Improved Visio WiX Setup (version 1.1) – Compiler Extension

I have improved the WiX project template by creating a real WiX compiler extension.
That is, now you can register Visio files with WiX like this (minimalistic example includes just one extra line to publish file):

            <File Name="Stencil_1_M.vss">
              <visio:Publish MenuPath="Group\Stencil 1"  />

The updated version is available in Visual Studio Galery:

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Visio WiX Setup project in Visual Studio Galery

The Visio Wix setup project was improved a bit. To simplify things, I’ve published it as a project template for Visual Studio in Visual Studio Galery. This is the first time I publish anything in Visual Studio Galery, so that was a bit interesting how to make the wheels rolling:

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In fact, this turned out to be rather easy actually. A good introduction how to publish stuff to Visual Studio Galery can be found on codeproject. That article gives a good  overview, how it all fits together. Anyways, the main result is that now it is possible to create an WiX-based installer project for Visio just like any other project in Visual Studio, please check out the video in the post.

Note that you must have WiX installed to be able to use this project template =)

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Hans Rosling and data visualisation

Just a wonderful example of data visualization, and what can be done with diagramming.

I first encountered Professor Hans Rosling talks on TED – really exciting. For example, see the recent talk about Religions and Babies where he shows what the world population will be, or the talk “washing machines” (“Even the Hard Core of the Green Movement Use Washing Machine”). I wish I had him as a professor when I studied in Uni =)

PS. Now the technology was acquired by Google, and is is available as part of the the project Google Public Data.

Creating an installer for Visio with WiX

If you develop addins / templates / stencils for Visio, sooner or later you come to a question, how do you deploy them. Visio allows you to deploy your solution / template in such a way that template / stencil can be embed nicely in Visio user interface, thus showing up just like all other Visio built-in templates. For Visio developers, Visio SDK provides the Solution Publishing Tool, which is an official way to publish Visio-related components. However this nice tools has a number of limitations, in particular:

– It does not integrate well into automated build process, when you e.g. use a continuous integration using a build server.

– it uses scripting custom vbscript actions which may become a problem with some stupid anti-virus programs or in some very restricted environments.

Windows Installer Xml (WiX) builds Windows installation packages from XML source code, and integrates seamlessly into build processes. The toolset originates from Microsoft, which used it internally to build Microsoft Office installers. The tool is super-cool and rock-solid =)

This post explains the magic behind the Visio Solution Publishing tool and shows how you can do the same thing with WiX, by creating an installer which will install template and stencil. Also the post includes sample / template WiX solution to install Visio files, both for Visio x86 and Visio x64.

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Map of Russia in Visio – version 1.0.1

Updated the recently published map:

– Added related page to the with some pictures and video =)
– Now all regions are stored alphabetically (yep, they were not)
– Now you can install this template using installer (and it will show up in Visio templates – in category “Maps and Floor Plans”.
– Preview picture for the template enhanced using technique described here.

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Map of Russia in Visio

This is Visio map of Russia (year 2012). The map is in Visio VSD format. Includes a stencil with all regions as separate shapes and “assemled” sample drawing. The map was built to work nicely with the standard Visio “maps” functionality (like World Map), and additionally includes items which are specific to regions in Russia (region ISO code, capital, etc) as shape data. Download and details follow.

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Find Visio Command Addin

Have you ever tried to find a particular command in new Visio 2010 user interface? This was a little bit frustrating for me and I decided to develop a simple add-in which allows you to quickly find commands in Visio 2010. Just type in the keyword which is a part of command name, and hit enter. All commands which contain this keyword will be shown by the plugin as buttons. You can either use the command found directly from the results pane, or add it to the quick launch toolbar.

The big picture:

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