Tuesday, July 22, 2014

XML File Changes in InstallShield and Advanced Installer

If you work with .NET Projects, there is a good chance that you will need to work with XML Files due to the .config files associated with most .NET projects (especially ASP.NET Projects).

Both InstallShield and Advanced Installer offer mechanisms to deploy XML Files.

Unfortunately, however, whenever you make changes to the Web.config file (such as through .NET Framework Upgrades), you will need to do one of the following:

  1. Re-import the XML File
  2. Make the necessary changes manually to the XML File in InstallShield or Advanced Installer to correspond to the changes you made as part of your project.
In most cases, if the changes are anything but very minor, I would recommend that you simply re-import the entire XML/Config file to ensure that all of your changes are deployed when you deploy the newer version of your installation package.  Because, as you can guess, if you forget any elements/nodes in the XML File/Config File, this will result in errors when you launch your application.

Neither of these IDEs seem to offer any capability to dynamically detect or provide differencing capabilities between the imported XML File and what currently exists on the file system to determine how best to deploy your changes as part of your installation package, so it seems a better choice overall to simply do a re-import even though that will definitely be additional effort to re-customize the XML File in the installation IDE.

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