I've recently been picking up various utilities to integrate with Team Foundation Server when I downloaded TfsDeployerSetup.msi.
I dropped the package in my COTS_ARCHIVE area and went to my integration machine to install the package. After executing the double click pattern the MSI initialization dialog appeared and then it exited. The product was installed. Oh my, good thing this is my test machine and it's a simple package!
Now unfortunatly this is not the first time I've seen setup developers create a UI-less installer. In fact, I've seen it so many times that I didn't really need to examine the MSI to know what toolset it was written in. Sure enough, there it was:
Windows Installer XML v3.0.1821.0 (candle/light)
Now I know WiX is all about not letting setup developers author `Bad` MSI's and I suppose if you only go by one persons definition of bad, they have succeeded. I'm going to go old school for a moment... before Windows Installer there was Bullet Proof Installs. One of the patterns that I've ALWAYS believed in was the User Interview and Confirmation pattern ( aka the Next, Next, Install, Finished pattern).
Every, I repeat EVERY stand alone installer should have a UI Sequence that greets the user, gets all needed information, checks for failure conditions and prompts the user one final point of no return before making any changes to the machine.
But it seems that because WiX is too primitive of a toolset to possibly assist the developer in authoring a decent UI experience then UI must simply not be important these days. The result is many converted WiX developers seem to think it's enough to throw together a few xml elements and build it. After all.... Setup is easy, right?
Now I'm sure TFSDeployer will probably be a really cool tool, but if your going to treat setup like a UI-less Xcopy, I'm not sure why you'd even bother with WiX/MSI. I personally don't think a properly behaving install just automatically installs it self without any confirmation simply by clicking the msi.