Finally a GUI solution with WiX

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Finally a GUI solution with WiX

MIchael Clark
I was just getting ready to start a new WiX project except it was
looking like I would have to do a lot of custom GUI, then I came across
this http://sharpsetup.eu/

 

-Michael Clark

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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Christopher Painter
I've also released IsWiX on Codeplex ( http://iswix.codeplex.com )    It's still in it's infancy but I can say we've used it at my day job for the last 9 months by about 20 developers and it's working really well for our needs.    Currently we use it for the heavy lifting of defining merge modules, dependencies and files/folders.   We use Votive for additional markups such as shortcuts and services but hopefully additional designers will be forthcoming to abstract that also.

The sharpsetup project looks interesting.  I need to do a deep dive on it while I'm waiting to see if burn ever gets done.
 
Christopher Painter, Author of Deployment Engineering Blog
Have a hot tip, know a secret or read a really good thread that deserves attention? E-Mail Me



----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Clark <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Thu, May 13, 2010 4:01:33 PM
Subject: [WiX-users] Finally a GUI solution with WiX

I was just getting ready to start a new WiX project except it was
looking like I would have to do a lot of custom GUI, then I came across
this http://sharpsetup.eu/



-Michael Clark

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dB.
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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

dB.
I played with SharpSetup for an hour. I see some value, especially getting started, but these neatly integrated things often end up being more of a drag and time saved upfront has a very long tail.

I think it's an interesting idea that the Wix GUI editor is actually a form editor that uses c# code as a back-end. Then I assume it compiles into wix. Looks clever.

I am particularly not excited by the bootstrapper in SharpSetup. Having contributed to a large set of features in dotnetinstaller for over a year now I think that the effort required to build a really good bootstrapper is extremely large. A good bootstrapper for MSIs should host them and drive their execution with unified progress, ways to ask questions once and apply the answers to multiple installers, etc. My favorite bootstrapper is SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Sounds like burn will be "it", albeit in a while.

All the above worth about 0.02c :)

dB. @ dblock.org
Moscow|Geneva|Seattle|New York


-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Painter [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010 7:36 PM
To: General discussion for Windows Installer XML toolset.
Subject: Re: [WiX-users] Finally a GUI solution with WiX

I've also released IsWiX on Codeplex ( http://iswix.codeplex.com )    It's still in it's infancy but I can say we've used it at my day job for the last 9 months by about 20 developers and it's working really well for our needs.    Currently we use it for the heavy lifting of defining merge modules, dependencies and files/folders.   We use Votive for additional markups such as shortcuts and services but hopefully additional designers will be forthcoming to abstract that also.

The sharpsetup project looks interesting.  I need to do a deep dive on it while I'm waiting to see if burn ever gets done.
 
Christopher Painter, Author of Deployment Engineering Blog
Have a hot tip, know a secret or read a really good thread that deserves attention? E-Mail Me



----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Clark <[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]
Sent: Thu, May 13, 2010 4:01:33 PM
Subject: [WiX-users] Finally a GUI solution with WiX

I was just getting ready to start a new WiX project except it was
looking like I would have to do a lot of custom GUI, then I came across
this http://sharpsetup.eu/



-Michael Clark

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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Tony Juricic
In reply to this post by MIchael Clark
If it were using WPF, I would seriously consider it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Clark [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2010 5:02 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [WiX-users] Finally a GUI solution with WiX


I was just getting ready to start a new WiX project except it was
looking like I would have to do a lot of custom GUI, then I came across
this http://sharpsetup.eu/

 

-Michael Clark



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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Tomasz Grobelny-2
Dnia piątek 14 maj 2010 o 17:01:33 Tony Juricic napisał(a):
> If it were using WPF, I would seriously consider it.
>
SharpSetup does not use WPF and most likely will not use it in the nearest
future (there are more important features to implement IMO). Still you could
write your own GUI part in WPF. Of course it would be more complicated than
using WinForms, but still much, much easier with SharpSetup than without. You
would have to implement your own wizard logic (or use a third-party one) and
controls that interact with Windows Installer. The controls (like
SimpleDiskCostBox control, InstallationProgress control, InstallationLocation
control, etc.) typically have around 100 lines of code (excluding code
generated by designer). The biggest one is FeatureTree control but still it
has less than 200 lines of code. So in my opinion implementing WPF GUI is a
viable task. Should you attempt that please contact me so that I can provide
you with necessary information.
--
Regards,
Tomasz Grobelny

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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Tomasz Grobelny-2
In reply to this post by dB.
Dnia piątek 14 maj 2010 o 02:00:13 dB. napisał(a):
> I played with SharpSetup for an hour. I see some value, especially getting
> started, but these neatly integrated things often end up being more of a
> drag and time saved upfront has a very long tail.
>
Thanks for your feedback. I tried to write SharpSetup in such a way that it
doesn't get (too much) into your way, but still provide features WiX itself
cannot provide (eg. language selection) or is not very good at (GUI). If you
have any more specific comments please let me know (either on the list or in
private).

