Benefits to using the new .msi installers?

Can anyone outline the benefits of the newly added .msi installers vs the .exe ones? Particularly the visionclientlauncher.msi?

Do the .msi ones support feeding in a pre-configured vision-client-launcher.json as a parameter that will get installed alongside it and make the necessary desktop / start menu shortcuts?

We're currently using a highly customized .bat file to install the visionclientlauncher.exe, move the vision-client-launcher.json in place, and generate desktop shortcuts, but it would be awesome if we could do all of this via one command

The tl;dr: is probably "yes", but to really take advantage you need to know Windows' enterprise management stack pretty well. So, if you're willing to do the learning, there's probably more to take away.

The primary developer behind the feature is currently out, but I'll ping him about this thread once he's back to see if he has any specific examples to share.

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After doing a bit of research it seems you can add something called "transforms" to a msi to configure what it does / extend it's functionality.

I installed orca (from the WindowsSDK) and was successfully able to create a transform that creates my own desktop shortcut. This is pretty cool. I'll play more around with it and post back with any findings

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you hit the nail on the head. MSIs support two very useful features: transforms and Installs via GPOs. This makes customizing the install of the launchers and installing them on a large number of machines very easy for enterprise deployments. for example:

Transforms: you can add shortcuts which are advertised and self-healing (if someone uninstalls the launcher it will re-install when a user clicks on the shortcut). This can also bundle a configuration json and drop it within the launchers install dir making it a Pre-Deploy install. This does have some caveats with permissions and users modifying the configuration obviously though.

GPOs: Domains can use GPOs to install the launchers, configuration JSONs on a per-user basis, and pushing trusted root certificates which couple with the launcher property to use the system trust stores.

Both of these methodologies require a bit more knowledge around windows administration, but those that are familiar with it these new MSI installers make using the launchers in their setups much easier to work with.

Hope that gives a bit of info!
Jonathan C


Wow :open_mouth: I had no idea that was an option. That's awesome!

That was the goal. I couldn't quite figure out how to bundle an external file. It seemed like I needed to use the transform to modify multiple of the .msi tables which seemed like a pain and not dynamic enough to be able to update the config file without re-generating the transform (seemed like it needed the exact file size of the config file). But it's possible I was just missing the point.

I will definitely do more research on these topics. Thank you for your post!