The journey to release WiX v3.0 started about four and a half years ago. While WiX v2.0 was locking down and getting ready for it’s release, we had a lot of ideas how to improve the language and better build integration with Visual Studio. Obviously, those ideas would destabilize WiX v2 so we decided to spin up an independent WiX v3 effort.
Early in the project it was clear that WiX v3 was a major improvement over WiX v2. Developers flocked to it for the file and directory short name generation feature alone. MSBuild integration in Votive was also a huge hit. Additionally features like @Id and Component/@Guid generation, smart cabbing, heat, and the best Windows Installer patch generation tools on the planet make WiX v3.0 a very important release.
When Visual Studio team members joined the WiX v3 effort it became clear that WiX v3 was also going to be the most stable release of the WiX toolset ever. There were over 900 bugs resolved during the course of the project. But a more important number to me is that we’ve postponed fewer than 10 bugs and each of them have a workaround. Comparatively, WiX v2 released with over 100 known issues all of which were fixed in WiX v3. All of this makes WiX v3.0 the most reliable set of tools you can use today to create Windows Installer databases.
We have also faced our fair share challenges while working to release WiX v3.0. We had to make a painful cut and remove Burn from the WiX v3.0 roadmap. That also prevented ClickThrough from reaching its true potential. Many of you probably also remember the in-the-box then out-of-the-box decisions by Visual Studio. That morale boost and breaker led to the decision that WiX v3.0 was ready now and could be released on America’s Independence Day. Finally, a less visible but possibly the most difficult challenge that I faced was the complete turn over in the core developers. In fact, one of the things that excites me most about this release, is that everyone is coming back for the ship party.
Which brings me to my closing remarks. We’re going to have a party. Tonight all over the United States there will be firework displays of varying scales and grandeur. While watching those pyro.exe.technic events light.exe up the dark.exe night sky with gigantic roman candle.exes celebrate with the team that brings you the WiX toolset.
We have a great time working on the WiX toolset and we hope you enjoy the efforts. WiX v3.0 isn’t the end for us. It’s just the most useable and stable release until we bring you the next one.
And until then keep coding. You know I am.