Review: MaSaI Editor

MaSaI Editor 1.0

Well, this one is something of a mystery; there's no company info on the Web site, and the free download says it's a trial version but there's no hint of how to purchase or otherwise obtain a non-trial version. But it's an interesting entrant in the Windows Installer editor field, so I wanted to at least give you a heads-up that it exists.

Anyhow, this tool isn't meant to compete with Wise or InstallShield. Rather, it's for the developer who understands the basics of Windows Installer technology and wants a tool that's a step up from the Orca editor that's part of the Installer SDK. Like Orca, MaSaI Editor will let you into the raw tables of your Installer database, where you can tweak (or ruin) things to your heart's content. It does use combo boxes for related fields, which is nice; that makes it much harder to make a mistake in some cases.

But MaSaI goes beyond direct table editing. It also lets you create a new MSI file, either blank or from the included templates. Or you can create an MSI by differencing snapshots of your machine, making it act as a repackaging tool as well. On the editing side, it offers "IQ Views" - dialogs that let you create files or registry entries or shortcuts by filling in textboxes or drag and drop. This is much more convenient than trying to do it all in the MSI database (believe me; I had to work on a large MSI before there were any tools other than Orca, and it was no fun at all).

If you find yourself occasionally reaching for Orca to take a peek inside an Installer file, or you need to do lightweight repackaging as a minor part of your job, this one is worth a quick spin.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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