Windows Installer XML (WiX)
I remember when WiX made the news for being the first truly open source project by Microsoft. It made waves in the open source community but it seems to have taken a back seat of late. I decided to take a look at it today and I am impressed. I've dabbled around with Orca before trying to edit MSI files so that they publish properly via GPO, but I've stayed a firm fan of Wise Installation System 9.02 as it provides a powerful and extensible installation scripting language. I have to admit, I've been scared away opening the latest InstallShield and other MSI installers. I think its the sheer amout of GUIDs present.
The Windows Installer XML (WiX) is a toolset that builds Windows installation packages from XML source code. The toolset provides a command line environment that developers may integrate into their build processes to build MSI and MSM setup packages.
WiX is an open source project, originally developed by Microsoft and maintained by Rob Mensching, hosted at SourceForge. You can download the latest binary and source code releases from there.
But tonight while avoiding to work on my actual deadlines, I discovered the WiX tutorial by Gábor DEÁK JAHN. Oh my, does it make things clearer for me. Initially it was quite tedious to build the WXS file, but then I found their little bag of goodies called Tallow. A lekker little utility that can certainly help in my "soon to be crafted" automated build and packaging process.
Oh and to make things sweeter, they have just released Votive which is a Visual Studio .NET 2003 extension for WiX projects.