> I think it's an interesting idea that the Wix GUI editor is actually a form
> editor that uses c# code as a back-end. Then I assume it compiles into
> wix. Looks clever.
>
No, there is no translation into WiX phase (while I cannot rule out that it
would be possible, I think it would be error-prone and limiting). The final
installer simply consists of 3 main parts: bootstrapper (written in C++),
WinForms GUI (written in C#, one could try VB/WPF combination) and MSI file
(written in WiX). So the installer requires .NET Framework at runtime. This in
turn means that SharpSetup is not suitable for every application, but if the
application or one of its prerequsites requires .NET 2.0 then there is no
reason not to use power of .NET at installation time. In that respect
situation is the same as with C# Custom Actions.

> I am particularly not excited by the bootstrapper in SharpSetup. Having
> contributed to a large set of features in dotnetinstaller for over a year
> now I think that the effort required to build a really good bootstrapper
> is extremely large. A good bootstrapper for MSIs should host them and
> drive their execution with unified progress, ways to ask questions once
> and apply the answers to multiple installers, etc. My favorite
> bootstrapper is SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Sounds like burn will be "it",
> albeit in a while.
>
Certainly a lot of features are missing - that's why this is version 1.0 -
working, usable for real world installers, but not (yet) perfect. But I think
that at least part of your disappointment may come from the fact that
dotnetInstaller and bootstrapper in SharpSetup have different goals.
dotnetInstaller is for example supposed to install MDAC and IE (from
dotnetInstaller web site). I do not plan for SharpSetup bootstrapper to be
used for such tasks. The main task of SharpSetup bootstrapper is to start main
GUI written in C#. That means that we only need to check for Windows Installer
3.1 and .NET 2.0. Rest of your application prerequisites may be installed in
main GUI. Of course this may change (as any other design decision) but this is
how I view things with regard to bootstrapper currently.

> All the above worth about 0.02c :)
>
Still quite valuable as both WiX and SharpSetup are for free :-)
--
Regards,
Tomasz Grobelny

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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Pally Sandher
Sounds very useful Tomasz. I was in the process of writing something very similar last summer before a major release to for that release & all subsequent release installations. Up until that release we didn't require any version of .NET, just the VC++ 2005 redistributable controls. As we now needed .NET 2.0 for our application I had the same idea as yourself, bootstrap the .NET 2.0 redistributable for those few Windows XP systems which don't already have it & then run my C# .NET 2.0 installer GUI to give the user a rich installation experience. I unfortunately ran out of time & decided on using dblock's dotnetinstaller to install the pre-requisites (.NET 2.0 & VC++ 2005 redist) as well as sequencing my WiX generated MSI's & MSP's.

Will definitely take a look at SharpSetup when I get some development time free to look into this again. Thanks for making this available to us =)

Palbinder Sandher
Software Deployment & IT Administrator
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-----Original Message-----
From: Tomasz Grobelny [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: 14 May 2010 23:53
To: General discussion for Windows Installer XML toolset.
Subject: Re: [WiX-users] Finally a GUI solution with WiX

Dnia piątek 14 maj 2010 o 02:00:13 dB. napisał(a):
> I played with SharpSetup for an hour. I see some value, especially
> getting started, but these neatly integrated things often end up being
> more of a drag and time saved upfront has a very long tail.
>
Thanks for your feedback. I tried to write SharpSetup in such a way that it doesn't get (too much) into your way, but still provide features WiX itself cannot provide (eg. language selection) or is not very good at (GUI). If you have any more specific comments please let me know (either on the list or in private).

> I think it's an interesting idea that the Wix GUI editor is actually a
> form editor that uses c# code as a back-end. Then I assume it compiles
> into wix. Looks clever.
>
No, there is no translation into WiX phase (while I cannot rule out that it would be possible, I think it would be error-prone and limiting). The final installer simply consists of 3 main parts: bootstrapper (written in C++), WinForms GUI (written in C#, one could try VB/WPF combination) and MSI file (written in WiX). So the installer requires .NET Framework at runtime. This in turn means that SharpSetup is not suitable for every application, but if the application or one of its prerequsites requires .NET 2.0 then there is no reason not to use power of .NET at installation time. In that respect situation is the same as with C# Custom Actions.

> I am particularly not excited by the bootstrapper in SharpSetup.
> Having contributed to a large set of features in dotnetinstaller for
> over a year now I think that the effort required to build a really
> good bootstrapper is extremely large. A good bootstrapper for MSIs
> should host them and drive their execution with unified progress, ways
> to ask questions once and apply the answers to multiple installers,
> etc. My favorite bootstrapper is SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Sounds like
> burn will be "it", albeit in a while.
>
Certainly a lot of features are missing - that's why this is version 1.0 - working, usable for real world installers, but not (yet) perfect. But I think that at least part of your disappointment may come from the fact that dotnetInstaller and bootstrapper in SharpSetup have different goals.
dotnetInstaller is for example supposed to install MDAC and IE (from dotnetInstaller web site). I do not plan for SharpSetup bootstrapper to be used for such tasks. The main task of SharpSetup bootstrapper is to start main GUI written in C#. That means that we only need to check for Windows Installer
3.1 and .NET 2.0. Rest of your application prerequisites may be installed in main GUI. Of course this may change (as any other design decision) but this is how I view things with regard to bootstrapper currently.

> All the above worth about 0.02c :)
>
Still quite valuable as both WiX and SharpSetup are for free :-)
--
Regards,
Tomasz Grobelny

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Re: Finally a GUI solution with WiX

John
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In reply to this post by MIchael Clark
I found Wixpie.com it's free
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