WiX v3.6 Beta released.

If I was a Microsoft executive I would start off by saying I'm super-excited to announce the release of the WiX v3.6 Beta. But I'm not. I'm just your friendly local WiX Toolset benevolent dictator saying that WiX v3.6 is looking pretty good and we'd like to try it out. While Wix36.exe downloads, let's talk a little bit about what's in WiX v3.6 Beta and what is not.

First and foremost, Burn—the brand new WiX toolset bootstrapper/chainer/downloader—is coming along extremely well. All of the features we planned are working and we added a couple features along the way. Here’s a quick list off the top of my head:

  • Modern UI - (planned) create a UI that isn’t limited to Wizard’97 controls.
  • Download - download files from the Internet and resume if there are interruptions.
  • Unified Progress - Burn aggregates download and install messages into single progress (as well as individual progress) Elevation - (planned) elevate only when necessary giving the best launch experience.
  • Containers - (planned) organize your product for optimal distribution based on your media.
  • Managed UI - (stretch) use managed code (think WPF or WinForms) to create a beautiful installation UI, even if NETFX isn’t already installed on the user’s machine.
  • Package Ref-counting - (added) Burn manages shared packages so they are installed and uninstalled when expected.
  • Patch slipstreaming - (added) Burn can automatically determine the minimal number of packages and patches a user has to install to be current.

That’s a lot of good stuff and I’m sure I’m forgetting some cool features.

If you want to get an idea how good a Burn based install can look, download and launch the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview. It’s only 1 MB, try it. What you see come up is Burn with the managed UI written in WPF by the Visual Studio team. IMHO, this is pretty close to the ideal installation experience (i.e. one button on the first page).

For those of you not interested in Burn, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve fixed all known core toolset bugs. That means WiX v3.6 is better than the WiX v3.5 you’re using right now.

Now this is Beta so there are still bugs to fix (in Burn). We’re down to 20 known issues and hoping you’ll jump into WiX v3.6 and help us flush out the issues we don’t know about yet. Together we’re sure to make this the best release of the WiX toolset ever.

PS: WiX v3.6 does not support “Visual Studio 11”. We are waiting for their Beta release.