I've waited far too long to communicate this disappointing news to everyone, so here it is…
I'm not going to be releasing the SQL Express SP2 Bootstrapper manifests that I had discussed in a long ago blog posting. I'll spare you the sob story of my efforts to create this; suffice it to say that some requirements arose that complicated an official release and priorities changed over time. If you work in the software industry you know how it goes. So that brings us to…
My feeble backup plan
Most of the complications (ok, all of them) that I ran into were related to packaging up the manifests so they could be downloaded and installed. (Seriously, it's a long story, so don't ask.) The manifests themselves are pretty straight forward and only required some minor tweaks of the existing RTM manifests. There is nothing to stop me from sharing those updates with you in this blog and giving instructions on how to use them.
DIY SQL Express Bootstrapper
Technically, the bootstrapper, or the VS Generic Bootstrapper as I like to call it, refers to the technology created by the Visual Studio team to allow any developer to deliver specific sets of functionality as prerequisites that can be checked for and automatically installed by both ClickOnce and MSI based installers built with VS. The framework for building your own prerequisite is documented on MSDN in the topic Adding Custom Prerequisites. A more end to end treatment of the technology was printed in MSDN magazine back in 2004 in the article Use the Visual Studio 2005 Bootstrapper to Kick-Start Your Installation. These are both recommended reading for anyone delving into the land of creating a bootstrapper manifest. Feel free to take a look at those article now if you want, I'll wait until you're done.
The SQL Express bootstrapper is composed of five pieces:
All five of these pieces is available to you, so you can create your own SP2 bootstrapper by creating a few directories and copying the files into the right place. These instructions assume a default installation of Visual Studio 2005 and also that you have not redirected VS to an alternate bootstrapper package directory.
Creating the directory structure
The default directory for bootstrapper packages is at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\BootStrapper\Packages. Do the following:
Files in the SqlExpressSP2 directory
Localized files in SqlExpressSP2\EN
Test your spankin' new bootstrapper package
That's really all there is to do. You should now be able to launch Visual Studio 2005 and see SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2 listed in the prerequisites dialog.
There's always a catch
There are a few known limitations with the package that is created using this method, here are the gotchas:
Other bootstrapper solutions for SQL Express
I know of at least one other description of a DIY SQL Express SP2 bootstrapper that was mentioned in a comment of the original post on the topic. Check out IGrocholski' blog post on this same topic. There are some difference between the approaches, particularly in discovery. You may also find other implementations by searching on the MSDN forums.
I'm always happy to see community contribution, so feel free to share you own implementations with the rest of us by posting comments.