Tech Off Thread

6 posts

Anyone use WiX?

Back to Forum: Tech Off
  • User profile image
    darklotus

    I am trying to put to use Microsoft's Open Source WiX . I am trying to figure things out, which is not very easy. I am able to get the files to the right directory. That i finally got to work, now i need to add an shortcut with an icon to the Startup group so the app starts when windows loads up. How do i do this or where can i go to find info?

    Also, a quick question, how do i get the UI to display, after following the tutorial that comes with WiX i am only getting a status box, no UI components.
    Thanks
    -dL

  • User profile image
    robert

    Yes, I use wix, I have to admit it's not the easiest tool in the world, but it does give you a fair bit of flexiblity.

    I have an example of how to place a short cut on the users desktop on my blog here.

    My top tips are for using wix are:
    Use virtual pc to test you're deployments, that way you can use undo disk and start with a clean image each time.
    Always install msi's using msiexec -lv* log.txt -i my.msi, because the logging info gives you alot of insight into how to do things. It is partically useful for working out the syntax for well known directories.
    Use orca (part of the windows platform sdk installer section). This has a very useful validation feature
    Use dark to reverse engineer msi to look at how other people do things.

  • User profile image
    robmen

    The WiX toolset does have a very steep learning curve.  It has historically been expected that you read and understood the Windows Installer SDK before attempting to use the toolset.  That SDK has a steep learning curve as well, so getting started with WiX is currently taxing.

    Our primary focus thus far has been to ensure the core tools (candle, light, lit) cover the Windows Installer feature set fully and work properly.  Only recently have we started getting mostly stable (although I know there are people out there that would argue with me <smile/>).

    After the toolset reaches a solid state, I personally will turn my attention to improving the documentation while I hope others continue to improve the secondary tools like dark and tallow.

    In the meantime, there is a small (but I hope growing) community of developers on the wix-users@lists.sourceforge.net mailing list that answer questions.  That mailing list is also archived at http://wix.sourceforge.net and I think you can find the answer to your first couple questions in the archive.  Adding UI is just mostly annoying and is high on my list of needs for a tutorial.

    Hopefully, this bit of information helps and you can find the answers to your other questions on the mailing lists described above.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    Anyone use WixTool (http://sourceforge.net/projects/wixtool/) - Windows GUI for WIX? Any contact between the two groups?

  • User profile image
    robmen

    I have looked at the tool, and it is the only project (of 3 or 4!) that seems to have any code.  There isn't any direct interaction between the two teams at the moment.  The WiX schema seems to be enough. 

    I hope the tool (or some other tool) grows into a truly useful UI.  I have never had interest in trying to create a UI for WiX.  Personally, I'd rather just use VisualStudio's XML editor or notepad2 for my editing.  It's just faster for me... and VisualStudio's tab-completion is pretty sweet.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    Notepad2 is probably one of the best notepad replacement programs. It has had a lot of good reviews (mostly via blogs). As it's under the GPL, anyone could do a port of it (as long as it is under GPL as well) - so you could even get a Notepad3. I wonder if anyone has written a bad review?

    WiX integration with the next Visual Studio (via a add-on) will probably be very useful as well.

Comments closed

Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.