How to create a simple MSI installer using WiX

Lately I was told at work to create an installer for our new product. Till that moment I used to create exe installers with Inno Setup which has many advantages: it’s easy-to-use, powerfull and (the most important 🙂 ) I used it so many times that creating a new installer is a matter of minutes. But this time I heard a big ‘no-no’ for an exe – it had to be msi.
I created a simple “Setup Project” in Visual Studio, played with it for a while and hoped that will work as expected. Well, it worked, but I was told it needed some customizations (graphics, custom dialogs, launching the installed application after install). After doing some googling I was able to do all those things by editing the setup project and modifying the output MSI with Orca. But because every time I needed to create that installer for the new version I had to do some things (for example in Orca) manually – I really hated this solution. So I used google again and I found a really cool, freeware toolset called WiX which does everything I needed. You just create a XML-like file describing the installer and the toolset creates the MSI for you. Great!

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