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Build a WIX Toolkit



In order to realize the benefits of NuPattern as a platform, the community needs to start experiencing the value to toolkits, of varying scope, in use in their day-to-day development and deployment activities.

Areas such as applying new technologies, or architectural patterns, coding patterns, solving common problems with automation, are particularly useful for the broad marketplace, and have limited appeal to many. Whilst more narrowly focused toolkits will appeal to a smaller marketplace they will generally have a larger impact and interest in evolving.


Got any WIX experience?
Why not build a WIX toolkit? A NuPattern toolkit which could help developers build simple WIX setup projects. As you may know, unless your job is to build installers fulltime, many developers only investigate technologies like WIX every so often, when an installer is called for. And generally that’s when the product needs shipping in a hurry. That doesn’t happen every day, and chances are by the time they come around to ‘getting back into WIX’, they’ve likely forgotten all the tricks and best practices they learned last time they had to do this. This toolkit would add enormous value to them by having all those recommended practices baked into it. And the developer would be delighted to focus on the content of the installer instead of searching for blogs and forums on how to bend WIX to get the result they are looking for.
The best part for them of course, is that they get a simple graphical editor (Solution Builder) to work with, and the toolkit simply generates the WIX project in their solution with all the XML for them! No smoke and mirrors, some trustworthy tooling that gets the job done for them much quicker.

The toolkit could present a developer with a simple model of how they view an installer (i.e. in terms of: inputs (i.e. files, images, assemblies etc.) that are packaged, targets which are written by the installer (i.e. registry settings, directories, files, shortcuts, etc.), features which can be selected from, and user interface, which the user interacts with.
From this simple conceptual model, the toolkit would generate best practice WIX files, for example, that use localized strings, and modular fragments. And can even implement a ‘partial class’ type pattern with XML includes, that allows the developer to customize the installer, for the parts the toolkit does not handle natively.


jezzsa wrote Mar 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM

We have even started a project for this on CodePlex!