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Joaquin Jares Just another geek's blog Setup
Setup – Custom Action Type
I was modifying old setups lately, by directly editing them with Orca. It’s not such a great experience, but I really didn’t want to go through Dark for such simple modifications. In the process, I found that one of the worst parts of the format is decoding the Type column in the CustomAction table. Because of that, I have coded a very simple application that tells me which options are selected when I input the number in the column. I hope you find it useful, it’s uploaded here: ......

Posted On Thursday, September 18, 2008 4:05 PM

Setup - Patching
In case you didn’t know, Windows XP SP2 provides a very cool update feature. It works like this: you have a main product, and the Quick Fixes / Service Packs that are applied to it. When you repair your setup for the main product, all the updates are also applied. When you remove, the cleanup is done for all. And it also looks cool on the Add/Remove Programs screen: You’ve probably seen it before in Vista, and thought that that was a Microsoft only thing. I really prefer the way it looks in XP. It ......

Posted On Friday, August 29, 2008 2:59 AM

Setup - Elevation
It is very common on Vista (with UAC activated) to have a setup run through with no error, but to end up not installing anything. This happens when you try to write to protected resources (such as some parts of the file system, registry, etc). It’s easy to get past this on custom actions (using impersonate=”no” and Execute=”deferred”), but finding out how to do it on the “standard” components is not that easy. Luckily, it’s a one-liner. Just add the InstalledPrivileges attribute to your package, ......

Posted On Friday, August 15, 2008 5:50 AM

Custom Action – Copying a Property to another Property
Custom Action type 50 has a very useful behavior. This custom action copies a value to a property. The cool thing about it is that you can copy any formatted string. That is, if you use [], you can get the value of another property. and you can also use environment variables (with a % prefix), file paths (with a # prefix) and directory paths (with a $ prefix). So, to copy a property to another property, simply do this: <CustomAction Id="CopyProperty" Property="TargetProperty" Value="[SourceProperty]" ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 6, 2008 5:17 AM

Custom Action – Status Bar
If you’ve made your own setup using Wix and Custom Actions, you probably got to the end of your setup to see the progress bar still running with an empty status message. It’s specially notorious if your action takes a long time to run. Gladly, there’s an easy solution to that. Simply open your UI.wxs (or add a <UI> tag in your Product, or in a Fragment) and add the following line: <ProgressText Action="MyAction">Config... my Custom Action</ProgressText> Where MyAction is the Id ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 6, 2008 5:09 AM

Product Keys and Setup – Custom Action
The question from my previous post was: how do I validate a Product Key from a Wix Setup? The answer has many components. First, you have to create a dialog for your product key in Wix. This dialog should have some sort of formatted input (say, a repetition of six 4-letter groups). It should also have some sort of validation. Next, you need to have a custom action that will validate the key. It’s very important for this custom action not to be obvious to crack. Wix is very easy to modify as is, if ......

Posted On Sunday, July 27, 2008 2:44 PM

Product Keys and Setup – Random Thoughts
I was commissioned recently on making a Product Key system for a shrink wrap piece of software. And my first thought was: there must be some sort of best practice or pattern language for this. I mean, many people sell shrink wrap software every day, and inventing the procedure each time is just to costly and error probe. Turns out, I was wrong. There is no pattern or best practice for product keys (at least none that I could find in the internet, forums or books). It makes sense, though, for several ......

Posted On Saturday, July 26, 2008 4:12 PM

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