Leigh, I would encourage you to keep checking back on the WiX toolset. While the WiX v2 toolset does have a fairly steep learning curve, we're doing work in WiX v3 to reduce the learning curve. You can see our first couple experiments in
You can also see how the WiX toolset is showing up as the platform for other tools to create their installation packages. I expect this trend will grow such that you'll may end up using the WiX toolset and not even know it. Well, I think that'd be cool.
Justin is continuing to work on Votive (which is the Visual Studio integration package that is a part of the WiX toolset) and improve it... including more IDE-like features. I'm sure he'd love help to speed the development of IDE-like features should you care
to join him. <smile/>
Like many of you, I'd like to see a solution in the platform but until then we're building technologies in the WiX toolset to enable many of the scenarios people describe above. Also note that the WiX toolset is Open Source so if you want to see how it is
done or contribute to the cause, you're welcome to join the