Most applications have a standard setup process which basically involves installing files and creating registry entries. However, there are situations when the built-in Windows Installer actions are not sufficient for more complex deployment tasks.
In these cases the developer of the installation package is required to use Custom Actions. Advanced Installer greatly simplifies the overall complicated process of defining and using Custom Actions in your setup package.
Intuitive Custom Action management
Advanced Installer provides an intuitive interface that allows you to create a Custom Action with just a few mouse clicks, in the required installation sequence. Reordering Custom Actions is easy - just "drag" the item and "drop" it over the desired installation stage.
For simplicity, only the most common installation stages are visible by default, the other Standard Actions can easily be made visible if necessary.
Custom Action types
Advanced Installer has support for all the Custom Action types that can be used with Windows Installer packages. Whether you want to extend the capabilities of your installer by executing an EXE file, a VBScript or calling a function in a DLL, only a few mouse clicks are required to set it all up.
The inherent complexity of Custom Actions is due in part to the terminology used in the Windows Installer documentation to classify them. Even if you have never created MSI packages before, the meaningful Custom Action types used within Advanced Installer will make the whole concept a lot easier to understand.
Predefined Custom Actions
Advanced Installer provides several built-in Custom Actions for common installation tasks which you can readily use in your own packages, saving the time required to develop your own specialized Custom Actions.
Direct the users uninstalling your application to a survey page, open a file in the associated application, allow the registered users to select the license file from their hard-drive and more.
.NET Installer class actions
If you are deploying the .NET Framework as a Prerequisite for your application you have probably also developed custom managed code that you intend to execute at install time.
Advanced Installer allows you to launch an installed .NET assembly as a Custom Action provided that it contains a class which descends from the Installer class. You can also provide your .NET assembly with custom parameters.
WiX DTF custom actions
Through Deployment Tools Foundation, WiX provides a framework for easily and reliably writing managed code custom actions for Windows Installer. These custom actions can be used in any MSI-based setup, including the ones built with Advanced Installer.
See the How to create fully fledged C# custom actions user guide article for full development guidance.