Can you turn the new ReSharper Installer (>9.0) into a product?

Answered

Hi,

me and my colleagues have been struggling to find a proper installer system for years now.

To me personally the MSI technology from Microsoft and all related things (WiX Toolset, MSIX, etc.) are just pure horror.

They are cumbersome, error-prone, virtually non-debug-able, interact badly with installer GUIs, interact badly with Windows (hidden UAC popups anyone?), etc.  I think by now I could write an entire book what is wrong with the installer world on Windows and it wouldn't be a small one. After endless googling sessions I was not able to find a proper installer system that doesn't make developers want to hurt themselves. [1]

Currently we are using Wix# (WixSharp, https://github.com/oleg-shilo/wixsharp ) which basically allows you to write C# and use WinForms/WPF to create a installer GUI which is then fed into a WiX generator, spitting out an XML which then again is finally turned into MSI. While I admire the efforts of the creator of WixSharp, if we are really honest he is smearing tons of lipstick on a pig that is called MSI.

Then I noticed the new ReSharper installer, which seems to be not MSI based. From what I can tell it is using a WPF gui, nuget packages and is basically wrapped in a self-extracting exe.

Now to my question:

Is there any chance in the world JetBrains could turn this into a generic product that all Windows developers could use?

Specifically I'm looking for an installer system, that

- can be fully configured/programmed using a high level language, preferably C#

- is fully debug-able

- does not rely on some shitty macro, XML, pascal-derived, pseudo script language (Yes, I know, lots of shots fired here..)

- has seamless UI integration, e.g with WinForms or WPF

- has a proper installer lifecycle that can be access and modified at any stage

- is backed by an established company or a multi-person open source project

 

I'm pretty sure I am not alone being tired of all the suffering that building installers bring these days. To me, depending on the complexity, those install packages are full blown programs and nobody should have to put up with the current subpar installer systems that are around today. In fact I, would love to hear the reasons why JetBrains decided to move away from their MSI-based installer with ReSharper.

 

Thank you for considering

Best regards

jw

[1] I have more or less looked at everything listed here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_installation_software , feel free to suggest reasonable alternatives.

2 comments
Official comment

Hi Joerg!

There is pretty old but still actual article about our own installer and problems we tried to solve.

ReSharper Unified NuGet-based Installer. How?

Also, article's summary is also still actual:

> ReSharper unified installer is a high-tech piece of software. Unfortunately, it is too bound to the ReSharper component model, metadata and application model,
> meaning we can’t share it without sharing our build system, project organization pattern and application model. 

Hi Slava,

thanks for your response. I actually managed to miss this blog post somehow..

As far as I see the JetBrains product lineup, it is targeted at offering solutions for the entire software development life cycle. From issue tracking over IDEs and actual languages to a build server.

Wouldn't software deployment tools be a fitting match for the existing realm of products?

I can understand that it would be difficult turning a deeply integrated toolchain into a product.

With all the lessons learned from the ReSharper installer, has JetBrains ever thought about creating a new product leveraging this knowledge?

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