Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

How to quickly create an MSI-based setup for a Media Center add-in

How to quickly create an MSI-based setup for a Media Center add-in

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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.

 

  • Is there a .net 2.0 MCE SDK yet? I couldnt find it on the MSDN downloads section.

  • Hi Euan - The .NET Framework 2.0 is supported (and required) for writing add-ins for the version of Media Center in Windows Vista.  If you are in the Vista beta program, you can download community tech preview versions of the MCE SDK for Windows Vista on the beta site.  There is not yet a publicly available version of this SDK though.
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