I finally bit the bullet and worked on MSI installers for Windows. As anticipated it was not easy. I used WiX.
They do have some advantages over an installer distributed as “exe”:
- One can add the Microsoft Visual Studio runtime as a “merge module” thus avoiding starting it in the installer manually
- Apparently installing centralized on domain computers is easier
On the negative side:
- No shared 32/64 bit MSIs are possible. That means the user has to select the right one before downloading
- You cannot add custom commands as easily as in NSIS
I think I will only publish 64bit MSIs for now. Most Windows Servers should be 64bit now anyway and I will still publish the “old” installers for users of older and 32bit systems.