How to create setup packages for Visual Studio project templates and starter kits

When I started working on the Windows Media Center SDK setup for Windows Vista, I did some research to figure out how to install and register project templates and item templates for Visual Studio 2005. I did not find much documentation describing how to install project templates as part of an MSI-based setup package. As a result, I had to learn how to do most of what I needed to do by reverse engineering some existing setup packages (such as Votive and Visual Studio setup itself).

I decided to create an article with a set of instructions for how to create an MSI package for Visual Studio project templates, item templates and starter kits based on my learning. To facilitate this, I created an example WiX-based installer that uses the same project and item templates that I originally created for the Windows Media Center SDK. I also created some reusable WiX fragments (here for the WiX 2.0 version and here for the WiX 3.0 version) that you can include in your own WiX-based setup to detect the appropriate Visual Studio 2005 editions and features.

I encourage you to check out this article if you are planning to create installers for Visual Studio project templates, item templates and/or starter kits.