Showing posts with label Deployment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deployment. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

"Wax keeps your candle burning" (You'll get that if you know WiX)

Visual Studio Gallery - Wax

Wax keeps your candle burning
While it's easy to create an empty setup project with the WiX toolkit, populating the list of deployable files and even more keeping the list up to date can be a very fumbling task.

This tool is a Visual Studio Extension that helps you to create, verify and maintain the list of deployed files in an interactive gui.

Documentation, source code etc. can be found on


I know, I know. "Real WiXers don't need no stinkn UI!"

Well, I guess I'm just not a real WiXer then. :P

While the Visual Studio Setup and Deployment support is back for VS 2013, Visual Studio 2013 gets Installer Projects support back!, WiX is still a great setup/installer choice, if you can get over the learning curve (i.e. XML editing). There's a number of extensions that will help you there, with this one, Wax is a new entry. Plus its source is available too.. :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Hey, Windows Installer old enough for a Drivers Permit! Happy 15th Windows Installer

BetaNews - Windows Installer celebrates its 15th birthday

"With many businesses still focused on the "end of XP", an important milestone in the story of software integration will slip by largely unnoticed this year, but it should be celebrated by anyone involved in end user computing.

2014 is the time to appreciate that Windows Installer (MSI) technology is 15 years old and still going strong. That is a very long time for a technology to be as relevant and as useful in today's enterprise environments as it was when it was first released in 1999. Originally developed to facilitate the installation of Microsoft Office 2000, there remains a surprising multitude of reasons it's stuck around for so long


The principles that underpin MSI technology are the template for the next generation of software delivery methods and formats, specifically sequencing of software within the virtualization space.

As one example consider the App-V virtual bubble; this was first seen in MSI technology as the isolation technique, and is the next-gen version of that idea.

15 years is a lifetime in technology, but it seems that Windows Installer is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It's evolution (now 5.0) continues to set the standard as the most complete method for application integration, and is the barometer by which all other formats should use to measure their competency against. That is why this year we should all be celebrating the creation of our old friend, Windows Installer.


Love or hate Windows Installer, the world before Windows Installer/MSI's is a nightmare that we've thankfully said goodbye too long ago. Funny how time flies... <oldgeekguyrant>I remember when... You kids don't know how good you've... yada, yada </oldgeekguyrant>

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Using .NET 4, 4.5, 4.5.1? Only 4.5.2 will be receiving technical support and security updates after Jan 12, 2016 (so start your 4.5.2 planning/deployment...)

.NET Framework Blog - Moving to the .NET Framework 4.5.2


The quick pace at which we’re evolving and shipping means the latest fixes, features, and innovations are available in the latest version and not in legacy versions. To that end, we are making it easier than ever before for customers to stay current on the .NET Framework 4.x family of products with highly compatible, in-place updates for the .NET 4.x family.

We will continue to fully support .NET 4, .NET 4.5, .NET 4.5.1, and .NET 4.5.2 until January 12, 2016, this includes security updates as well as non-security technical support and hotfixes. Beginning January 12, 2016 only .NET Framework 4.5.2 will continue receiving technical support and security updates. There is no change to the support timelines for any other .NET Framework version, including .NET 3.5 SP1, which will continue to be supported for the duration of the operating system lifecycle. [GD: Emphasis added]

We will continue to focus on .NET and as we outlined at both TechEd NA and Build earlier in 2014, we are working on a significant set of technologies, features and scenarios that will be part of .NET vNext, our next major release of the .NET Framework coming in 2015.


[Read the full post]"

Pretty clear, start moving to .Net 4.5.2 soon. No, the world will not end, but still being on a "supported" .NET version is pretty darn important.

BTW, did you catch the .NET vNext coming is in 2015? Nice to see that in print... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2 Released
.NET Framework setup verification, cleanup tool and detection code (C++) updated for 4.5.2

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Play with a demo of the new Microsoft Azure RemoteApp right now...

