Thursday, 3 January 2008

Making an MSI to install PPC/SP Cab files

Want to install your mobile application from your PC with your PDA connected via active sync but not sure how to do it?

Visual Studio 2005 includes all the tools to be able to create an installable CAB file for your PocketPC device but making the link between a PC MSI file and this CAB file isn't obvious.

It can be done by creating a PC installer that first installs your .CAB file on the PC, then afterwards launches small VB/C# app which invokes the Windos CE App Manager. This pushs the CAB file down onto the device either now or on next connection.

The basics of this and the VB/C# launcher can be found on MSDN:

Note this is for VS2003 which didn't include as rich a set of project types, check out which is written for VS2005, very handy!

Note for Vista you will need to alter the security properties of the MSI file as it will not have the correct permissions to launch the Windows CE App Manager (or Vista Mobile Device Center as its known). This is a command line operation, i'll detail this in a later post!


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