on May 21, 2000
This book would be a great book for someone who is new to the Windows Installer. Although it contains much of the same information as the SDK, it is much easier to read. Things added beyond the SDK include a discussion of Installer editing tools, a list of available merge modules and small notes throughout the book discussing little intricacies that add some value. A discussion of installing MDAC, a pain in NT, is also included. Things that would have been nice to see but were not included are examples of installing MTS packages, more examples of custom actions and their associated rollback and uninstall actions and some more information on creating patches. This is currently the only book on Windows Installer and it gives a nice overview but I don't think it's for the advanced Windows Installer developer. Personally I was looking for a little more detail than it gave but I still find myself using it for reference here and there.
on August 8, 2000
I bought this book to solve the problem of installing MDCAC and DCOM with the Windows Installer. There are only 5 short paragraphs that tell you "Many, many applications require this set of components to be installed..." The author then tells you in a few short words that "the best bet is to simply include the entire mdac_typ.exe file in your Installer package and use a Type 18 custom action to execute the installation after the file has been copied to the user's hard drive" then he tells you that "you should use a condition to prevent launching the setup on Windows 2000". HOWEVER... HE GIVES YOU NO EXAMPLE WHATSOEVER for this very, very important problem. He just tells you that you should do something about it. I can read the documentation from Microsoft. I wanted a book to tell me how to do what needs to be done. This book didn't come through.
on May 28, 2000
This book provides good general information about the new Windows Installer, but it's weak on examples and how-to information. Only one chapter (Chapter 7) provides examples of the steps involved in using the Installer, and those examples are limited to modifying an existing .msi file, not creating one.
The author promises a complete walk-through in Chapter 12, but it's not there. Instead, the chapter offers an overview of various installers (InstallShield, Visual Studio, and Wise). But again, there are no examples.
Many developers are trying to figure out how to incorporate various Microsoft technologies, such as MDAC, into Windows Installer files. The book suggests using a custom action, but doesn't provide a step-by-step example of how to do it. This alone would have made the book worth its price.
on November 15, 2001
I really didn't learn much from reading this book. This book is piled with tables, lists, etc, which one can easily find in the Windows Installer online manual.
A really good book should explain Windows Installer in a top-down fashion and illustrate the points using some examples. I know that MSI is a tedious and detail oriented architecture and it might not be easy to devise simple yet illustrative examples but those are the best help a developer will want. I hope that somebody can take up this task.
on February 4, 2001
I originally was looking for any book that would explain a little more about MSI technology in an easier fashion than the Microsoft MSI SDK help files. This book doesn't quite do it. It is nice to have the information printed out for browsing, and he does give a few examples of VB code that can be used to assist in gathering data for the MSI - but there isn't anything in this book that actually new, fresh, innovative or enlightening.