The Idea

As you have experienced yourself developing a web application isn’t that easy and quite time consuming. You spend a lot of hours thinking about software design, security problems and of course how to improve end user’s usability.

On the other hand a lot of your users or potential customers have only a limited knowledge about software development or webserver configuration options. For them it’s rather difficult to e.g. “add the appropriate access rights” on a folder or to setup a database. It’s really sad that a lot of people fail or get annoyed by just installing a web application and of course that isn’t the best first impression they should get from your software either.

Seeing an ever growing market for dedicated server systems or virtual private servers (VPS, VSERVER: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vps) starting at low prices and running the Windows Server 2003 operating system it is time to rethink if there are other installing methods available.

If your users have access to a (virtual) dedicated server system they can utilize remote desktop connections to manage it. They can and are used to install software the way they’ve learned to do it on their desktop PCs by just clicking trough a nice little wizard.


The nice little wizard we’ll create in this document will be capable of:
  • Creating a new website
  • Adding a virtual directory to an existing website
  • Creating an application pool and setting up a website/folder as ASP.NET / PHP / Perl application
  • Creating a new Microsoft SQL or MySQL Database, Logins and Users
  • Configuring your web application (e.g. web.config) and setting values collected in wizard mode
  • A lot of user guidance, messages and validations

The process of building your own installer package consists of 3 steps:
  • Set up the environment
  • Creating a template for your application (using GenerateConfig.bat)
  • Customizing this application for your needs (WixEdit)


Any feedback – good or bad – is highly appreciated… So please drop us a line. Tell us what application you’ve created an installer for or if you have experienced any problems with this documentation or the generated msi file itself. If you have any questions – we’ll be glad to help (t-sebasg@microsoft.com and bfrank@microsoft.com).

Last edited Oct 29, 2007 at 3:09 PM by bernhardfrank, version 1

Comments

rakesh188 Apr 16, 2009 at 5:45 PM 
First of all this is a great tool... Is there a provision for "Patch Management"?
Thanks