Microsoft retires Visual Studio Installer projects, replaces with InstallShield

This isn’t breaking or current, but it’s pretty startling to hear the word InstallShield on its own; to hear it will be combined with Visual Studio is just down right scary. Our future is now going to be filled with skinned installers and “Preparing to install” dialogs, even more so than now.

Anyway, I originally received this tip via a newsletter from Flextera Software, the current folks handling the InstallShield product. The only official communication from Microsoft I could find on the matter is in the announcement header of the “ClickOnce and Setup & Deployment Projects” MSDN forum, back in July. Very classy.

In Visual Studio 2010, we have partnered with Flexera, makers of InstallShield, to create InstallShield Limited Edition 2010 just for Visual Studio 2010 customers. The InstallShield Limited Edition 2010 offers comparable functionality to the Visual Studio Installer projects. In addition, you can build your deployment projects using Team Foundation Server and MSBuild. For more information, see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/deployment_technologies/archive/2010/04/20/installshield-limited-edition-is-available-for-download-in-visual-studio-2010.aspx.

With InstallShield available, the Visual Studio Installer project types will not be available in future versions of Visual Studio. To preserve existing customer investments in Visual Studio Installer projects, Microsoft will continue to support the Visual Studio Installer projects feature that shipped with Visual Studio 2010 and below as per our product life-cycle strategy. For more information, see Expanded Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy for Business & Development Products.

Candy Chiang
Program Manager Visual Studio Deployment

What do you guys think about this? Would you rather have seen Windows Installer XML (WiX) take its place? Has anyone tinkered with InstallShield Limited Edition?