Archive for the ‘Code’ Category

Bootstrap Manifest Generator (2008) – How To Guide v2

3 March, 2011 6 comments

I wrote the original Boostrap Manifest Generator (BMG) blog post a few years ago.

It is one of the most heavily visited pages on my site so I thought I should revisit it, and given that the BMG is so buggy it could be useful to have some screen shots.

I will provide 2 concrete examples of how to use the BMG to create a bootstrapper pre-requisite check.

All this is being done on a Windows 7 32-bit (Virtual) machine, with visual studio 2010 installed.

I have also downloaded and installed the BMG2008 which can be downloaded from here

The application that I am going to bootstrap is a small test application called “GuidGenerator”, can you guess what it does?

I will be using a standard setup deployment project to create the installer.

Here goes..

Setup BMG 2008

  1. Download the BMG2008 from here
  2. Install the application and note the path that it is installed to as it does not create a short cut, (C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Bootstrapper Manifest Generator for VS2008), and create your own desktop shortcut
  3. Run the BMG
  4. Click “Tools :: Edit Machine Paths”
  5. You may get a message about the SDK not being installed etc etc. Get past the error message and you will need to set the path to your boot strap directory. Do a search on your file system for “bootstrapper” and you will find a folder somewhere like this (note the SDK path)
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bootstrapper
    Enter that into the path and choose OK.

    You are now ready to create a bootstrapper

    Note: This bootstrapper folder is important – read the tips and tricks at the end.

Example 1 – .Net Framework 4.0 Pre-requisite Check

  1. Download the DotNet framework full install from Microsoft here, and save to a location that you can find, mine is @ c:\Downloads\dotNetFx40_Full_x86_x64.exe
  2. Run the BMG
  3. Click “File New”
  4. Choose “Package Manifest”, choose OK
  5. Choose “Add Install File”, (button in the top left)

  6. Browse to the .Net Framework that you downloaded earlier and click OK
  7. Display Name: enter a name for the bootstrapper, this is the name of the pre-requisite check that will show up in visual studio. I will call mine “My .net Framework 4.0 Check”
  8. Click back on the “Package” option which is the root of the tree menu on the left and set the Product Name to DotNet4Check – this becomes the name of the folder that the package is created in.
    Note: You have to do it in this order as if you set the package name before adding a file it crashes the BMG.
  9. Click into the product code field and it will default with the “Product Name” just set, (otherwise this can throw a warning if left blank).
  10. System Checks
      You want to setup a system check that fails if the condition is not met, or alternatively by-pass the install if a condition is met.
      If it fails the check then it will prompt the user that they need to install the pre-requisite.

      For the .Net Framework I have chosen to do a simple registry check for the .Net Framework version.

    • Switch to the system checks tab
    • Click on the registry check (2nd icon in the list)
    • Property for Result: DotNet4RegCheck (note: this is the name of the check that is used later in the “Install Conditions” tab
    • Enter the following registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full
    • Registry Value: Version
  11. Install Conditions
    • Switch to the install conditions tab. This is where we define when our installer should be run.
    • Type: ByPassIf
    • Property: DotNet4RegCheck – (This is the name entered in the “Property for Result” field in the system check
    • Comparison: Ver >=
    • Value: 4.0.30319
  12. Exit Codes
    Set the following: (Note: I am cheating as I am reverse engineering the .Net bootstrapper that comes with VS2010 to get these exit codes

      0 – Success
      3010 – Success with reboot

    Leave all the other options with their defaults

  13. Build: Now we can build the package, (button top right)
  14. Results, note that in my case it succeeded with no errors, and the path contains the folder name that I entered in the product name field.

  15. Copy: Go to the output directory and copy the “DotNet4Check” folder to “C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bootstrapper\Packages”
  16. Setup Project
    1. My project looks like this:

    2. Right Cick on the Setup Project and choose properites
    3. On the properties window Click the “Pre-Requisites” button.
    4. Deselect anything that is selected that you do not require and choose your check.

    5. In this case I am going to say – “Download prerequisites from the same location as my application”
    6. Build the setup solution in release mode.
    7. Copy the release directory somewhere to a machine missing the pre-requisites. The release directory should look something like this, because we chose to set the download from the same location.

    8. Run the installer and you will see this…

Example 2 – .Net Framework 4.0 Pre-requisite Check – web download

In this example we want to supply a web download version of the installer so you don’t have to distribute the requisite files with your installer.

This will be identical to the previous example with these changes:

  1. After adding the file you get the Properties tab. Enter the URL from the tips below in the “HomeSite URL” setting.
    I used – for the .Net 4.0 Framework. (remember you must right-click and choose paste).

