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.