Today's entry is Windows Installer XML (WiX for short), an open source project (the first?) from Microsoft that is used internally by Microsoft development teams for building installers for many of their products.
I first used it more than a year ago when I was at Merrill Lynch. I had to build an installer for a Windows Serivce and I wanted the service to auto-start after installation. I was totally baffled by how to do this in the VS installer projects (is it even possible?) and somehow ended up stumbling across WiX. It worked great 🙂 It was a little rough going because there was so little documentation and Net knowledge regarding usage.
Since then, I haven't really had a reason to look beyond the built in VS installer projects, but I'm working on another complex installer scenario now and decided to check in on WiX again. To my surprise, there still doesn't seem to exist a UI to design WiX installation packages (at least none that I came across via googling).
However, I did find a very well done tutorial.
Of course, Rob Mensching's blog is full of news and developments on WiX.
Rob mentions in his first post on the subject of WiX that:
Internally, teams such as Office, SQL Server, BizTalk, Virtual PC, Instant Messenger, several msn.com properties, and many others use WiX to build their MSI and MSM files today. When someone encounters a bug, the community tracks the issue down and fixes it. Now, via SourceForge.net, you have an opportunity to be a part of the community as well.
I guess it's also good to note that WiX just celebrated it's 2-year OSS status recently.