Been Busy on Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1

Been Busy on Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1

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I've been away for a while, though I've barely left the Microsoft campus. As we prepare for Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1, I've been very busy with issues: especially an issue with the size of the patch.

Visual Studio is probably the biggest product (in terms of the number of files at least; I do know of a couple products using Windows Installer for a smaller set of gigantic files) to use Windows Installer and we have a lot of editions: 13 non-Express editions in 9 languages currently. Recall from What's in a Patch that there exists a pair of transforms for every product targeted, based on validation bits for the embedded transforms. Add up all the editions for all the languages and consider how much information is changed (mainly file sizes and versions) and what comes out of our patch build system is a very large patch. We're solving that in practical ways by producing smaller service pack patches targeting a smaller set of SKUs, with separate service packs for Express editions.

This also raises another issues that may affect a lot more installation developers: the size of your binary custom action server DLLs. While files are typically shared in a common cabinet streamed into the patch file, embedded Binary table records are in the transforms themselves. Even if a binary record was the same, it is duplicated across every transform for every targeted product. When writing custom action server DLLs, consider breaking functionality up into multiple, smaller DLLs so that you can update custom actions without adversely impacting the total size of your multi-product patches.

I do have several blog posts planned including one to hopefully help clear up some confusion about what products our patches actually target and will be releasing those over the next few weeks.

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  • I've been searching and waiting for any news about the release date of SP1 for months.  Here we are in Q3 and still no news.
    Any idea when SP1 will be released?
  • I'd second that. We need to know if we need to budget development resource to roll out SP1 - or if we're better off waiting for Visual Studio Orcas. So I guess I'm slyly asking is 'Orcas is a 2007 deliverable.
  • I'll third this request.
  • Please visit for news about Visual Studio 2005 SP1 when any updates occur.
  • I would match rather has SP1 as a complete 4GB install, including having to uninstall Visual Studio 2005 then have it delayed just to save a little bit of bandwidth.

    MSI patches are meant to improve the life’s of customers compared to having to just install a new version.  If doing a MSI patch delays shipping VS 2005 SP1 then it has defeated the whole point of having a patch system.

    It could be that there are other things stopping SP1 shipping yet, if so then it is not unreasonable to be spending some afford to get smaller patch files, provided it is not delaying the shipment of SP1 in anyway.
  • ringi, unfortunately a big patch causes big problems for several different reasons. I am preparing a post or two on this, so please keep watching my feed.
  • In response to a previous post where I mentioned that work was being done on Visual Studio 2005 SP1,...
  • What is the status of SP1 for VS2005?
  • The thing that gets me is the lack of information on SP1. Ok if its delayed I accept this but please give some sort of time scale when MS expects to release it. Also some ** detailed ** information on what it will fix would be useful (Current list of fixs is so high level that is useless).

    My best guess at the moment would be Q1 2007 as the Beta has not even been announced yet.
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  • In response to a previous post where I mentioned that work was being done on Visual Studio 2005 SP1,
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