In the Cloud - Microsoft Azure RemoteApp Demo

At TechEd this week, I had the privilege to announce the release of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp preview, a new service from Microsoft that provides Windows applications from a finished Azure service.

Since the launch of the preview, the team also enabled an Azure RemoteApp demo that allows you to experience the end-user aspects of the service on your choice of iOS, MacOS, or Windows devices in less than 5 clicks.

There are already thousands of unique users testing the service, and the team is working hard to increase the capacity.  The demand has been so high that it is, understandably, taking us time to go through all the approvals.  But don’t worry – we’ll get to everyone (we already have thousands of cores allocated to supporting this preview).

To experience the demo for yourself, click here.  Also, to read more about the demo experience, the RDS team has written a detailed post about the preview.


This demo lets you play with just released RemoteApp feature right now, with hardly any setup. Just install the RemoteApp utility and go! It's really pretty neat and the hybrid scenario is  something I'm going to have to take a good look at.




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Visual Studio 2013 gets Installer Projects support back!

The Visual Studio Blog - Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension

We have heard many customers express the desire that we bring back support for Visual Studio Installer projects. In fact this was one of the topmost voted on suggestions on User Voice for Visual Studio and with this extension release we hope to address your feedback both here on the blog and on UserVoice.

We’re happy today to announce the preview availability of the Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension. This preview release provides support for Visual Studio Installer projects in Visual Studio 2013. You can download the extension from the Visual Studio Gallery.


To use this extension you can either open the Extensions and Updates dialog, select the online node and search for “Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension” or you can click here to go directly to the Visual Studio Gallery page that hosts the control.

Once you have finished installing the extension and restarted Visual Studio you will be able to open existing Visual Studio Installer Projects or create new ones.

Our intention with this extension is to give those of you with Visual Studio Installer projects the same functionality that you currently have in Visual Studio 2010. This extension enables those customer who aren’t using Visual Studio Installer projects to have ISLE as their preferred installer project solution and those who are to have support for both ISLE and their existing Visual Studio Installer projects. While the extension is not localized it is fully supported on both localized and English versions of Visual Studio.


THANK YOU... This was one of my big VS 2012/2013 whines. I'm more than happy to delete that whine from my list... :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seven step guide to whipping up your WiX setup

Rob Seder - More on WiX, and Suppressing the License Dialog


As previously discussed, Visual Studio 2012 and later no longer include any sort of MSI/Installer/Setup project template. That means if you create a WinForms, command-line, or Windows Service type of application, there is no way to create an installer for it out-of-the-box.

Instead, you have a couple of free options: Flexera InstallShield Express and WiX. You might find if you work for a company, Flexera has no interest or incentive in helping you find a way to automate their per-developer, but “free” license activation stuff. If you contact them, you might just find that they spend all their time trying to get you to buy the more-expensive products they sell. So, you might be stuck with using Wix.

Wait, so what’s the point again?
So, the point of this blog post is to help out future Robert not to get mad again at WiX. In pretty much all circumstances where I’d want an installer, all I really care about is letting the user pick the installation directory. So, how do you do that? Unfortunately, I don’t have a simple answer, because the solution isn’t simple – but hopefully this blog post will answer those questions, step-by-step, and with the actual details needed!

I’m using VS2013 Ultimate for the example below, but this should work with any SKU of Visual Studio 2012 or later, I believe.

STEP 0: Install WiX:
As of this writing, v3.8 is out and that’s what I’m using, here. Navigate to: and run the installer.

STEP 1: Create a WinForms Project:

STEP 2: Create a WiX Setup Project:

STEP 3: Add Project Reference:

STEP 4: Modify the XML to install the Project Output:

STEP 5: Modify the XML to include a basic setup UI:

STEP 6: Add a reference so that the setup UI works:


STEP 7: And finally, suppressing the License Agreement dialog:

Now, finally, when you compile and run the setup, it should show the wizard from up above, but it skips the license agreement screen.

