Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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After spending some time reading Media Center SDK documentation regarding setup and deployment of Media Center add-ins, I decided to document a simpler way to create add-in setup packages (especially after reading this really scary list of 26 steps to create an MSI for an add-in in Visual Studio).
Although it took longer than I was originally hoping due to other things I've been busy with, I am happy to say that I'm finished with phase one of this project, and as a result I posted an article tonight that describes how to use the WiX toolset to create an MSI-based setup package for a Media Center add-in. You can find the article at this location.
This article includes a link to a sample WiX source file that you can use as a reference and as the basis for creating your own setup package. I encourage you to take a look if you have attempted to deploy a Media Center add-in in the past or are planning on doing so in the future.
I have spent some time looking through currently published Media Center add-ins available at the various add-in repositories on the internet. It appears that the large majority of current add-ins take the form of hosted HTML applications - probably because the Media Center add-in is limited to only be able to display message boxes and cannot display other UI to the user within Media Center.
The example that I outline in this article focuses how to create a setup package for a Media Center add-in as opposed to a hosted HTML application. I will cover an example setup for a hosted HTML application in the near future.
However, the setup for the example add-in described in the article will become much more useful in the Windows Vista version of Media Center because we are introducing the ability to create add-ins using Media Center Presentation Layer, which will allow for full access to the Media Center UI framework. New Vista add-ins that use the Media Center Presentation Layer will be setup in a way that is essentially the same as current Media Center add-ins. So, I think that makes this article a useful read even if you are planning to wait for Vista to start creating and deploying Media Center add-ins.
As always, let me know if you have any comments or questions based on the information in the article.