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WiX v3.8 acceleration

No plan survives contact with the enemy. – Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

It’s time for a change of plans for WiX v3.8. The plans I previously posted about need some adjusting. The goal of updating the MPF for Votive in Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013 is a good one and one we need to do…but maybe not now.

Updating Votive to use the latest MPF causes some bad side effects:

  • Increases the risk of destabilizing Votive in general, and especially for Visual Studio 2008 which will still be deprecated in WiX v3.8.
  • Is turning into more work than I’d been hoping for.
  • Is not easily worked on by multiple people at once.

That increases the risk that it will take longer to ship v3.8 than we’d hoped. Or at least it decreases my confidence in hitting the dates I outlined. So the easiest thing to do is short-circuit the big work item: Rather than refactor Votive for the new MPF, WiX v3.8 will ship Votive as it’s currently built. This is how we currently treat Votive for Visual Studio 2012 too.

All the other work we’ve opened in v3.8 stays in scope. At the online semiweekly triage meetings, we look at untriaged bugs to see if they are high-enough priority to get tagged for the v3.8 release.

I’ve already made the changes necessary to get Votive installed for Visual Studio 2013. You can see them in this pull request. There’s still other Visual Studio 2013-related work but it’s relatively small in scope.

Dates or at least dates for dates

With this reduction in scope, I believe the following dates are achievable with moderate-to-high confidence:

  • End of October: WiX v3.8 Release Candidate with all planned Visual Studio 2013 functionality
  • End of November: WiX v3.8 RTM

These dates also avoid December and its many holidays – for some reason, people prefer parties and cookies over beta testing.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll get an idea how likely we are to release a release candidate that’s relatively free of bugs and how that impacts the planned RTM date. But for now, we’ll work against those dates.

So when does the Votive work happen?

If we’re successful in shipping WiX v3.8 RC with few bugs, we can start working on Votive and other v3.x bugs in a new branch right away. Let’s call it WiX v3.9. We have more time to figure out the “theme” for WiX v3.9 and how long that release will take. Maybe it’s just Votive 2013 and some bug fixes. Maybe it’s a bunch of accumulated feature requests. We can decide that next month!