Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

ClickThrough - a new WiX tool for creation and automatic updating of simple MSI packages

ClickThrough - a new WiX tool for creation and automatic updating of simple MSI packages

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Rob Mensching posted a blog entry last week that I wanted to make sure everyone reading my blog also sees.  In this post, he introduces a new tool in the WiX toolset called ClickThrough (which can be downloaded here).  ClickThrough is still in a relatively early phase of the development process, but the drop that is currently available has some pretty nice functionality:

  • Graphical user interface for creating an MSI for an application designed to be distributed via the Internet (using WiX behind the scenes to represent and build the MSI)
  • Self-extracting setup.exe that installs the MSI
  • Update executable that polls an RSS feed to detect new versions of the application and then installs them automatically

The current version of ClickThrough is designed to install isolated, low impact applications - ones that are installed on a per-user basis and do not require administrative privileges to install.  Future iterations will address creating setup packages for other types of applications.

I've been playing around with ClickThrough a bit and have been able to use it to successfully create and deploy simple applications.  You may run into some bugs or usability issues or have some feature suggestions, and they can be reported here (for bugs) and here (for feature suggestions).  Keep in mind that Rob has posted a disclaimer at the top of his post about ClickThrough indicating that it is "just-post-prototype" and should not be used in production software yet.

As a side note, you'll notice if you download and install ClickThrough that it is installed and updated using ClickThrough itself, kind of like using the compiler to build the code for the compiler itself  :-)

 

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