On the topic of MSI validation tools and thick skin.

The short blog entry I made last night about the MSN Toolbar Suite Beta setup needing validation is getting a little bit of circulation right now.  So, I decided to check out the trackbacks and noticed that Michael Sanford was linked.  I hadn't been by his blog in a while wandered around for a bit.  I then found this blog entry about the recent discussion in the wix-users mailing list.  The update to that blog entry was particularly disturbing.

Michael, I think you took the jokes a bit too personally.  I was personally amused by Orion's "Orca comment" and thought I'd point out that msival2.exe was a better comparison to the tool described.  Seriously, it was all just in jest.  That's why there were smiley's and <wink/>s in the emails.  I even tried to follow up by noting that I was just trying to be funny.

Anyway, I'm posting this short entry to capture two ideas I had after reading (and re-reading) all that data:

1.  MSI validation is too hard.  Michael's points in his blog entry and the mail to wix-users are correct.  You want validation to be easy to incorporate in the build lab and you want errors to be reported well.  Until, Michael mentioned this tool, I had completely forgotten about the work I did in Office four or five years ago to translate the msival2.exe output into XML (back before XML was really cool) and make it easier to work with in the build lab.  So, maybe we should get a better tool in the WiX toolset to help deal with ICE CUBe files?  But, that brings me to my second point.

2.  A clear message and thick skin are useful when pitching a new idea.  First, I'm going to apologize for not first accepting Michael's idea with open arms instead of a quick quip.  Second, I'm going to admit that I will continue to miss the point sometimes when answering emails.  I get a lot of questions and sometimes I miss the salient point.  So, while I'll try to always be friendly and open-minded, I'm going to ask that if you're pitching a new idea, please try to be very clear in your messaging.  Also, be prepared for pushback on your idea.  It is not always immediately clear why your new idea is the best thing since sliced bread and may require some explanation.  Don't take offense.  Listen to the pushback and see if there is any validity to the counter-arguments.  Finally, respond and if there is validity to the counter-arguments be sure to recognize them (you can try to address/mitigate them after people agree the idea has merit).  These are the steps I try to follow. when operating with an open mind.

Comments (6)

  1. Dang! This blogging thing works good! 😉

    Your point about the need for thick skin is well made and taken! I probably could have done a better job of selling the need and not just the solution. What the heck — I guess we both learned something!

  2. If people were following the the WIX-Users Mailing list, they would find that it has been a little hot recently. The first instance (as far as my knowledge goes) was with Michael creating a validation tool for the WIX Toolset called ‘smoke’. I personally

  3. Luke Melia says:

    Hi Rob, I know this post is pretty old, but I was wondering if there was a current recommended approach for integrating MSI validation into an automated build process?



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