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WiX – Powerful Deployment For Your Apps

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Visual Studio 2012 gets rid of “VS Setup” projects. However, the WiX toolset provides a strong open alternative for creating your installation packages.

WiX 3.6, which was recently released, includes the Burn bootstrapper/chainer. This means not only can you create installer packages such as MSI files, but can also chain multiple installers (for e.g. to install prerequisites) and provide a much smoother installation experience for your users. The new release also has several new features and fixes over 500 bugs.

What if you are already using VS Setup projects for your products? You can try using this PowerShell script for converting your existing VS Setup projects to WiX format.

Also, instead of editing the XML files in a text editor, you can use Votive - a VS package that lets you write WiX scripts from within Visual Studio and brings benefits such as intellisense, MSBuild support, project templates and more.

WiX stands for Windows Installer XML – the toolset is an open source project that started in Microsoft, and is now an Outercurve foundation project. It used for installing multi-billion dollar software, including MS Office, SQL Server and Visual Studio. 

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