Microsoft has recently announced that the various “Visual Studio Installer” project templates that were included in Visual Studio 2010 will NOT be included in Visual Studio 2012. These project templates are used within Visual Studio 2010 to build Windows Installer setup packages for .NET applications.
I’m writing this post because one of the 2012 tutorials that was published during our recent DevPartner conferences was based on using these these project templates; it showed developers how to build an installation package for a simple windows application. I wanted let customers know that the specific mechanism taught during the tutorial will not work in future versions of Visual Studio.
Bear in mind, however, the end result of the tutorial is a “standard” Windows Installer MSI package, and many of the techniques and concepts presented are still very much applicable to building any Windows Installer packages using other products.
Unfortunately there will no longer be any free tools for building installations included with Visual Studio, so developers will likely have to select one of several third-party products (e.g. InstallShield) to build their installation packages.