Bootstrapper Manifest Generator – How To Setup Custom Pre-Requisites

Edit March 2011
I have just done a newer version of this page, with pictures, you may want to check it out here
BootStrapper Manifest Generator (2008) – How To Guide v2

Original Post Feb 2008 Continued…

Recently I was attempting to create a deployment package that has customised pre-requisites i.e I wanted my installer to detect if AJAX Extensions 1.0 was installed and if not ask the user to install it.

I found this link talking about how to do it..

Which lead me to download the Bootstapper Manifest generator from

I was a bit lost with what to do so hopefully this will save you the pain I went though.

(Note: the BMG is really buggy. Most of the system checks don’t work, and once you add a file system check and save your project you can no longer open your bootstrap project. But given it is free it’s better than attempting to write the XML by hand)

As an example to create a pre-requisite for AJAX follow these steps:
  1. Run the BMG tool.
  2. Create a new Package Manifest. Give it a name, AJAX
  3. Add a file, choose the AJAX Extension installer .msi.
  4. Give it a name, this will be the name that appears in your installer so make it something nice like “Microsoft ASP .Net 2.0 AJAX Extensions 1.0”
  5. Build it.
Now if it builds have a look at the location that it is written to, it is a visual studio directory, so I thought to myself it must integrate with VS2005.
So open your Setup Project in visual studio, (in my case, a Web Setup Project). Right Click — Properties on the solution. There in the bottom right is the pre-requisite button.
Click on it and you should now see AJAX as an option.
Traps for young players
1. Copy paste
Inside the BGM copy and paste does not appear to work. The trick, is right click in the field and choose paste.
2. Download from web Option
If you want to download from the web enter the url for the .exe. I setup my own publicly available spot to allow downloading these pre-requesites (rather than relying on the microsoft download site), as they might change things. So I have a known static location to go download the AJAX Extensions msi.
3. System Checks
You should include a check to see whether AJAX is already installed.
In your manifest click on the file you added, and go to the “System Checks” tab. I found that most of the system checks did not work properly.
I found the one that did work was a file check, so I added a file check for System.Web.Extensions.dll in the default location
  • Add a File check. Set the file name to System.Web.Extensions.dll, turn off the search, and enter the default path to the ASP Net folder.
  • Switch to the “Install Conditions” tab and add a line that says:
    • Type – By Pass If
    • Property – AJAX (or the name you gave your system check)
    • Comparison  – Exists

Cheers and Good luck

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