Better Late Than Never: Visual Studio Regains Installer Project
Since Visual Studio 2012 was released, users have bemoaned the absence of the Visual Studio Setup and Deployment project and clamored for its return. During this absence, Flexera's InstallShield LE has been offered as a viable alternative. Unfortunately as it's name implies, this is a limited edition of a full product Flexera would like users to buy in order to unlock full functionality.
This has now changed as Microsoft's Tony Goodhew reports that Microsoft intends to release a replacement Setup project type for Visual Studio 2013. A preview release of this extension is available on the Visual Studio Gallery or through the Extensions and Updates menu within Visual Studio. (While the extension itself is titled “Visual Studio Installer Projects Preview”, once installed the templates are under Other Project Types | Setup and Deployment.)
Goodhew states that the goal of the project is to reproduce the functionality previously offered in VS2010. InstallShield LE will continue to ship with VS2013 and is intended to provide advanced features. This means developers needing TFS/MSBuild integration among other features will have to continue to use InstallShield LE or an alternative.
Since this extension is a preview users are encouraged to submit feedback (both good & bad) through the Gallery page. Some rough edges remain, but Goodhew states that this preview period will be used improve the extension before it is formally released. The extension requires VS2013 Professional or greater. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, there are no plans for supporting the Express editions of Visual Studio at this time.