I just got word yesterday that I have been accepted to speak at the upcoming Alabama .Net Code Camp in Birmingham, AL on Saturday, October 29, 2005.
The topic I’ll be presenting is: Introduction to Creating Installation Packages with Microsoft’s Windows Installer XML (WiX) Toolset
WiX is an open source toolkit (yes Microsoft is an open source company) for building MSI files that was written by Rob Mensching. It is being used internally by Microsoft on many of their products and also has been adopted by some in the open source community as well (MySQL being one of the bigger ones).
Installation packages are one of those things that tend to get pushed off until the end of a product’s development cycle. This is unfortunate since they really are an integral part of the finished product. Also how many of us have tried to install versions of our own products during development and been forced to track down developers to find all of the undocumented things that must be done to get the product running. WiX can help make all of that pain go away.
WiX allows you to define XML configuration files that detail the installation process. These files are then analyzed and coalesced into an MSI installation file of the product. One of the really beautiful parts of this system is that it is fully scriptable since it relies on command line calls to executables.
Thus you can add the creation of an MSI into your build process so that at every step of development there is always a nice installation file that can be used to install the product. This can help you embody Continuous Integration end to end.
I am a huge believer in the Continuous Integration ideology and try to constantly preach the gospel of source control, unit testing, and nightly (at least) builds to any in the unwashed masses that will listen. These concepts can save so much time in the long run and alleviate many of the common issues that cause us headaches as developers.
If you will be attending or in the area, come check out my presentation or at least say hi. I will be out and about in Birmingham throughout the weekend so feel free to give me a call (my cell is listed in the top right corner on my blog’s webpage) if you want to meet up.
The Code Camp’s session list is posted Here. If you look closely, you will see that my friend Dave Avera from Sybase will be speaking. He is based in Auburn, AL and is one of the guys that is doing amazing things with the DataWindow.Net product.
Hope to see you there.
Update: I had incorrectly spelled “Hear” in the title of the post using “Here” instead. Oops, my mistake got it corrected now. Where is that context sensitive spellchecker when I need it.