Tao of the Windows Installer, Part 2

The Windows Installer team has posted part 2 in their series on best practices for the Windows Installer. Tao of the Windows Installer, Part 2 offers twenty-three rules on the subject of Packaging. This series is definitely recommended reading for anyone involved in creating MSI setups.

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Library Thing

Ted Roche blogged over the weekend about LibraryThing, a web-based way to catalog your books online and share the information with others. Ted mentioned that I'd already cataloged some of my FoxPro books there, which reminded me it had been a while since I posted anything and prompted me to log in again and add some more recent acquisitions and old favorites. Ted's posted some of his books there now, too, and has gone a step further than I have by adding a sidebar to his blog to display some of the titles from his catalog.

LibraryThing is easy to use, and its integration with amazon.com makes adding new entries a breeze. Editing and tagging existing catalog entries is intuitive, thanks to a well designed and flexible user interface. I discovered today you can export your catalog as a delimited text file, which makes it easy to import it into Excel or a database, should you want to do that. Nice.




Best Practices for Windows Installer

Fresh on the heels of my "Best Practices for Deployment" session at GLGDW 2006 comes some more great information on a related topic, this time directly from the source. The Windows Installer team at Microsoft has just published the first in a series on best practices for Windows Installer.

The Tao of Windows Installer, Part 1 was posted on the Windows Installer team's blog on Monday. This first part focuses on Fundamentals, enumerating six rules (best practices) to go by. The other parts -- Packaging, Deployment, Patching, Testing and Support, and Security Considerations -- are expected to follow approximately one per week.

In addition to simply providing these guidelines, the author(s) are looking for feedback from readers in order to help turn this series of blog posts into an eventual whitepaper. Regardless of whether or not you want to provide feedback, it looks like this will be excellent reading.

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"You are not inadequate" [humor]

Feeling overwhelmed? Awash in new technology? Unable to keep up? The secretGeek has good news: You are NOT inadequate. Ahh, thank you. I feel much better now. (This is largely humorous, but it makes a very good point, too.)


WiX Video on Channel 9

Robert Scoble blogs: "What's possibly the most used piece of software developed at Microsoft? The WiX [Windows Installer XML] toolset."

Some readers know I've been talking and writing about WiX within the Visual FoxPro community for a couple of years now, most recently in a conference presentation at Southwest Fox last fall. WiX builds Windows Installer setup file (MSI) from XML source code. It's unique for several reasons, including the fact that it was the first open-source product released by Microsoft. Scoble filmed a 57-minute video featuring Rob Mensching and the rest of the all-volunteer WiX 'virtual team', which is now available on Channel 9.

In the video, Rob talks about the evolution of Wix and demonstrates its use and integration with Visual Studio. He also shows the Orca MSI editor, a nifty little tool for poking around inside MSI files. Around minutes 30:00 to 33:00, Rob and others talk about the importance of integrating setup authoring into the software development process, a theme I touched on in my Best Practices for Deployment session at last weekend's Great Lakes Great Database Workshop (GLGDW) in Milwaukee.

If you're interested in WiX, this video is required viewing. If you're not, this is a good way to start getting familiar with WiX and the team that created it. For more information, read Rob Mensching's blog and visit the WiX home on the Web at wix.sourceforge.net. The tutorial there is particularly helpful. For VFP developers, there is also a WiX page on the FoxPro Wiki.

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