WiX does have something of a learning curve, and it's tough for those who are used to the Setup and Deployment Package (don't get me started on that being gone) or another UI based MSI creating tool. Rod, besides a little rant, provides a nice guide to get going with it...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Run don't walk to this tip on how to add an Install as Admin for MSI's

How-to Geek - How to Force an MSI Package to Install Using Administrator Mode


When you need to install a program as an administrator, you can right-click on the .exe file and select Run as administrator. However, that option isn’t available for MSI packages. We will show you how to add an Install as administrator option for MSI packages.


No need to remember the misexec steps once you apply this reg hack...

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

WiX'ing in VS 2013. WiX 3.8 adds VS 2013 support, bootstrapper and more

InfoQ - Wix 3.8 Adds VS 2013 Support in Votive and WiX Native Library and Bootstrapper Application Functions

Wix, Windows installer package tool, has released version 3.8 with support for Visual Studio 2013 in Votive and WiX native libraries. It includes bootstrapper application functions which extends WixStandardBootstrapperApplication. The release provides an ability to detect Windows 8.1 in Burn in addition to detecting properties in WixVSExtension using Visual Studio 2013.


WiX - WiX Toolset v3.8


The v3.8 RTM build is v3.8.1128.0.

For more information see: and

Major features of WiX v3.8 are:

  • Support for Visual Studio 2013 in Votive and the WiX native libraries. (Bob Arnson and Rob Mensching)
  • Bootstrapper application functions to extend WixStandardBootstrapperApplication. (Neil Sleightholm)

Minor features include:
  • Properly detect Windows 8.1 version in Burn. (Blair Murri)
  • Visual Studio 2013 detection properties in WixVSExtension. (Bob Arnson)
  • fun.AutoVersion preprocessor function to provide automatic version numbers. (Neil Sleightholm)
  • New WixStandardBootstrapperApplication themes. (Neil Sleightholm)
  • Options in CloseApplication to send end-session messages, to be prompted if programs are still running, and to terminate the process if gentler requests are ignored. (Rob Mensching)
  • ThmUtil (and therefore WixStandardBootstrapperApplication) supports hidden controls and transparent images. (Neil Sleightholm and Rob Mensching)
  • LocUtil (and therefore WixStandardBootstrapperApplication) supports probing for default language resources rather than requiring region-specific language resources. (Neil Sleightholm)

The following issues were fixed in WiX v3.8:


Free, open source and powerful, WiX is a seriously powerful setup builder...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wax poetic with this new WiX Setup Project Editor, called, you guessed it, Wax

Wax - The WiX Setup Project Editor

An interactive editor for WiX setup projects.

This tool is a Visual Studio Extension that lets you edit the core part of WiX setup projects - the files to be installed. This is the most fiddling work when creating or maintaining a setup project, so this tool concentrates simply on this task.

Just select the projects that you want to install in the list box on the left side.

Two data grids on the right will show you the target directories needed and files to be installed, and how they are mapped to the file nodes in your WiX setup project.

  • Files that have no corresponding item in the WiX setup project are show in red. You can add the to the setup project by clicking the '+' button in the rightmost column.
  • Files that already exist in the setup project are shown in yellow. You can link them together by clicking the '?' button in the rightmost column.
  • Files that already exist in the setup project but have multiple matches are shown in orange. You can link items together by selecting the proper file from the combo box.



That's always been one of my learning curve issues with WiX that there's no GUI. Yeah, yeah, I know it's supposed to be for uber setups and only noobs need setup building GUI's. Well heck, I guess I'm a noob then!

My name is Greg and I like Setup GUI's! SO THERE!

I just don't build them often enough to have WiX memorized and sometimes I just need a click, click, give me a setup, click, click thing...

