Aaron Stebner's WebLog

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

Link to more details about the dangers of managed code custom actions in an MSI

Link to more details about the dangers of managed code custom actions in an MSI

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A while back, I wrote a post with my opinion about managed code custom actions - http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/10/392280.aspx.  Essentially, I recommend avoiding using them in an MSI-based setup because of the extra complexity they introduce to the installation process.

This week, I noticed that Rob Mensching wrote an interesting analysis of issues surrounding supporting managed code custom actions in MSI-based setups in a recent blog post at http://robmensching.com/blog/archive/2007/04/19/Managed-Code-CustomActions-no-support-on-the-way-and-heres.aspx.  His blog post presents much more concrete details about the potential dangers that managed code custom actions introduce to a setup.  It also describes some higher level strategic reasons that Windows Installer does not officially support/endorse managed code custom actions.

If you are a setup developer, Rob's blog post is a very informative read and hopefully it will encourage you to do the following:

  1. Avoid custom actions entirely if at all possible
  2. Investigate the WiX built-in custom actions if you find a setup action that is not natively supported in Windows Installer
  3. If you have to write custom action code, do not use managed code when doing so
  • Rob Mensching, father of Windows Installer XML (WiX), blogs about why managed custom actions are a bad

  • I guess it's easier for Microsoft to keep it's head in the sand rather then provide needed functionality that the users of the SDK have been demanding for many, many years.

  • Rob Mensching, father of Windows Installer XML (WiX), blogs about why managed custom actions are a bad

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