MSI files are great! MSI:s provides an easy way to package a set of files and adds extra goodiness to ease deployment - especially when using BizTalk Server.

Traditionally the way to package BizTalk artifacts to an MSI involved installing the artifacts to a BizTalk Server and exporting them.

BtsMsiTask however provides a way to package compiled artifacts directly into a MSI, without having to first installing them to a BizTalk Server. Open source and free of charge.

How does it work?

BtsMsiTask uses the exact same techniques as BizTalk Server does when exporting an MSI from the server. By reverse engineering we extracted the functionality and wrapped it in a stand alone library, not tied to the BizTalk Server infrastructure in any way. Any complied dll can now directly be packages into a BizTalk specific MSI.

BtsMsiTask currently executes as a MsBuild task as this fit nicely when for example executing the packaging as part of a automated build scenario.

Getting started

Follow these three simple steps to get started and generate your first MSI. If using Team Foundation Build Services you’ll find a specific walkthrough here.

1. Download and install

BtsMsiTask comes with a installer that can be downloaded here. Running it will by default install the binaries in the default MsBuild extension folder on your machine: C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\BtsMsiTask.

2. Create a MsBuild project file

As BtsMsiTask executes as a MsBuild task you need to setup a .proj file to act as input to the MsBuild process.

The .proj file will tell MsBuild what files to include in the MSI, where to write the file to and so on. There are a number of properties that can be set and they are listed in detail here, but a simple proj file could look something like this.

<Project DefaultTargets="GenerateMsi" xmlns="">
	<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\BtsMsiTask.targets" />
		<BtsAssembly Include="..\BtsSample.Transforms\bin\Debug\BtsSample.Transforms.dll" />
		<BtsAssembly Include="..\BtsSample.Schemas\bin\Debug\BtsSample.Schemas.dll" />
	<Target Name="GenerateMsi">

3. Run MsBuild

Run MsBuild and point it to the created project file: msbuild myprojfile.proj