Now this project isn't quite that, but it's a good step toward it.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

[Not Humor] Windows To Go Fact Sheet from the NSA

NSA - Information Assurance - Configuring Windows To Go as a Mobile Desktop Solution

Windows To Go is a new feature of Windows 8 Enterprise that allows a fully functional Windows 8 instance to be run from an external USB flash drive. When a host machine is booted from a Windows To Go drive, the user experience is the same as the Windows 8 Enterprise desktop. This document provides uses cases, security and administrative considerations, configuration recommendations, and instructions for creating a secure Windows To Go device.



Also of note for our Friends at the NSA:

IAD's Latest Security Guide Helps Customers Protect Home Networks

The Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) at NSA recently released a new technical guide entitled Best Practices for Securing a Home Network. This guidance could not be more timely in light of the increasing threats to U.S. public and private networks, alike. Over the past ten years, IAD has provided many guidance documents to customers outlining practical tips for improving the security of all kinds of applications, operating systems, routers, databases, and more. Recently, Best Practices was produced in video format. Take a moment to view the guide, or watch the video.

I've not seen much about Windows To Go recently, and given the recent NSA news, I thought it cool  to show another view of the NSA, one that's positive and helpful [insert "We're from government and we're here to help..." no, wait that's snarky... no snarkyness, darn it!] And a four page guide of useful information from a government source?

(via reddit/windows - NSA Instructions on “Configuring Windows To Go as a Mobile Desktop Solution”)


Related Past Post XRef:
ars technica provides its own "Windows To Go" step-by-step setup guide
Windows 8 To Go - A step by step setup guide...
Windows 8 on a stick... A look at the "Windows To Go" feature coming with Windows 8

Friday, July 19, 2013

Shining some light on your MSI to WiX conversion with Dark (and this simple UI Wrapper)

CodeProject - Convert VS2008 .msi to WiX project

If you have a setup file (.msi) built with Visual Studio 2008 and you want to create a WiX project to build a Visual Studio 2012 .msi, this article is for you.

Note that this utility is best suited for setup files which are fairly simple and do not have too much customizations involved.


In the below blog, there are steps to extract information from a VS2008 .msi. These manual steps are cumbersome if you have many .msis to be converted. These simple steps are combined into a UI based utility.

Using the code


The UI is self explanatory. The utility does the following: 

  1. Use dark.exe to decompile the .msi to create the .wxs file.
  2. Use dark.exe to extract and rename the binaries (limited set). More customization might be needed depending on the contents of your .msi.
  3. Copy a simple Config.wxi which has relative paths set for the files to be packaged
  4. Copy a sample .wixproj to get started.
  5. Replace '~' in ShortName attributes to '-' to remove warnings 


Geoff's Blog  - Converting a Visual Studio Setup Project to Wix

Anyone who’s using Visual Studio 2012 and either opened up an old solution with a Setup Project (.vdproj) or created a new solution and looked for the setup project under project types will know it’s no longer there and no longer supported. This is not actually that surprising since TFS Build Server and MSBuild doesn’t support the legacy .vdproj files any way.

Wix is the recommended alternative; itis very powerful, but quite complicated to work with and there is currently no GUI.

The .vdproj can’t be converted directly, however one of the wix tools called dark can be used to decompile msi files into wxs xml format.

This is a step by step procedure for converting an MSI with an exe, a number of DLLs and files into a Wix project.



First you know I've got to whine about the dropping of the Setup and Deployment Project types from VS 2012+... whine, whine, whine... Okay, that's out of my system (for now).

Anyway... If you have an MSI that you'd like to WiX'ify, the Dark utility and the two above projects will help.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

6 on 8.1 - VB6 on Windows 8.1...

a blog or 2 - Visual Basic 6 on Windows 8

For those interested and supporting legacy visual basic applications and need to install VB6 onto your windows 8.1 builds heres how: (tested with the pro-preview build which you can download, test and give us feedback -

1) run setup as administrator from the vb6 installation media
2) go through the custom setup and de-select the data access components
3) the install will go straight through and will request a restart of windows
4) after a restart, start your visual basic and confirm all works well, advised to set the program to run in administrative mode so it can write to areas of the registry
5) close it down and install the vb6 service pack 6 components which you can get from here -  (again make sure you run as administrator)
6) Once installed, restart VB6 and check the help about box to confirm you see SP6 installed

And away you go.

