"Visual Studio 2012 gets rid of “VS Setup” projects. However, the WiX toolset provides a strong open alternative for creating your installation packages.
WiX 3.6, which was recently released, includes the Burn bootstrapper/chainer. This means not only can you create installer packages such as MSI files, but can also chain multiple installers (for e.g. to install prerequisites) and provide a much smoother installation experience for your users. The new release also has several new features and fixes over 500 bugs.
What if you are already using VS Setup projects for your products? You can try using this PowerShell script for converting your existing VS Setup projects to WiX format.
Also, instead of editing the XML files in a text editor, you can use Votive - a VS package that lets you write WiX scripts from within Visual Studio and brings benefits such as intellisense, MSBuild support, project templates and more. ..." [GD: Post Leach Level: 90%]
This PowerShell script (vdproj2wix.ps1) is a very simple one for converting a Visual Studio setup project (aka a .vdproj file) into a WiX format one (i.e. a .wxs file). Although there are other more fully featured tools for creating a .wxs file, such as from an existing MSI binary, I wanted something that gave me a bare bones .wxs file that ignored all the boilerplate code that Visual Studio adds by default. As a server-side chappy all the MSI installers I create are simple ones designed to deploy a bunch of files into a folder - this script targets that scenario.
Converting a Setup Project
The script requires just a single argument to run - the path to the .vdproj file that you want to convert. It will create a new file in the same folder with the same name but with a .wxs extension instead, e.g.
I hadn't seen that PowerShell script before... Looks like that might come in handy!
That and I'd not mentioned the v3.6 release (I know, I'm a little behind... ;)
Related Past Post XRef:
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Windows Installer XML (WiX) toolset has released as Open Source on SourceForge.net