Setup Factory for Windows Installer

July 9, 2007 at 2:19 am | Posted in Deployment, Windows Installer, WiX | 2 Comments

Indigo Rose has released version 1.1.1004 of Setup Factory For Windows Installer.

Setup Factory is a deployment development tool that creates windows installer packages based on the WiX technology. It is similar to the WixAware product but provides more of a wizard type feel. It provides a simply interface but does not have an inbuilt XML editor like WixAware.

I briefly tested the previous version but it did not provide support for web site deployment projects and merge modules which I required for my applications. The new version does not provide IIS web site support. You still have to manually edit the WiX scripts to create web sites and virtual directories within IIS.

One of the great benefits of Setup Factory is that by default it creates WiX scripts as separate fragment files. For example, there is a WiX fragment for the UI dialogs, common parts, and a fragment for the files to be deployed. Having separate fragments provides easier maintenance of the scripts especially when editing in Notepad.

The major improvements for this version are:

  • Creation of Merge Modules
  • Supports WiX 3

For all the changes see the readme.

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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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