[wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

Heath Stewart heaths at outlook.com
Fri Feb 10 13:19:45 PST 2017

I’ve hit a wall but have a proposed solution to the VSIXInstaller team.

If I pass /instanceIds, the instances we’d install to are limited to those – no different than passing /skuName and /skuVersion (which are mutually exclusive with /instanceIds). But if we don’t find any compatible instances and don’t pass /instanceIds, the extension would install to all instances and, therefore, install dependent workloads and components. So there is no way currently to support both De14- and Dev15+. The only way would be to schedule all custom actions at install-time (i.e. don’t schedule them – not even for Dev14- - until a CA can determine what’s applicable).

This doesn’t feel like a great solution. It’s complex and shouldn’t be necessary, so I’ve proposed a solution to the VSIXInstaller team. It wouldn’t be ready by RTW, though; it would have to ship after.

So rather than creating a complex solution for a short time and having to back it out for a solution that would work for any installer (even batch files) by having VSIXInstaller shoulder the burden, I propose waiting until the change is public and, in the interim, documenting (and even making the “shortcut” feature I proposed in wix4) the VSIXBootstrapper workaround now available here: https://github.com/Microsoft/vsixbootstrapper

From: Heath Stewart<mailto:heaths at outlook.com>
Sent: Friday, February 3, 2017 10:12 PM
To: Rob Mensching<mailto:rob at firegiant.com>; WiX Toolset Developer Mailing List<mailto:wix-devs at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Subject: Re: [wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

I think we're on the same page. Only VSIX v3s can trigger workloads and components. VSIX v2s (and v1s, since that affects only marketplace scenarios as I understand it) work like they did before, so a new element should not be necessary. It's just that without dependencies authored into the MSI their install could break and I can at least emit a warning and refer them to the VSIX bootstrapper in almost done with (it'll have WiX sample authoring). I'll be posting signed versions via nuget pages WiX4 can reference to ship it with/in the VS extension (MIT license).

- Heath via Nine<http://www.9folders.com/> on Android
From: Rob Mensching <rob at firegiant.com>
Sent: Feb 3, 2017 9:33 PM
To: Heath Stewart; WiX Toolset Developer Mailing List
Subject: RE: [wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

1. My point is simply that adding support for VS2017 should not break people using VisxPackage to install a VSIX into VS2010, VS2012, VS2013, VS2015 today. If that means we need to introduce a new element (like: Vsix3Package) so that the old code still works, that’s cool. But someone upgrading from WiX v3.10.3 to WiX v3.11 should not find their VsixPackage code broken. That’s my key concern.

3. Yeah, let’s not “pollute” WiX with yet another “Platform” concept anywhere (aka: “Chip). It’s already hard enough that we have “Architecture”, “Arch” and “Platform” floating around for the same thing. <smile/>


  Rob Mensching
FireGiant  |  Dedicated support for the WiX toolset  |  http://www.firegiant.com/

From: Heath Stewart [mailto:heaths at outlook.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2017 1:32 PM
To: Rob Mensching <rob at firegiant.com>; WiX Toolset Developer Mailing List <wix-devs at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Subject: RE: [wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

  1.  But therein lies the problem Bob and Sean raised. While a VS2010 SDK-built package should install even on VS2017, a VS2017 SDK-built package might fail the install because a concurrent MSI may install because of our on-demand feature. It’s for this reason I’m currently working on finishing and publishing a simple bootstrapper that could be chained into a bundle that will do the same lookup I am proposing in the WIP. The impression I got from the thread was that because an install could fail because of the concurrent, out-of-proc (unfortunately, or we could solve it) MSI installs that it’s too detrimental. But I think this can be largely mitigated by extensions only declaring what’s needed (for example, the Core Editor workload is always installed – the default workload and sole source of vital packages), and even doing pre-checks if required. If there is cause for concern, they could use the simple bootstrapper and chain the VSIX install with the bundle. So you feel that is sufficient for now?
  2.  Sounds reasonable that new features (i.e. extension support for Chain) should go only in wix4.
  3.  I can do that at least for authoring. The idea was to keep terms equivalent, and is “Chip” in the actual ISetupPackageReference definition. Any strong feelings if the table column name should match authoring or interfaces? I’m tempted just to go all “Platform” if that’s what you’d prefer for WiX (and is consistent with the Package element).

Sent from Mail<https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986> for Windows 10

From: Rob Mensching<mailto:rob at firegiant.com>
Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2017 10:36 AM
To: WiX Toolset Developer Mailing List<mailto:wix-devs at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Subject: Re: [wix-devs] Selection of compatible VS instances

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<mailto: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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