Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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with no warranties, and confer no rights. Additionally, views expressed
herein are my own and not those of my employer, Microsoft.
My former group (Visual Studio and .NET Framework) has signed off on the beta1 bits for the new 8.0/2.0 versions, codenamed Whidbey. One of the last big setup projects I worked on was the download logic for the Express SKUs - these are replacements for the “standard” versions of Visual Basic, C#, J#, C++, along with an additional SKU named Visual Web Developer (think of VID 6.0 with all the cool stuff that goes with ASP.NET and without all of the annoyances of VID).
The coolest thing of all is that you can use the downloader to get yourself a free copy of any of the 5 beta express SKUs and you don't even officially have to be a part of the Visual Studio beta program. Just go to the site at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/ and choose the version(s) you want, and off you go.
I'd be really curious to hear what you think about the experience of downloading and installing Visual Studio directly from the web, so if you try it, drop me a comment. If you're not a part of the Whidbey beta program and you have any bugs to report and/or suggestions for ways to make the experience better I will fill out a bug report for you so your voice will be heard by the Visual Studio team.....