The Definitive Guide to Windows Installer and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 59.80
  • List Price: CDN$ 68.48
  • You Save: CDN$ 8.68 (13%)
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Definitive Guide to Windows Installer Paperback – Mar 3 2005


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, Mar 3 2005
CDN$ 59.80
CDN$ 52.90 CDN$ 15.17

Up to 90% Off Textbooks

Frequently Bought Together

The Definitive Guide to Windows Installer + Wix 3.6: A Developer's Guide to Windows Installer XML
Price For Both: CDN$ 115.95


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Apress; 1st Corrected ed. 2004. Corr. 3rd printing 2004 edition (March 3 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590592972
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590592977
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #471,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Phil Wilson graduated from the University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K. with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, but he preferred computers to test tubes and eventually worked for 15 years on developing operating systems for Burroughs and Unisys mainframes. Phil started programming for Windows in the early 1990s and has developed in MFC, ATL COM, Visual Basic, and C#. He has been involved in installation design and technology for about eight years, and he became a Microsoft "Most Valuable Professional" for Windows Installer in 2003. To get away from computers, he plays and records guitar, and enjoys camping in the California desert.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Many developers who write applications for a Microsoft operating system know all too well of installation hazards. The possibility of introducing DLLs that are incompatible with existing DLLs, for example. Plus lots more things that could fail. Wilson starts off his book with a listing of what could traditionally go wrong in an installation.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this was a wretched state of affairs. You typically had programming expertise in your particular field. But there should have been no a priori reason why this expertise should have to stretch to the installation process. Right?
Wilson gives an alternative. He details how you can use Windows Installer to install and uninstall your application. The process is still nontrivial, mind you. Which is why we have a book of this length. But it shows how, if you fit your application within WI's strictures, then the entire install is now much easier and safer.
Perhaps the single best advantage is that WI makes your install a transaction. Either it all works, or the install will fail and your system will be unaffected. Atomic. We have rollback ability.
Those of you familiar with SQL and transaction processing will recognise this. Wilson shows that WI is in fact based on SQL tables and relational processing. Some people at Microsoft made a nice design! By undergirding the installation with SQL tables. It lets WI have an inner coherent structure, into which third party applications can fit, in a disciplined way. Plus, it allows the panoply of SQL queries. At the right level, it is an elegant approach.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Good But Not Definitive July 27 2005
By William E. Blum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I say it's not definitive because I think that means there's nothing more to be said on the subject. The MS Windows Installer technology is huge, and it would take a book five times the length of this one to be definitive. This book describes the client/server architecture of the installer and explains about the important tables in the database. It demonstrates how to make an installation package with Visual Studio, but assumes you will be using a commercial package in real life. To get the most out of the book, you'll need to install Orca, which is available in the Microsoft Installer SDK. Orca lets you view and edit the tables in an installation package.

After a bit of orientation, each chapter tackles a common installation topic: patches, ASP.NET, .NET assemblies, windows services, and the installer APIs. Wilson is good about explaining why something should be done a certain way and giving you the background to understand it.

My only disappointment is that, due to the shortness of the book, there is no room to go into more detail about some of the standard actions. I'd like to have seen an example of the minimal set of actions needed to install a file; kind of the hello world of installer. The beginning example he provides is built with Visual Studio, and I'm sure it puts in a lot more actions than are really needed, so it's hard to mentally associate what the package is doing with the action records that are doing it. To really understand how the installer works, you should be able to build a package from scratch with Orca.

There are few or no typos, which is amazing for a computer book nowadays, and I didn't find any errors of fact.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Very elegant new approach June 18 2004
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Many developers who write applications for a Microsoft operating system know all too well of installation hazards. The possibility of introducing DLLs that are incompatible with existing DLLs, for example. Plus lots more things that could fail. Wilson starts off his book with a listing of what could traditionally go wrong in an installation.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this was a wretched state of affairs. You typically had programming expertise in your particular field. But there should have been no a priori reason why this expertise should have to stretch to the installation process. Right?
Wilson gives an alternative. He details how you can use Windows Installer to install and uninstall your application. The process is still nontrivial, mind you. Which is why we have a book of this length. But it shows how, if you fit your application within WI's strictures, then the entire install is now much easier and safer.
Perhaps the single best advantage is that WI makes your install a transaction. Either it all works, or the install will fail and your system will be unaffected. Atomic. We have rollback ability.
Those of you familiar with SQL and transaction processing will recognise this. Wilson shows that WI is in fact based on SQL tables and relational processing. Some people at Microsoft made a nice design! By undergirding the installation with SQL tables. It lets WI have an inner coherent structure, into which third party applications can fit, in a disciplined way. Plus, it allows the panoply of SQL queries. At the right level, it is an elegant approach.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An excellent place to start to learn about Windows Installer June 11 2009
By Rod Doe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book in a panic after I inherited a pile of WiX installer responsibilities as a result of a layoff. We live in interesting times.