  2. When setting up the package pre-requisites choose to “Download Pre-requisites from the package vendors website”.

Repeat all the other steps and when you choose “install” from the bootstrap prompt you should get a message that it is downloading.

Tips and Tricks

  • The “Bootstrapper” directory is your friend (on my machine “C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bootstrapper”).
    If you have access to a VS2010 installed machine and go to the bootstrap directory and into the Packages folder and you will find bootstrappers for 19 different things, including .Net 3.5/4.0 and Client installation versions.
    I suspect if you took a copy of the packages folder back to your older VS2005/2008 environment you would get the pre-requisites.
  • If you don’t intend to setup exit conditions don’t switch to the “Exit Conditions tab”. if you do it will put an empty condition in that throws a warning at build time. The only way to get rid of it is to enter 0 / Success.
  • I suspect for things like .Net you want the user to be able to download the .exe directly. Here are the URL’s provided by the .Net bootstrappers installed with VS2010.

    These are the small web installer based versions

  • My web install failed because on my Install I happened to click into the “Value” field and it put the following “N/A for ValueExists and ValueNotExists”. This created an “unexpected error” on install.
    I went into the product.xml file and set value=”” and it worked.
Categories: c#, Code

List<object> Find with delegate

11 March, 2008 Leave a comment

Thought this was really cool.

I have a generic List of objects, for example:

List<User> users = GetAllUsers();

I want to find a user by username. Usually you would loop through looking for the item with the matching username and return the user that was found.

or you could do this:

User loggedOnUser = users.Find(delegate(User u) { return u.Username == "jbloggs"; });

Much less code, and you could match on any property of the object that you wanted.


Categories: c#, Code

Dynamically creating user controls in code behind

27 February, 2008 Leave a comment

If you have a user control that you wish to dynamically add to your page the following will not work;

UserControl control = new UserControl()

The problem is that the control has not been successfully created and all the internal controls that make up the user control, like text boxes etc, will be null.

The way to create the control is with the “LoadControl()” statement.

UserControl control = LoadControl("~/controls/UserControl.ascx") as UserControl;

and now it will work.

Categories: c#, Code Tags: ,

Bootstrap Manifest Generator – How To Setup Custom Pre-Requisites

27 February, 2008 12 comments

Edit March 2011
I have just done a newer version of this page, with pictures, you may want to check it out here
BootStrap Manifest Generator (2008) – How To Guide v2

Original Post Feb 2008 Continued…

Recently I was attempting to create a deployment package that has customised pre-requisites i.e I wanted my installer to detect if AJAX Extensions 1.0 was installed and if not ask the user to install it.

I found this link talking about how to do it..

Which lead me to download the Bootstapper Manifest generator from

I was a bit lost with what to do so hopefully this will save you the pain I went though.

(Note: the BMG is really buggy. Most of the system checks don’t work, and once you add a file system check and save your project you can no longer open your bootstrap project. But given it is free it’s better than attempting to write the XML by hand)

As an example to create a pre-requisite for AJAX follow these steps:
  1. Run the BMG tool.
  2. Create a new Package Manifest. Give it a name, AJAX
  3. Add a file, choose the AJAX Extension installer .msi.
  4. Give it a name, this will be the name that appears in your installer so make it something nice like “Microsoft ASP .Net 2.0 AJAX Extensions 1.0”
  5. Build it.
Now if it builds have a look at the location that it is written to, it is a visual studio directory, so I thought to myself it must integrate with VS2005.
So open your Setup Project in visual studio, (in my case, a Web Setup Project). Right Click — Properties on the solution. There in the bottom right is the pre-requisite button.
Click on it and you should now see AJAX as an option.
Traps for young players
1. Copy paste
Inside the BGM copy and paste does not appear to work. The trick, is right click in the field and choose paste.
2. Download from web Option
If you want to download from the web enter the url for the .exe. I setup my own publically available spot to allow downloading these pre-requesites (rather than relying on the microsoft download site), as they migth change things. So I have a known static location to go download the AJAX Extensions msi.
3. System Checks
You should include a check to see whether AJAX is already installed.
In your manifest click on the file you added, and go to the “System Checks” tab. I found that most of the system checks did not work properly.
I found the one that did work was a file check, so I added a file check for System.Web.Extensions.dll in the default location
  • Add a File check. Set the file name to System.Web.Extensions.dll, turn off the search, and enter the default path to the ASP Net folder.
  • Switch to the “Install Conditions” tab and add a line that says:
    • Type – By Pass If
    • Property – AJAX (or the name you gave your system check)
    • Comparison  – Exists

Cheers and Goodluck

Categories: AJAX, Code Tags: ,