MAKEMSI quickly and reliably creates MSI files in a non-programmatic way
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Minimal Examples and Why They Are Important

If you wish to contact anyone (probably me) about a question you have or to report a possible MAKEMSI bug (or in some cases even to make a suggestion) then in almost all but the most trivial cases it pays to create a "minimal" and "standalone" testcase.

Please supply all files zipped up in an archive to ensure they arrive intact without any conversions by your or my email clients or web middleware components etc. For example, I don't have to unwrap lines or worry about possible code page changes altering characters (which have happened in the past).

An example of the freeware 7ZIP with an opened archive:

What is a Minimal Testcase?

The attributes of a minimal and stand-alone example are:

  1. Me or anyone else can unzip the attachment into a empty subdirectory and immediately build it as it contains all required files including any required source files that the MAKEMSI script might require.

    Test this for yourself, unzip the file you are about to send into a new location and ensure it is complete. Ideally this would be on a new machine or it may find files you haven't included. Double check it reproduces the issue, there have been many times that I have wasted my time on a perfectly working piece of code because the person sending it assumed it would display the problem!!!!

  2. It doesn't contain any more than what is required, this means that you have probably spend significant (non-trivial) time reducing the problem down to its basics and have probably therefore eliminated something you have done to cause the issue. I get many MAKEMSI problem reports where this turns out not to be the case. While I'm happy to help, I don't get paid to help you solve your problems. A minimal testcase is much easier for all of us to diagnose and fix any problem.

    Some examples:

    This can take a while to do, in the meantime you could give me a "heads up" indicating that you are working on a minimal example, I may have an answer or I may be able to do some preliminary checking.

  3. It documents any special steps that are required and clearly states what you think is the problem, for example by what did or didn't happen. Many times people have simply misunderstood what something does, or they have assumed I'm psychic.

  4. If you need to show me a "good" and "bad" (or simply slightly different) variations then please don't make me uncomment lines or change commands, supply me all versions, and tell me what to do.

You probably want to include the generated msi (if not too big) and log files such as the "*.dbg.txt" file (in which case consider turning "DBG_ALL" to "Y").


Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.Please email me any feedback, additional information or corrections.
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Sunday August 13 2017 at 2:39pm
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Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.