A while back, I wrote a post with my opinion about managed code custom actions – http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/03/10/392280.aspx. Essentially, I recommend avoiding using them in an MSI-based setup because of the extra complexity they introduce to the installation process.
This week, I noticed that Rob Mensching wrote an interesting analysis of issues surrounding supporting managed code custom actions in MSI-based setups in a recent blog post at http://robmensching.com/blog/archive/2007/04/19/Managed-Code-CustomActions-no-support-on-the-way-and-heres.aspx. His blog post presents much more concrete details about the potential dangers that managed code custom actions introduce to a setup. It also describes some higher level strategic reasons that Windows Installer does not officially support/endorse managed code custom actions.
If you are a setup developer, Rob’s blog post is a very informative read and hopefully it will encourage you to do the following:
- Avoid custom actions entirely if at all possible
- Investigate the WiX built-in custom actions if you find a setup action that is not natively supported in Windows Installer
- If you have to write custom action code, do not use managed code when doing so