Specifying Source Files

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about use cases for source file location abstractions. Some tools like Visual Studio Deployment Projects provide no abstraction and other tools such as InstallShield provide abstractions (Path Variables) based on environment variables, registry values and/or command line arguments.

Then there is Wix can use different types of compiler inferences and preprocessor variables and/or extensions.

Obviously this can get very complicated so I’m curious, what is your favorite way to roll and why? What do you need and what could you live without?

5 thoughts on “Specifying Source Files

  1. Colbey

    I write build scripts for Installshield and Wise. At its simplest I have used drive mappings to different areas with a predefined file and folder structure to enable the building of different versions of the product with the same source file and build script with minor configuration changes that can happen at build time.

    The most sophisticated involved build scripts that supported full wild card selections of files and folders from specified areas and insertion into the msi at build time. This allowed for far more flexible install development as the developers could simply add additional files to the build area and they would be picked up by the install, ideal for rapid development for proof of concepts for example but needs to be carefully managed or it can get out of control.

    Is that what you’re asking for?

  2. Stefan Kuhr

    I dunno if this is what you mean, but on my dev machines and my WiX scripts I specify source file locations like this:

    \127.0.0.1applic$project-namebinfilename

    This way, the parent directory of all projects (the share named applic$) can be wherever it wants to be on each dev machine. Is this what you were asking for?

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