Monday, March 21, 2016

Setup and Deployment (Installer) project for Visual Studio Community 2015

For a long time, Microsoft took out the Setup and Deployment project template from the free Visual Studio Express and Community editions. While you could code and develop Visual Studio projects, it was not possible to create an installer directly from within Visual Studio itself. You would have to use 3rd party solutions like Nullsoft's NSIS. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found an official Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Installer extension that can be downloaded and installed to create installers from within Visual Studio Community.

The extension can be obtained by the following steps:

  1. In Visual Studio Community 2015, select Tools | Extensions and Updates.

    The Extensions and Updates dialog box appears.
  2.  In the left pane, select Online. Then in the Search text box, type in a search string e.g. Visual Studio Installer. Press RETURN.

    A list of extensions is displayed.
  3. Select the extension Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Installer Project. Click Download.

    The file VSI_Bundle.exe is downloaded.
  4. Run the downloaded VSI_Bundle.exe file.

    The extension is installed.
From now on, a new Visual Studio Installer project can be created within Visual Studio 2015 Community, as shown below. 

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