Shared components define shared resources. It might seem obvious, but it’s important to understand that whatever you do to a shared resource during the installation of one product affects those same resources for any other product. For example, when upgrading one product to update files shared with another product,
Windows Installer 4.5 introduced a feature to install multiple packages in a single transaction. Multi-package transactions allow setup developers to install multiple packages as an atomic unit that are installed together, or rolled back completely. You can also apply patches to multiple products or even repair multiple products –
Since plans were made to ship WiX v3 in the box for Visual Studio 2010, the WiX working group has been working on fixing all outstanding bugs in the WiX v3 code base. Bob Arnson uploaded packages last week as a test on SourceForge and this week the following installation packages were uploaded on the v3 Beta release page.
Windows Installer is an engine for performing transactional installations. When installing a product for the fist time, most often few or no files to be installed are already present on the machine. But when upgrading or patching a product, most often those files are replaced so copies must be kept if an error occurs and the installation needs to roll back.
Windows Installer 4.5 is now available on the download center for a variety of platforms, including Windows XP SP2 and newer, Server 2003 SP1 and newer, and both Vista and Server 2008 RTM and newer.
The Windows Installer 4.5 SDK is also available as a separate download,
The Windows Installer team released Windows Installer 4.5 Beta 2 recently. While not a lot has visibly changed since the first beta for which I provided an overview, it’s important to note that a new column was added to the CustomAction table since changes to column types are not supported in a transform or patch but adding a new column is supported.
Patch families were introduced in Windows Installer 3.0 as a means to sequence patches even if applied in any order, and to supersede previous patches. Supersedence allows for easier delta patching and allows more patches to be installed than the 127 limit.
Transforms can change just about anything in an installation package – even the code page. Transforms can also add and drop both tables and columns but they cannot, however, change the column type. This is true for patches as well, since a patch package contains transforms.
The What’s New section of the Windows Installer 4.5 CHM available in the downloads section of the Windows Installer 4.5 Beta Connect site has technical details of new functionality and changes as usual, but now that we can talk about Windows Installer 4.5 I wanted to provide an overview of the new functionality.
Windows Installer 4.5 Beta is now available to those signed up through Connect. Along with the whitepapers posted earlier, binaries for x86, x64, and IA64; headers; and libraries are all available.
Expect to see more technical details on individual Windows Installer 4.5 features in the weeks to come.