This book covers creation of Windows Installers using Visual Studio. (This book does not cover WiX.) A key point is that an MSI file is a database, comprised of many tables. This books shows hows to exploit this architecture.

The process of creating installers with Visual Studio is a little unusual, but makes sense when you try it. Visual Studio can produce an impressive, somewhat customized installer quite easily. I literally started with nothing, and in 12 minutes, I had built an installer for a large project. However, the resultant installer may not be exactly what you had in mind. To customize the installer, use Orca to edit the resultant MSI installer manually. Write scripted SQL queries to edit the resultant process automatically, possibly as a post-build event. This book takes you through that process.

This book advanced my skills from knowing nothing about installers to being the local expert. (I am now converting WiX installers to Visual Studio installers.) It was a great starting point, but I found that I needed to search MSDN to find some details. The book is VB-centric with regards to scripting, which for me is a negative, but may be positive for you. I would like to see coverage of MSI manipulation in tools more typical of a build environment, namely Perl or PowerShell.

In summary, read this book to get the big picture and lots of details, and then plan to get other details from MSDN.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Very useful book June 11 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book covers in a simply and useful way several aspects of Windows Installer. I suggest this book as a "bible" for those programmers who needs to customize their installation procedure. Obviously this book does not resolve all the problems related to Windows Installer, but offers a valid guide to start to resolve them.
The NOT Definitive Guide to Windows Installer Nov. 29 2014
By Joshua Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This review was originally written in 2006:

1. 50,000 Foot Overview
a. Covers a few (it even mentions that the list is NOT exhaustive) of the issues with installations
b. Future NOT covered
c. Summary introduces an entirely new and IMPORTANT concept
2. Hello World
a. Same as every example on the internet
b. GUIDS, an integral part of the Installer are only overviewed in a few paragraphs
c. A section covering the Installer API, huh why is this in with the Hello World example
3. COM
a. This chapter SUCKS
b. Does mention the issues with Shared Components
c. Merge Module, why here?
d. More API stuff stuck in the middle of Side-by-side install…
e. Does NOT cover
i. Isolated Applications
ii. COM+ Applications
iii. Self Registration vs. Registry Table use
iv. Assemblies
v. GAC
vi. COM Interop
vii. Strong naming
viii. Uninstall of COM Components
ix. Upgrade of COM Components and the issues with Interface changes.
4. Search and Conditionals
a. Not much here that is not covered in the SDK
5. Sequence and Custom Actions
a. Some stuff covered here
b. Leaves out the issues with execution order and custom actions
c. Covers nested installations which are no longer supported
6. How Do you Fix It?
a. Covers updates only nothing about the Repair feature
b. Does cover several other issues decently
7. ASP .NET Installations
a. Sample app
b. Does cover not installing to the root
8. .Net Assemblies
a. GACaphobia
i. More FUD
ii. Does not really cover GAC versioning at all
b. COM Clients
i. Not in the chapter with COM
c. Acceptable coverage of other areas.
9. Install Design
a. One great point here about Application prerequisites
b. A good discussion regarding the issues with, and possible solutions to those issues, when dealing with self-extracting executables and installation prerequisites.
c. Rounds out with a decent discussion of UI and several other issues
10. Windows Services
a. Good Coverage of Win32 and .NET Service installations
11. The GAC and Updating Assemblies
a. Ultimately good coverage of GAC issues, and how to work through them.
b. However, this chapter still presents an unhealthy dose of FUD regarding the GAC
12. Using Patches
a. Update the Hello World example
b. Did not read this chapter in-depth
13. Installation Environments
a. Terminal Services
b. 64 Bit machines
c. Privileges
d. Internet Installations
14. Tips and Tricks
a. One warning, “VBScript Custom Actions Are Easy” does NOTHING to cover the issues regarding Custom Actions in General and specifically the issues with VBScript custom actions. This Tip is downright dangerous.
15. Installer API
16. Tools
a. Leaves out the free tools, the most glaring Omission here is WIX which is used by most internal MS installer teams, and is free.


Feedback