templates for deployment projects, merge modules, and patch setups.

I have been trialling Wixaware 1.1 for a few weeks to help speed up the development of our WiX projects. Version 1.1 was quite buggy but Version 2.0 seems to have most of the querks worked out.

I’ve created deployment projects in WiX that deploy the following application types

  • ASP.NET Web Sites
  • ASP.NET Web Services
  • C# Windows applications with COM registration of .NET and VB6
  • Command line / Windows UI tools.

The WiX scripts have been integrated into the continuous integration build process.

I still have to manually edit the WiX script to customize the way my installers work. Wixaware provides both a UI view with tree views, lists etc as well as the XML view.  Vesion 2.0 now supports fragment and include files so I can move all of the UI parts and common properties into a separate file.

I’m still not fully convinced that WiX is the way to go – it seems a lot of steep learning just to produce a deployment project. Even with GUI editors, there is still much one needs to know to build WiX deployment packages. I have been building deployment projects on and off since 2000 with Visual Studio Deployment projects (MSI), Inno Setup and Wix/Wixware (MSI). Are MSI installers really that good and efficient for developers to build?

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Glenn is blogging

June 26, 2007 at 12:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Glenn has jumped on the bandwagon and started a blog. He leaving the office and traveling around Australia with his family for 6 months.

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TFS – Cloaking Folder bindings

June 25, 2007 at 11:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cloaking folders is a useful feature of TFS Workspace management. It allows you to specify what folders not to bring down when you perform a Get Latest. This is particularly useful when having multiple branches in the one TFS project.  This is also very useful for continuous build servers as only the required code line is brought down.

For example:

The following TFS project structure is one recommendation as part of the TFS Branching Guidance document.

$/ProjectSite
    /trunk/…
    /branches/…

When I start for the day, I normally perform a Get Latest at the Project Site level. Because I have cloaked the branches folder, the Get Latest command only brings down source code from the “trunk” folder.

An alternative to cloaking, is to manually bind every sub folder in your project.

To activate cloaking:

  1. From Visual Studio, open the Workspace Manager
  2. Select the workspace
  3. Add a new binding pointing to the folder you wish to cloak.
  4. Set the status of the binding to “Cloaked”.

This can also be achieved from the command line utility.

In the Beginning…

June 8, 2007 at 8:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Friday afternoon and I have had a very hectic week of scripting WiX for a major installer at work. I was chatting to Grant Holliday and he told me I should create a blog and add my solution for custom actions. Well hold on a sec… Which blog site should I use? What blogging software should I use? Well Grant replied in two seconds with www.wordpress.com and Live Writer Beta 2. Another 4.5 minutes later I was all signed up. So thanks Grant. Now I will have to spend time updating this…

Now what presentation theme do I choise?

I’m off to the Whitsunday’s tomorrow for a week and I still have to pack, so unfortunately my very first post will be light on. There will be more posts to come so stay tuned.

One more thing – a quick intro. My name is David Jansen and I’m a .NET developer based in Canberra. I’m currently contracting and I prefer the flexibility that contracting provides. I’ve been working in the IT industry since Dec 1999 where I was a Delphi 4 developer. A lot has happened since then… to be continued…

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