when setup isn't just xcopy

Rob Mensching on Software Installation and Open Source at Microsoft.

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  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 7 (directories are properties)

    In my last blog entry, I wrapped up saying that we'd talk about how to make your install directory configurable this time. I'm sorry but I lied. There is an important but confusing truth that you must understand before we continue. Directories are Properties. Some of you may have already caught on to...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 6 (standard directories)

    Before picking up this series of blog entries on the Directory table again, I went back and re-read all the previous entries to make sure I remembered the details told up to this point. It was then that I realized the last entry on this series as posted over 11 months ago. What disturbed me even more...
  • Blog Post: Thursday Night "Deployment Dinner Discussions" with Carolyn Napier.

    Tonight Jenny and I hosted our second Thursday Night " Deployment Dinner Discussion ". Our guests were Carolyn Napier and Steve Lesser. Actually, it isn't that simple. You see, I have been meaning to invite Carolyn over for to see my house for about 3 years now (as long as I've lived here...
  • Blog Post: Thursday Night "Deployment Dinner Discussions" with Rob Mensching.

    Over the last couple months, I have been trying to come up with new ways to connect with the software installation community. A couple weeks ago, I presented my first idea to Jenny. The idea was to invite people over for dinner at our house to eat, sit, and talk. Jenny agreed and last night we the first...
  • Blog Post: Creative Commons Add-in's Office XP PIA - Conditioning the Office XP PIAs - Part 1

    Previously I described how the Office XP PIA install detected what parts of Office XP were installed . There are two places that the detection information is used and there are weaknesses in both places that we'll discuss. In this blog entry we'll take a look at the first place the detection logic is...
  • Blog Post: Creative Commons Add-in's Office XP PIA - Detecting Office XP Parts

    There was a lot more interest in the Office XP PIA install that Bob created than I expected. I'm currently in the process of trying to get the Office team to take the work we did back and post that instead of the loose collection of files available today. I believe this is the most useful path for everyone...
  • Blog Post: Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office: Behind the Office PIAs.

    Tonight, we'll continue with the story of the development of the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office . As I mentioned in the introduction one of the first problems that we tackled was the Office PIAs. Rather than provide you second hand information about the development of the PIA packages,...
  • Blog Post: Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office v1.0.1 released.

    As promised, the first two issues reported with the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office have been fixed. You can go to the download page and get the new version. The installation experience is identical to the previous version and the add-in looks the same. The only changes from v1.0.0 to v1...
  • Blog Post: Supporting the unsupported Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office.

    Tonight I had hoped to be continuing the story about the creation of the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office . Unfortunately, after a couple days of downloads a few bugs have worked back to those of us working on the add-in. I thought I'd share the known issue list with you and where we are...
  • Blog Post: The WiX toolset presents the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office.

    I have been working on a few unrelated side-projects over the last several months. These are projects that I find interesting and typically relate to software installation in some way. Today Microsoft released the first of these projects, the Creative Commons Add-in for Microsoft Office . Essentially...
  • Blog Post: ScrollableText Control in MSI

    A few questions about the ScrollableText Control in MSI come up every once in a while, so I thought I'd capture the answers here for posterity. Ideally this is information that will eventually show up in the MSI SDK documentation (but probably "word-smithed" to be more appropriate for "official documentation...
  • Blog Post: Rob Mensching on Microsoft TechNet Radio

    About a month ago, I wandered over to MS Studios to have a chat with Mike Ward who hosts Microsoft TechNet Radio . Well, actually I was invited over by Mike Ward because he was looking for someone to talk to about the Open Source end of Microsoft's Shared Source Program and Bill Hilf gave him my name...
  • Blog Post: Is your MSI Package ready for Vista?

    Here's a quick tip I've been meaning to post for a while. By now you all know that Windows Vista is coming and if you've been following the buzz about the new operating system you've probably heard of LUA, er UAP , no UAC . All those three letter acronyms basically mean that even when you are logged...
  • Blog Post: Google Toolbar Beta for Enterprise a "Trojan horse" MSI package.

    Wow, I started this morning off really excited. I saw the announcement that Google has a toolbar for the enterprise and it supposedly came with a Windows Installer package. So, I skimmed through the feature list and saw the statement: Simple and safe to deploy Google Toolbar Beta for Enterprise...
  • Blog Post: How small is too small for distributed setup development?

    Kurt asked an interesting question on my philosophical musings blog entry : The idea of a distributed setup development came up in our development team as well. My question is: Is there a size of the developer team which makes it reasonable to distribute the setup development? If the team is just...
  • Blog Post: In defense of Windows Vista's Restart Manager.

    In the last week there were three RSS feeds I follow that mentioned the new Restart Manager service in Windows Vista . First, Mary Jo Foley says, "The technology is designed to update parts of the operating system or applications without having to reboot the entire machine." That sentence is...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 5 (the dot, colon and pipe)

    It is time to pick up the story of the Directory table where we left it. I started this blog entry by going back and re-reading that which I had already written. The first paragraph of part 1 surprised me because it reminded me how long I've been operating under frustration . Then when I re-read part...
  • Blog Post: PDC '05, I'll be there. Will you?

    Well, it looks official. My features are in and my bugs are under control. I'm going to PDC '05 ! No, I'm not a part of the Windows Installer presentation on the last day at the last hour of the PDC. No, there isn't a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session on the WiX toolset . No, I'm not dressing up like...
  • Blog Post: Setup Developer Survey

    It is strange how information flows sometimes. An email with a link to Aaron Stebner's blog about this developer survey targeted at setup developers was just sent to the wix-users mailing list . If you are a setup developer (and I expect if you are reading my blog, you probably are) I highly recommend...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 4

    I am seriously fried. This week starts with a ramp up to an executive review and ends with a major deadline. Nothing like a double header to really get your blood flowing. Anyway, I'm just whinging away right now to lower any expectations you might have for this blog entry. I'm going to keep it simple...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 3

    Last time I spent most of the time talking about the IDT file structure and a little bit of time talking about relational databases. If you remember, in the middle of the blog entry I hinted that the names of the columns had quite a bit of contextual information in them. Before I go on to discuss the...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 2.

    Last time I left off with a quick story about how I first got started with the Directory table as an intern on the Windows Installer. I suppose that blog entry was really more of a teaser than a real story and it was certainly light on technical details. So, let's pick up with some of the data that I...
  • Blog Post: Deciphering the MSI Directory table, part 1.

    It's been about a month and a half since I've had the mental wherewithal to sit down and blog about something interesting in the Windows Installer or WiX toolset or something otherwise setup related. I've been in integration hell which would be something interesting to blog about but now isn't the time...
  • Blog Post: Why does changing the name of your MSI file require a Major Upgrade?

    I skipped out on blogging this last Monday night to chill out with Jenny and watch some Firefly . Last night I spent the whole evening fixing bugs in the WiX toolset like this and this . So tonight, I thought I'd take a few minutes and answer a question that was asked on the wix-users mailing list this...
  • Blog Post: Creating localized MSI files using WiX toolset and .wxl files.

    Tonight we pick up where I left off last week and continue with the topic of localizing your MSI file. If you haven't read last week's blog entry , you should do that now. Yes, it's pretty long. Don't worry I'll wait. There's lots of good background information in there. Great, I want to cover a couple...
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