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Dealing with a side effect of sxs.

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Mathucub

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I've you've been following my posts at this point you are almost
ready to install as many versions of your application on a system as you want.

Ready for another speed bump?
WinSxS is really only appropriate for compiled code:
You will have to change your distribution to place files in a versioned
location and you will have to change the application to read and write
registry keys from a versioned hive path.

In out case we distribute precompiled and encrypted shaders. The interfaces
for these can, and has, changed frequently. There is no guarantee that shaders
from version 1.0 will work with 2.0. We decided to move the shaders to program
files.

If you are running a 32bit app on a 64bit windows: program files will instead
be \program files (x86). Installing to a spanish language machine?--It will be
\Archivos de Programas. It is never safe to assume that it will just be
"C:\Program Files."

To make it worse, if you are using InstallShield and letting the user install
custom locations you can't do any inferring about where the app is installed.

You will have to place the install directory in the registry.
Your hive/registry key needs to look something like this:
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MyCompany\MyProduct 1.0\...

You're going to need a MSI custom Action. WiX is really awesome
and helps you make them for C#. My installer is an older c++ dll,
so you will have a to cross-reference for the new call [or PInvoke
into msi.dll]

You need link against msi.lib and have a function like:

UINT __stdcall MSIMyAppInstall(MSIHANDLE hInstall)


Inside your function, you can call "MsiGetProperty" with your handle
and the provided hInstall. It lets you query your MSI properties--
in this case we want the last token of our "INSTALLDIR":
"\Program Files\MyCompany\MyProduct 1.2.3.4"

Write your "INSTALLDIR" into that registry key and you app(s)
will be able to find their support files no matter where the user
(or os) decided to hide them.

In a future post I'll show how to use the InstallShield automation
interface to automatically update your target, versioned, "[INSTALLDIR]".
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