For Windows admins, the Windows Installer service has made life considerably easier. MSI packages are now far, far easier to install than what went before. IT Pros will know the value of using MSI packages with Group Policies and how to achieve it. In my training classes, it’s clear that some delegates know and love the concept but are less clued in on some of the details. A great way to learn more about how MS technologies work is to read the System Development Kit (SDK) documentation. SDKs are produced mainly for developer to help them understand how to program against a set of API, in this case how create MSI packages and how to use the Windows Installer service.
Over on Rob Menshing’s Open Uninstalled blog, I saw a post noting that the MSI SDK was not ranked very well in “major search engines”. That’s a shame as there’s a lot of good information here, including:
- The SDK Documentation (online) - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc185688.aspx. Start from here and you can navigate to the other sections.
- The Windows Installer Documentation Roadmap - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa371366(VS.85).aspx. This shows what documents exist and what they contain
- What’s new - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa372796(VS.85).aspx. This is a series of pages explaining what’s new in each version, including versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.1, 4.0, and 4.5. Version 4.5 ships with Windows Server 2008 and Vista (and can be used on Win2k, Server 2003, and XP).
- Windows Installer Guide - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa372845(VS.85).aspx. More information on aspects of the windows installer technology.
- Windows Installer Examples – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa372837(VS.85).aspx. See it work!
There’s some great information here about the underpinnings of MSI packages and the Windows Installer service. It can help IT Pros understand more about how the technology works and will make them more comfortable. Rob’s blog is also a source of more information on both the Installer Technology and the WIX toolkit.
And hopefully, Robs and my blog articles will improve search ranking.