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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back with old friends

From time to time my stomach tells me that it's time for a change. This recently happened again ( darn build/install guys always keep getting hit by a bus... ) and on November 17Th, 2008 I left MultiMedia Games and returned to Overwatch Textron Systems, Tactical Operations to be with old and new friends.

So after having both the TFS/BuildForge role and the InstallShield/MSI role for the last couple years, I've put my build engineering hat back in the closet and settled in to focus on the installation side of the house.

Our group is growing like crazy! So, if you live in the Austin, TX area and you are an upstanding and unquestionably loyal US Citizen, then please look us up. We are hiring all the time.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Client Profile Configuration Designer Source Code: Where's the Beef?

In a previous blog I mentioned the horrible setup experience that I had with the Client Profile Configuration Designer setup. I really wanted to work around the problem so I went to CodePlex and downloaded the source files.

The good news is that the build process is exactly the way I like to roll. It just worked!

The bad news is I didn't see any of the source or binaries in the solution tree.

As the old commercial says, Where's the beef?

Horrible Setup Experience for Client Profile Configuration Designer

I was reading a blog from Windows Installer Expert Stefan Krueger talking about a new setup tool from Microsoft:

At 0:31:15 Tyler introduces the Client Profile Configuration Designer which has just been made available as beta. It's essentially a tool that can chain multiple packages such as the .NET Framework and other prerequisites, as well as ClickOnce packages, MSI based setups or even scripts. It provides a seamless and ustomizable user interface with one progress bar across all the packages, and can either defer reboots requests until the end, or handle reboots between packages gracefully. Optionally it can also create a combined uninstall experience instead of separate entries in the Add/Remove Programs control panel. The Client Profile Configuration Designer can be downloaded from in the Deployment section.

So I downloaded the program, double clicked the EXE and the install just flashed on by. Oh great, I thought, another one of those WiX based UI-less installs that I've complained about for years. This is sort of odd considering this is supposed to be a fancy WPF chainer.

This left a very unfavorable taste in my mouth as I hate it when an install doesn't announce itself and ask me if it's ok to proceed.

But the real joy was to be had when I tried to run the actual application:



I then started troubleshooting and found all sorts of interesting things. For example, despite touting itself as a WPF based chainer, the package installs itself Per-User and doesn't cache it's package source. It also *SEEMS* to be using the IExpress bootstrapper. Odd Again.

I eventually got my hands on the actual MSI ( sure enough, Windows Installer XML Windows Installer XML v3.0.2921.0 ) and couldn't find any reference to the missing assembly. Hmmm, I guess it's another case of it worked on my machine!

So while I'd like to give this new tool a spin, it seems Acresso's lead in this space remains completely unchallenged. After all, when is Burn going to be done, 2012?