Friday, June 3, 2005 11:26 PM jerdenn

My Wix Journey - Day 3 @ 10:54pm EDT

I had planned a post on how to extract Installshield Dialogs from an existing setup, for use with WiX, but I'll have to postpone that entry.  I had an unscheduled event take up most of my day.

Instead, I'll answer a few WiX questions that have been asked recently:

1. What is WiX?
A: WiX is "Windows Installer XML", a tool for creating Windows Installer setups through declarative XML markup.

2. WiX is pretty new.  Is it robust enough for my installation?
A: WiX has been used internally in Microsoft for quite some time.  Many teams in Microsoft have dumped Installshield in favor of WiX, including SQL Server, Microsoft Office, and MSN.  I sincerely doubt that your installation is more complicated than setup for Microsoft Office.

3. What about support?  I can buy commercial support from InstallShield, but not for WiX?
A: I've been monitoring the WiX-Users mailing list for several months now, and even sent my first question yesterday.  Questions are anwered promptly, and often by the author of that feature. (Try getting a software engineer on the phone from InstallShield!)  My question was answered within a couple of hours.
If you really insist on purchasing support for every product you work with, then there are several companies available that will sell support for Open Source Software.

4. Where do I get information about WiX?
A: Well, after downloading the software, I'd suggest that you head directly to Gabor DEAK JAHN's tutorial.  This document is considered the defacto starting point for working with WiX.  After reading the tutorial, you may find that the WiX.chm help file makes a decent reference. (I don't think so, personally.  The WiX documentation could use some improvement.  Specifically, the Schema section has no associated usage examples.  This is one area where WiX could learn something from nAnt.)
Also, subscribe to the WiX-Users mailing list several weeks before starting a WiX project.  There are some pretty interesting discussions on "Best Practices" with WiX.  This stuff isn't in the docs, in in a bunch of people's heads.  In fact, it might pay off to go spend a half day reading the mailing list archives after spending time with the tutorial.

5. I still want more WiX info!
Sure - a non-inclusive list:
http://blogs.msdn.com/robmen
http://strangelights.com/blog/category/7.aspx
http://www.ondotnet.com/pub/a/dotnet/2004/04/19/wix.html
http://blogs.wdevs.com/neilco/archive/2005/01/04/1744.aspx
http://gauss.dynalias.net/blog/ExtendingWiX.aspx


 

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