Please do take the time to review the support Statement for Visual Basic 6.0 running on Windows 8

..." [GD: Post Leach Level = 99%]

While it's been a while (though less than a year) since I've done any VB6, it's good to see it will still be supported on Windows 8.1. But I wonder how much longer...? There's going to come a time in the next few years where the final OS nail will be put into the VB6 coffin. That or maybe it will come back from the dead! Imagine a future where VB Classic was released as open source/orphan source... We could call it ZB! Zombie Basic! Muahahahaha.... (Sorry, been a long day).


Related Past Post XRef:
6 on 8? Will VB6 be supported on Windows 8? Yep (mostly)!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

InRelease Released - The InRelease acquisition has completed and you can now get the "InRelease for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Preview"

Brian Harry’s blog - InRelease Acquisition is complete

At TechEd, in early June, I announced our agreement to acquire InRelease – a release management product built specifically for Team Foundation Server by InCycle Software.  Since then, we’ve received tons of requests for more information, demos, etc.  Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to point people at InCycle because the acquisition was not final.  I’m happy to say that about a week ago we closed the acquisition and InRelease is now a part of Microsoft.

That doesn’t mean we can start selling it right away.  There are a number of things that have to happen in order to enable that – getting it on our price lists, shipping a version that is properly branded, serviceable, etc.  All of that will take a few months but there are some good options for you in the interim.  Let me share some of them.

  • We are providing a preview of our future Release Management product today.  It’s basically the existing InRelease product with some minimal changes to meet some of our compliance requirements.  You can download it here.  You can also read the InRelease Preview User Guide and ask questions on the forum.
  • InCycle Consulting will continue as an independent company and, until we ship the first fully Microsoft product, will continue to provide trials and sell the InRelease product.


Hopefully these two paths will solve everyone’s needs while finish up the changes we need to make.

I also want to say a few words about licensing so you, at least, have a little context on what to expect.  We are not ready to announce pricing but I can share a bit about the structure of the licensing.

  • The InRelease release management authoring components will be included in Visual Studio Test Professional, Visual Studio Premium and Visual Studio Ultimate.
  • Everything needed to participate in a release process (as opposed to configuring it) will be included in the Team Foundation Server CAL.
  • The InRelease server components will be integrated into Team Foundation Server 2013.
  • The InRelease deployers (which are required for each node you deploy on) will continue to be licensed separately.


InRelease for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Preview

Brief Description

InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview is the essential suite of release and deployment tools available to automate deployment of applications across the desktop, the server, and the cloud.


Microsoft InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview helps development and operations teams integrate with Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview to configure and automate complex deployments of their automated builds to target environments more easily. Development teams can also model their release processes and track approvals, sign-offs, and visualize their release status.

Release management with InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview requires Ultimate 2013 Preview, Premium 2013 Preview, or Test Professional 2013 Preview. The deployment agents will continue to be licensed separately per target server.



InRelease Preview User Guide

InRelease is a continuous deployment solution for .NET teams that makes release cycles repeatable, visible and more efficient by automating deployments through every environment from Team Foundation Server (TFS) until production. With pre-defined release paths, InRelease triggers deployments upon approval, assembles all the components of your application, moves them to the target servers and installs all of them in one transaction. Once the installation is successful, InRelease can execute automated tests or data generation scripts specified for your application. The same steps are repeated until the application is approved and goes to the next environment.

Based on a business-approval workflow and a flexible and centralized configuration, InRelease is an orchestration platform that improves coordination and communication between development, operations and quality assurance to decrease issues inherent to it such as: inefficiency, errors, frustration, high costs and delays.



Not for everyone or every dev, but still a great additional to the Microsoft ALM DevOps story...

