Votive is the Visual Studio package for WiX that lets you create and build WiX setup projects using the Visual Studio IDE. Votive supports syntax highlighting and IntelliSense for .wxs source files and adds a WiX setup project type to Visual Studio.
Although Votive was first introduced in WiX v2, the version 2 release is considered a "first look" preview release and is not considered stable or feature-rich. No new development is being done on version 2. In contrast, version 3 is a lot more stable and feature rich and is actively being developed. It is highly recommended that you use Votive, version 3.
In order to install and use Votive, you need to have the following prerequisites installed:
- Visual Studio 2005 or 2008 Standard Edition (or higher). Votive will not work on the Express SKUs of Visual Studio. Make sure to have Visual Studio closed before installing.
- ProjectAggregator2.msi, which is available here. This is a small COM component that the Visual Studio SDK framework requires. It has very minimum impact on your system and has a clean uninstall. This is only required for Visual Studio 2005. For Visual Studio 2008, this is no longer a requirement.
- IntelliSense for the Wix project files
- Project templates for building MSIs, MSMs, and wixlibs from within Visual Studio 2005
- MSBuild support - the .wixproj file format is an MSBuild file so you can build your Votive projects from within Visual Studio or from the command line outside of Visual Studio
- Wixlibs and extensions are supported by adding them to the project references - in v2 only wixlibs were supported
- Source Code Control (SCC) support - Wix projects can be stored in any standard SCC system that works within Visual Studio
For up to date information and other various tips go to Justin Rockwood's (JRock's) blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/jrock.