I was reading Buck Hodges’ blog this morning and came across an interesting piece of information: The age old Visual Studio setup project (vdproj) is coming to an end. After Visual Studio 2010 it will no longer be supported.
Personally I’ve been expecting that something would be happening around the installer experience in Visual Studio for a while now. There was quite a bit of excitement about the inclusion of WiX in VS2010. But alas, this was not to be.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have worked with WiX for a while now and it is immensely powerful. In fact a number of Microsoft’s applications are shipped using a WiX based installer, but there is nothing quite like the Visual Studio setup wizard for creating a quick and easy installer for the small, simple apps. I suppose this is where the “InstallShield 2010 Limited Edition” project support in VS2010 comes from (I must admit though, I have not really taken a good hard look at the InstallShield project yet).
I also need to say that some of the changes in WiX 3.5 (including assembly harvesting) do make it easier to deploy large projects, and you have some free, and commercial, WiX editors (I use WiXEdit) to help out.
It will be interesting to see how the support for WiX grows after the default Visual Studio setup project dies. I would recommend that now is a good time to start looking closer at the installation technology that you are going to be choosing going forward (Microsoft has put up a nice comparison between the Visual Studio Setup, InstallShield and WiX as a guide).