Friday, May 31, 2013

MarraLAB for Visual Studio, your new DDE (Debugging, Deployment Environment)

Visual Studio Gallery - MarraLAB for Visual Studio

Traditionally, esoteric knowledge on how to tear down, troubleshoot and debug applications has been difficult to surface, discover and reuse among teams: MarraLAB solves this problem. MarraLAB helps teams graphically surface solution-specific scripts, processes and workflows ...

CREATED BY: Grey Ham (BrekIT)

SUPPORTS Visual Studio 2012

LAST UPDATED 5/31/2013



Please see the extensive Getting Started guide which covers most of the functionality of MarraLAB in a Walkthrough / Tutorial style.

MarraLAB tightly integrates into Visual Studio to help developers automate their repetitive programming and debugging tasks when working across physical/virtual machines and devices.



Do I need MarraLAB?

  • Would you like to 'Attach to Process...' with a single click on local and remote processes?
  • Would you like to build and deploy projects by dragging a Visual Studio Project onto a running machine?
  • Would you like to be able to run complex scripts to setup target machines for debugging?
  • Would you like to automate mundane development and debugging tasks and allow your development team to easily reuse that knowledge?

If your answer to any of those question is "Yes", then consider trying MarraLAB. This version is FREE!

What does MarraLAB do?

MarraLAB associates rules and scripts with files, filetypes (ie: by extension or file pattern) or Visual Studio Projects. When projects or files are dropped onto a target device (thumbnail) you are given the choice of executing any associated scripts.

That's it!

These scripts are written by yourself (with lots of help from MarraLAB) and might include building a project and deploying it to the drop target. The script might know that dropping a .REG file onto a device means to import its contents into the remote registry. That a file with a .MSI extensions needs to be installed. And as the scripts are written in PowerShell, there is no limit to what you can do: with creativity, you can use the same principles to deploy troubleshooting tools and configuration changes to a remote machine.

And all of this knowledge can be surfaced graphically and shared with your team.


Some examples please...

For example: out of the box, MarraLAB provides a generic 'copy' Rule that knows how to deploy any File or Folder dropped on a target device - the user is given the option of which script to execute for the matched file pattern:


MarraLAB can also be used to automate the building and deploying of a Visual Studio Project/Solution or the installation of your common Troubleshooting Tools. For example:



To get the best out of MarraLAB, it is recommended the MarraLAB Agent (provided inside the VSIX download) be installed on your target machines (Vista SP2+). The Agent is a lightweight, native C++/ATL/COM/HTTPS-based System Service that provides a much better experience for developers using MarraLAB: instead of worrying about configuring file permissions, opening ports and modifying your system to cater for remote administration, the Agent opens up a single port on the remote test machine and provides powerful file transfer, process and session management functionality.


Supported Operating Systems

The MarraLAB Visual Studio Package is supported on Visual Studio 2012 Professional and above. MarraLAB will not work with Visual Studio 2012 Express.

The MarraLAB Agent (optional - but recommended for devtest machines) is supported on all operating systems from Windows Vista SP2+ and above.

Future Development

This is the first Beta release of MarraLAB. An entirely free version of MarraLAB with unlimited usage rights will always be available in future that provides "at least" the functionality available in this Beta.

A paid "Professional" Version will be made available around August/September 2013 that will provide much more functionality. More on that and what it will contain nearer the time.


Don't see something like this, with this level of features, every day. Looks pretty darn cool and I like the option for the Agent. I've been there, done that, where creating a local agent as a command proxy is just so much easier than trying to get remote admin stuff all configured and working.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Glima!... Gilma v3 is a .Net 4.0 update...

CodeProject - Gilma - GUI for the ILMerge Application Revised for .NET 4.0



I saw the beautiful interface made by Tomer Shalev on the SourceForce Web site and thought I could rewrite it in a self-contained way. The original Tomer Shalev's Gilma is a front-end application to ILMerge: Microsoft's command-line utility that can be used to merge multiple .NET assemblies into a single assembly. ILMerge is freely available from Microsoft's Web site.
ILMerge's license does allow commercial usage.

