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I'm Ryan Lowe, a Software Engineering graduate living in Ottawa, Canada. I like agile software development and Ruby on Rails.
I write this blog in Canadian English and don't use a spell checker. Typos happen.
» Full-time Ruby on Rails freelancer
» Full-time with Rails since May 2005
» Former committer for RadRails (now Aptana)
» I also have a few Rails side-projects in development:
1. wheretogoinTO.com Toronto nightlife
2. Hey Heads Up! TODO list and sharing
3. Layered Genealogy family history research
4. foos for foosball scoring
5. fanconcert for music fans (on hold)
Hiring Rails developers? I can telecommute by the hour from Ottawa, Canada
»» Email: rails AT ryanlowe DOT ca
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Derek Lowe's (Ryan's older brother) words at Ryan's funeral
firstname.lastname@example.org no more
Forging Email Headers: Good, Bad or Ugly?
Sarcastic Dictionary (Part 1 of Many)
Twisting Rails is Risky Business
Risky Business? My Take on Early Alphas
Whoa, it's August 2007
A Postscript to "Growth at the grassroots"
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WiX Plugin for Eclipse?
I've been learning WiX over the past week and so far have found nothing in terms of using it with Java or Eclipse. So here's a blog entry to be picked up by Google to gauge interest in the idea and let people post comments pointing to resources for Wix and Java combos.
WiX is a tool to generate setup files for Windows released as open source (CPL) by Microsoft last year. It is maintained/lead by Rob Mensching. The generated setup files are a relatively new format (MSI) that can be executed just like setup EXE files.
WiX uses XML markup to specify the installer settings and uses a compiler and linker-like system to get to the final MSI file. WiX runs on .NET and has dependencies on the Windows Setup APIs so it cannot be run on Mono (a Linux port of the .NET framework and Common Language Runtime (CLR)).
The good thing about WiX is that it's already being used internally by several large Microsoft teams (including Office) as well as externally by teams like MySQL. Even though it's still officially in beta this really looks good!
There are already people working on better RCP application export functionality for Eclipse. It would be even better if you could just export a Windows installer straight from Eclipse. Eclipse already knows all of the required files for each plugin.
Even though WiX is an open source tool there are a few minor issues I see integrating it with a development environment like Eclipse.
First off, WiX is Windows only and that makes a WiX Eclipse plugin Windows only. There are very few examples of Eclipse plugins that only work on one platform. To counter this there could be RCP installer exporters specifically for Mac OS X and Linux as well.
Secondly, WiX requires the .NET framework and Microsoft Setup APIs that cannot be deployed with the plugin and must be installed separately. This is a minor annoyance but certainly not a barrier. Eclipse already requires the separate installation of Java, of course.
Lastly, there are people that prefer to use Ant to build Java projects and do not necessarily setup their project plugins properly to export installers. They may also want to generate an installer for a timestamped/versioned Ant build after the fact, something completely independent from Eclipse. Ant builds are nice because a) they can be automated (ie. nightly) and b) they are more consistent and are less error-prone than "hand-building" an installer. I haven't seen any WiX integration with Ant either unfortunately.
There's already buzz about WiX integration in Visual Studio 2005. Someone -- possibly even the Eclipse team -- may want to try to beat Microsoft at their own game on this one.
A real Windows installer exporter from Eclipse would be excellent!
That's funny -- just before I published this I noticed this post from Ed Burnette pointing out XtremeJ RCP Builder which uses NSIS instead of WiX. I wonder how NSIS features and WiX features stack up against each other...Posted at February 07, 2005 at 11:34 AM EST
Last updated February 07, 2005 at 11:34 AM EST