WiX v3 releases back on track.

Today I finally worked out the final issues blocking the latest release of the WiX toolset. There were several small bugs in the release batch files that just took time to run down. There is a fair bit of remaining clean up work for me to do but I am pretty sure that the worst has passed and weekly releases will be back on track.

A few people have asked me why it took five weeks to get everything working. There were two major issues that took a lot of time. Before I list those, just to remind everyone, the biggest change is that build process now builds 64-bit (both amd64 and ia64) versions of the Custom Actions. Since the beginning we we have avoided building anything 64-bit (32-bit Custom Actions on WOW can do quite a bit) but a few bugs came up that were impossible to fix without real 64-bit code. Again, Mike Carlson did the majority of the work.

The first issue that slowed the process down is that I require that at least the x86 version of WiX toolset to be built from freely available tools and SDKs from Microsoft. When the WiX toolset was first released, a number of people tried to argue that WiX was just a ploy to get developers to fork over cash for expensive versions of Visual Studio. That argument was quickly put down when it became clear that with the Windows SDK, .NET Framework SDK and free version of the VC tools you could build the WiX toolset.

Since then the WiX toolset has become more complicated. Most of the issues now come from Votive and the horribly designed VSIP SDK required to build Votive. There are actually tasks in the Votive build process that write registry keys so that a required VSIP build task operates correctly. The 64-bit builds have introduced new complications because you need both VS C++ and the Windows SDK installed to get all of the necessary tools and headers/libraries to successfully build. It took Mike a fair bit of time and a number of different machine configurations to track that one down.

The second issue came down to time, my time. Once 64-bit builds were checked in, it was my task to work through the release implications. Unfortunately, I was buried by day job pressures and then got sick. I finally had time to focus for a few hours last Thursday night and another couple hours this morning to fix the last few problems I hadn't flushed out.

And now I have time with less pressure. So I am focusing on reducing the release process with the hope that improvements there will reduce the bottleneck on me. Releasing WiX v2 and WiX v3 with their now disjoint and thus doubly-expansive set of dependencies hasn't been something I've kept up well. Unsurprisingly not maintaining the dependencies came back to bite me these last few weeks.

Again I apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience. If you see any problems, please do open bugs on SourceForge.

FireGiant provides dedicated support for the WiX toolset. Ever wish you could get your WiX questions answered immediately with the technical detail that you find in the blog posts here? You can with FireGiant!

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