In my implementation, the snapshot of which you can see in the image above, I have referenced the ILMerge executable directly in Visual Studio 2010.

Using the Code

The MSI file contained in the demo installs the application. .NET 4.0 Client profile and the 3.1 Installers are pre-requisites. In the source zip, the entire Visual Studio 201 project is contained.
The only thing to point out is the presence of the possibility to use a strong key in the preferred *.snk format to digitally sign the assembly.


I last blogged about Gilma five years ago (Gilma - GUI for ILMerge Branched for .Net 2.0). I guess it's okay to blog about it again, now... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
Want to ILMerge but you're building a WPF app? Resource them baby!
ILMerge get's a rev...
Have a bunch of referenced DLL’s cluttering up your deployment? Just say no and ILMerge them…
Automate ILMerge'ing - Using Project Attributes to mark an Assembly for merging and then MSBuild to ILMerge them...
Gilma - GUI for ILMerge Branched for .Net 2.0
VS2005 Power Toys Pack Installer
MSBuild and ILMerge
"Gilma - GUI for ILMerge Application"
ILMerge Updated
The Code Project - Merging .NET assemblies using ILMerge - .NET

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WiX 3.7 released (Think "The MSBuild Everywhere" release) /Blog - WiX v3.7 released.

Happy Holidays! It is my pleasure to announce that the WiX toolset v3.7 is now officially declared Production/Stable. The final build number is v3.7.1224.0. You can download it from here.

From the beginning WiX v3.7 was designed to be short release. It adds a couple small features to Burn that didn't quite make it into WiX v3.6 and fixes a number of bugs that didn't fit in the WiX v3.6 release. The largest change in WiX v3.7 is the complete redo of the build system that eschews NAnt in favor of MSBuild everywhere.

Quick recap:

  • MSBuild-based build system - it's all MSBuild everywhere. Much cleaner, much more robust, much better system to take us forward.
  • Bundle self-update - a BootstrapperApplication can indicate to the Burn engine that a newer version of the Bundle is available so that Burn can download and launch that install instead. You can see this feature in action with the WiX v3.7 install itself. Just grab and older build and watch the button in the left corner.
  • Bundle reference-counting - MSI and (thanks to a bug fix in v3.7) MSP packages are automatically reference counted by the Burn engine. In WiX v3.7 you can specify a stable dep:ProviderKey for your Bundle and other Bundles be able to reference count it. Great if you want to ship redistributables as Bundles. There is a bug open for WiX v3.8 to make this a bit more automatic.


Not a huge, monster update, but IMHO even better because of that. I'd rather an agile like cadence than otherwise...

I've got a strong feeling that I'm going to be revisiting WiX here in the near future [Insert "Setup and Deployment Projects not supported in VS2012" rant here... sigh]

Monday, November 12, 2012

Deployment Automation Patterns Refcardz (reg-ware) - "The Essential Deployment Automation Patterns Cheat Sheet"

DZone - Refcardz - Deployment Automation Patterns

The Essential Deployment Automation Patterns Cheat Sheet

Deployment Automation Patterns are generally reusable solutions to common issues within software deployment. This card describes 7 patterns in detail, including sample scripts, tools, pipelines, and more.

Deploying software to a production environment is usually the final step in the product delivery lifecycle. In an ideal world, the deployment is simple, the experience is enjoyable, it works the first time, and we all go to the pub afterwards to celebrate yet another successful production deployment (yay!).


And now back to reality. Quite often, when we do production deployments, it's to fix something that's already broken, or we're releasing a project that's already overdue, or there is simply a great deal of pressure from the business to see the next great piece of functionality go live. The pressure is on, and all eyes are on you. To add to your list of problems, the deployment process is long winded, manually intensive, unreliable, and you've never done it before. You're staring down the barrel of an all-nighter, and you're already on your fifth cup of coffee.

