A few weeks ago I posted recommendations for structuring your WSSX cabinet files and installer packages. I also promised to post some magic automation techniques to make building *.wssx files much, much easier.
The magic part is coming in the next post, because we still need to cover some foundations properly!
To that end, I’ve put together a custom Visual Studio 2010 project type that allows you to manage your *.wssx build process in the same way you manage every other project in your solution.
It’s now up on the Visual Studio Gallery for download as an extension. Here’s the blurb:
Adds support to Visual Studio 2010 for *.wssx cabinet files required to distribute Windows Server Solutions SDK Add-Ins for Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.
- Complete Visual Studio 2010 project type that fully automates creating *.wssx files
- Full makecab automation
- Full MSBuild support and integration points
- Automatic packaging of project reference outputs and content items
- Post-package signing support
- Includes templates for required Add-In metadata files
- Add a new WSSX project (File –> New Project –> WSSX –> WSSX Add-In Package)
- Add your server and client installer projects to your WSSX project as References
- Edit AddIn.xml to point to the correct installer file names and ProductCodes
Learn more about this project type and automating Windows Server Solutions Add-In builds at the Tentacle Software Blog.
Basically, you don’t have to mess around with building your own DDF files or running MAKECAB as part of your post-build process; we handle all that for you. Add the files and project outputs to the WSSX project that you want to be included in the cabinet and we take care of the rest.
I’ve also created a new WSSX category for the blog that will contain our recommendations for using the new project type, automation tips, and general tutorials.
The automation techniques I’ll talk about soon will be based on this project type, so go download it and have a play in the meantime. Feedback is always welcome!