Last night we received word from Lionbridge that we had passed our Windows Vista Logo Certification test. Thus I've crossed the finish line of a journey that started in May of 2006, bringing to close a year-long project to make it all happen. It was a monumental effort to bring all of the pieces together because all of the vendors we rely on had to make their products Vista compliant before ours could pass certification.
There were several "firsts" to this project. I created an MSI installer for the first time. I installed a 64-bit version of Windows for the first time. We ported our code base to VC2005. I worked with Microsoft Consulting Services for the first time. And, not surprisingly, I did my first serious development work under and for Vista. So it's been quite an adventure.
The most important of these was our MSI install generator, Advanced Installer. You may wonder why we'd go with a relatively unknown install system instead of going with one of the "big boys" like InstallShield. The reason is that, between 1991 and 1998, I had to write several installers in InstallShield and and my company paid a lot of money for the privilege of doing so. I found InstallShield to be buggy and user abusive and The Stirling Group (the manufacturer) to be unresponsive. I stopped recommending them a long time ago.
The developers at Advanced Installer worked closely with all interested customers to make sure their installers could pass Vista certification. In several cases, they gave me information that the Vista Logo Certification tests were wrong and what they were doing was correct. In every one of those cases, Microsoft admitted that the Advanced Installer developers were correct.