Reality sucks.

But it doesn't have to be that way! With the application of some fairly simple good practices, production deployment can be just a formality. The only pressure you'll have is deciding who's buying the first round.


"Reality Sucks".. Nice and oh so darn true...

Been far too long since I've highlighted a DZone Refcardz and any card that has that statement gets a spot on my blog. :P

Here's some snaps from the PDF;




Monday, October 15, 2012

WiX up a quick add-in install with with this "Wix Addin Installer Project Template"

Visual Studio Gallery - Wix Addin Installer Project Template

Wix Template to create installer for visual Studio 2010 Addin project

Wix project template that allow you to create setup deployer for Visual studio 2010 Add-in project. To get it to work you need to update few fields as mentioned inside Product.wxs file.

I have specified the required documentation @end of Product.wxs file. Make changes where ever applicable.

Shikhar is back at it, this time with a WiX Add-in Project Template. Make sure you also check out his with WiX items in the Galley Web Apps Setup Project, Console Apps Setup Project & Wix Artefacts Creator.


Related Past Post XRef:
Making WiX more approachable with the WiX Artefacts Creator for VS2010

Friday, September 28, 2012

Making WiX more approachable with the WiX Artefacts Creator for VS2010

Visual Studio Gallery - Wix Artefacts Creator

"Visual studio 2010 Add-in to create Wix Artefacts

When anyone like me starts working on WIX project, the very first thought comes in mind is that why it’s not simple. Other thoughts to follow may be like why we have to write big XML part manually, specify all the files manually, generate GUID for every single component, documentation is so verbose that it is difficult to grab decent knowledge on this product etc. etc.. 

I thought why creating installer using WIX is not as easy as creating normal visual studio setups. Just add the setup project to solution, select project output and you are done. Hardly one minute work.

After working on Windows Installer XML projects for long time, I realized that it is time to simplify this process. The simplest solution which everyone understands is to provide visual studio setup projects kind of functionality. To facilitate this I have created Visual studio 2010 Add-in which serve the same purpose. Currently this add-in supports setup creation for Web based application (Web application, Web services, WCF services etc.), Console Applications, Class Library Applications and Windows services.

You can find user guide for this add-in @ below location.



I'll be keeping an eye out for the VS2012 version (and/or do the hacks necessary to enable this to install for it ;)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

As an IT guy, is managing your user's Office Add-ins an headache? Thinking about deploying them make your brain hurt? The Office 2013 Telemetry Dashboard is your aspirin...

Office IT Pro Blog - Let's manage add-ins using Telemetry Dashboard

"HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO MANAGE ADD-INS FOR OFFICE? If you are an IT pro who manages application use, you might want to manage add-ins for Office as well. If you can prevent end users from running non-approved add-ins that might cause issues or slow performance, then you can reduce your support costs. With Office 2013, we are providing a new feature that enables you to manage add-in usage.

Using Office 2013 Telemetry Dashboard, you can monitor add-in usage along with performance and other issues. With the collected data, you can decide which add-ins should be managed. This article describes how to manage add-ins for Office by using Telemetry Dashboard.


First, you need to deploy Telemetry Dashboard. Take a look at this Technet article for details of Telemetry Dashboard deployment.

Once you have you successfully set up the Telemetry Dashboard, view the Solutions worksheet in Telemetry Dashboard. In the Solutions worksheet, you can find a link named Add-in management mode in the top-right corner, as shown in the following screenshot. Click the link to view the Add-in management worksheet.



Wow, that looks pretty awesome. Now I have a love-hate relationship due to being a victim of Group Policy decisions, and while this uses GP (which makes total sense BTW), I still think this looks pretty cool. I mean if you have 10 users that's one thing, but can you imaging the pain of deploying a custom add-in to your users when you have hundreds or thousands? This looks like it would be just the ticket!


Related Past Post XRef:
Office knows what you are doing, whether you've been... Office Telemetry for Office 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013...