[wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

Rob Mensching rob at firegiant.com
Thu Feb 2 10:35:47 PST 2017

Overall, I think this is a great first step. A few things:

0. We *cannot* break people using VsixPackage today in WiX v3.x. I don't see anything in the WIP that says the current behavior will be broken but the "Deferred custom actions" section seems to touch the existing custom actions so I was unclear. The goal should be that you can install to VS2010, VS2012, VS2013, VS2015, VS2017 VSIXs in a single MSI (even if you may need multiple VSIXs).

1. All the work should be contained within the WixVsExtension. The WIP calls this out so I think this is handled. If we need to add extensibility points (in Chain element, for example) we can (and probably should) do that in WiX v4.0.

2. Minor nit: "Chip" attribute should be "Platform". "Chip" is a very unique term I've only seen used in VS setup authoring. <smile/>

It will be great to continue to have the properites available in VS2017.exe and to teach VsixPackage to install VSIX3 just like it knows how to install VSIX1 and VSIX2 today.

-----Original Message-----
From: wix-devs [mailto:wix-devs-bounces at lists.wixtoolset.org] On Behalf Of Heath Stewart
Sent: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 11:02 AM
To: WiX Toolset Developer Mailing List <wix-devs at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Subject: Re: [wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

I followed up with the Extensibility team. The problem is that building v1 packages was deprecated in VS2012, but the VS2010 SDK could still build them in a way that supported v2 and the Gallery (now Marketplace) would accept them. However, the Marketplace will not accept packages that target 15.0 or newer and are missing the 2 files added to the VSIX container. Since VS2010 can't produce those the scenario is effectively broken. However, this only affects customers that still need to support VS2010 and ship their VSIXes in both an MSI and on the Marketplace, which both our telemetry and conversations with partners found to be a very small set of customers.

What I'm seeing in this thread, however, is a lot of pushback because we cannot support 100% of customers who use MSIs - a technology being slowly deprecated by Windows. This is the extensibility model going forward that has enabled new capabilities for end users (e.g. smaller initial install footprint and install-on-demand dependencies) and extension developers alike. We will be making further investments to improve this. MSI didn't ship with patching support in 1.0. Any feature grows over time.

But I need a commitment from Rob that a merge based on the WIP (plus your feedback about a warning) would be accepted. We are prepared to pull the existing VS15.wxs file (as the WIP calls out: it doesn't work anyway) and publish an open source EXE I eluded to in the WIP with sample WiX authoring that could run in a Burn bundle (or any chainer). This EXE would basically do what the CAs do now: try to cocreate the COM server, and if that fails use registry detection to check for Dev14 and older, then pass through arguments to VSIXInstaller.exe. Since it would run outside f an MSI, there's no more of a chance of concurrent MSI packages than normally (i.e. another install starts, like via Windows Update).

That would certainly work around the issue of possibly installing MSIs when running within an MSI, but we feel doesn't provide a seamless experiencing upgrading package authoring for MSIs that install VSIXes to support VS2017. With workload and/or component IDs authored or harvested, customers would have the option to fail if no instances are compatible (default), which is practically no different than not finding a SKU and/or version the extension supports and, therefore, not installing anything on-demand.

Can you please confirm whether a merge to support VSIXInstaller.exe in MSIs will be accepted or declined, or should we simply go with the external EXE approach?

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