MAKEMSI - an astonishing design

12 AM May 2, 2006

MAKEMSI makes Windows .msi files. While MAKEMSI does everything it says on the tin, and seems stable and usable, it makes my brain turn inside out.

Last time I came across it, I spent quite a few hours trying to figure out how it works. Let’s see if I remember this correctly. You write a script with a text editor, then right click and tell MAKEMSI to do its magic:

  • MAKEMSI passes your script to PPWIZARD, a macro processor.
  • PPWIZARD expands the script out to REXX code.
  • The REXX code is run, producing a VBScript application.
  • The VBScript application uses an ActiveX API to manipulate a blank .msi file.

When the VBScript has finished poking and prodding the .msi file, your installer is done. Clever. Very, very clever.

By alang | # | Comments (0)
(Posted to Software Development and javablogs)
© 2003-2006 Alan Green