Writing Your Own .NET-based Installer with WiX

With the release of the Windows Installer XML Toolkit (WiX) v3.5, a new concept of chained installer bundles was added, and refined in v3.6. This brought two key features to the toolset:

  • The ability to group several individual Microsoft Installer (.msi) files together into a single installer executable and (optionally) have them show as only one product in the Add/Remove Programs list
  • The option to develop your own custom UI for the installer, including one written in .NET

While there are several places to find documentation on the more mature features of WiX, I found that there was almost no good information available around what it takes to write a custom .NET UI for my bundle, so voi la... a blog post (series) is born.

In this series I will focus on what I learned creating a "Managed Bootstrapper Application" (Custom .NET UI) using the WiX v3.6 SDK. Each post builds upon the previous posts, so I would suggest you at least skim through the earlier articles in the series. I assume you already have a basic understanding of WiX and will touch on some of the other concepts in WiX, but if you're looking for information on how to build an individual MSI, or write custom actions for an MSI in .Net, here are some better references:

Here’s an index into the articles in this series: