WiX: A Developer's Guide to Windows Installer XML

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  • Install, start, stop, and uninstall Windows Services at the time of setup
  • Make your project more modular with Fragments, ComponentRefs, and ComponentGroups
  • Learn tips for installing special types of files such as font files and how to optimize copying speed
  • Prevent users from installing your software on unsupported operating systems and introduce other pre-requisite checks
  • Gain an understanding of the order in which events happen during an install and how to add your own actions to this sequence
  • Build a customized user interface that meets the unique requirements of your project
  • Understand how WiX builds and links your files into the final MSI package and how to control this process
  • Read and write to the Windows Registry with XML
  • Build various language-specific installers without duplicating large amounts of code
  • Create rules for checking for and removing older versions of your software or to patch existing files

WiX is an open source project and a toolset that builds Windows installation packages from XML source code. WiX, which is used internally by Microsoft and by many companies around the World, simplifies many of the installation tasks that used to be shrouded in mystery. The tool set provides a command-line environment that you can integrate into your old-style build processes or you can use the newer technology from inside integrated development environments to build your setup packages. You'll find that you understand your installer better, can create it in less time, and save money in the process. No one really wants to devote a lifetime to understanding how to create a hassle-free installer for any software.

This hands-on guide takes the mystery out of Windows Installer by showing how simple XML elements can be leveraged to create a sophisticated install package. By relying on Microsoft standards, you'll be able to use features like Property elements to customize your application's entry in Add/Remove Programs, the Shortcut element to create Start menu shortcuts, and other specialized elements for building upgrade and patch support and more.

This book will show you the fundamental ingredients needed to build a professional-grade installer using Windows Installer XML. The initial chapters will introduce you to the set of required elements necessary to build a simple installer. We'll then explore those basic elements in more detail and see how best to use them in the real world.In the ensuing chapters, you'll move on to learn about adding conditions that alter what the user can install, then how to add actions to the install sequence and how to author a user interface. We'll move on to advanced topics such as editing data in the Windows Registry, installing a Windows service, and building your project from the command line. Finally, you'll learn to localize your package for different languages and detect older versions during upgrades. Each chapter uses to-the-point examples to illustrate the best way to use the language.

  • Package your software into a single-file, double-click MSI for easy installation
  • Read and write to the Windows Registry and create, start, and stop Windows Services during installation
  • Write .NET code that performs specific tasks during installation via custom actions
  • Learn how the WiX command-line tools work to build and link your project
  • Become proficient with to-the-point examples and real-world advice
Page Count 348
Course Length 10 hours 26 minutes
ISBN 9781849513722
Date Of Publication 17 Oct 2010


Nick Ramirez

Nick Ramirez is a software developer living in Columbus, Ohio. As a believer that deployment shouldn't be terrifying, he has become a big fan of technologies such as WiX. His other related interests include build automation, software architecture, and playing Minecraft. Nick lives with his wife and two cats.