Has anyone attempted automate a .MSI creation?

For example...  Let's say you have a package.  Every other week an update of a few files come down to be inserted into the package.  The new files and all of the information would have to be input into the appropriate tables, and a new product code generated.  The appname is always the same so this isn't an issue, we would simply uninstall / re-install.  The app uses a command line switch which enables me to install 1 flavor of an updated .exe over another. 

The automated installation should take into consideration that there may be custom actions added at some point. 

My opinion is that it doesn't sound reasonable to expect something like this to ever work, at least not in the way a .MSI is configured today.  That being said, the .MSI's I'm creating are fairly small and fairly easy. 

How about .Manifest file generation without a utility such as Manifest maker?  Can that be automated as well.  Wisecomcapture.exe is an Okay utility but I find that using Wise9 to capture the registry key's works much more consistent than wisecomcapture for this type of thing.  Wisecomcapture seems to miss an awful lot of keys that wise9 picks up effortlessly.


Thanks for your input.

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Community Chosen Answer

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One word: Wix.

It'll do the auto-generation stuff but not automating the installation. That can be scripted, as the WI object model is well documented.
Answered 12/13/2017 by: VBScab
Red Belt

  • hey all I thought I would poke my nose in here.. WiX is king for automated content. for your question about manifesting look here. http://wixtoolset.org/documentation/manual/v3/xsd/wix/file.html

    for your questions about custom actions.

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa368062(v=vs.85).aspx
    https://installpac.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/conflict-management-in-wix/

    note: make sure you read the comments somewhere in there i realised i was wrong. ;-) lolz.

    dont waste your time with wise com capture wix is designed to handle all that. You need to look into heat for this.

    http://wixtoolset.org/documentation/manual/v3/overview/heat.html

    ps hi Ed / VBScab ... ltns ..
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Answers

1
It is perfectly possible to automate MSI creation and I have done this using the macro language in Wise Package Studio as well as using the automation object as mentioned by VBScab. The MSI SDK has a whole library of examples in vbscript to help you too.
Answered 12/13/2017 by: EdT
Red Belt

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One way to achieve this is to build MSI via capturing all the system changes, which the source installation makes. You now have an MSI project. Then, each time you need to change those few files, you manually add them to the project and with one click of a button simple re-build the MSI.

This method will only work if you get the new file separately. If you get a new EXE each week, this approach will not work as you will need to recapture all the system changes from scratch. Also, unfortunately, this approach will not automate adding custom actions.
Answered 12/14/2017 by: pace-support
Third Degree Brown Belt

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