Hacking WCF Extensions for Visual Studio 2005

If you are still using Visual Studio 2005 and need to develop WCF services you need the following:

The problem with the later is that Microsoft no longer supports it. Visual Studio 2008 is supposed to be used for developing such projects. The license for the CTP has expired on June 30th 2008. You can read more about that here. What that means is that you can no longer develop WCF applications in Visual Studio 2005 and should upgrade to Visual Studio 2008. However, as an exercise, I wanted to see if I could still install the WCF extensions in Visual Studio 2005 and have it work side by side with Visual Studio 2008.

First, I had to find the old CTP with the Visual Studio 2005 extensions. It can be downloaded from here. However, when I run it, I got the following error:

WCF Extensions for Visual Studio 2005 Setup Error
WCF Extensions for Visual Studio 2005 Setup Error

The curious thing was that .NET 3.0 was already installed on my machine. I soon realized I was having .NET 3.0 SP2, and the installer was looking for .NET 3.0. Of course, you cannot install 3.0 when a newer version (such as 3.0 SP2) is already installed. So the only option was to change the installer.

Orca is a database editor, allowing you to create and edit MSI files and merge modules. It is provided as a part of Windows Installer SDK. But you can also find stand alone downloads, such as this.

After installing Orca, you can open the MSI file. From Tools > Validate… one can run a validation on the installer. It shown the following errors:

ICE08 ERROR Component: WCFSvcConfigEditor_dll has a duplicate GUID: {714D044E-3136-457E-ADD7-AE3D0FEF021A}
ICE16 ERROR ProductName: ‘Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (WCF & WPF), November 2006 CTP’ is greater than 63 characters in length. Current length: 83
ICE77 ERROR CA_CommitHelpTransactionNoRB.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8 is a in-script custom action. It must be sequenced in between the InstallInitialize action and the InstallFinalize action in the InstallExecuteSequence table

I had to do the following fixes:

  • replace the first occurrence of this GUID {714D044E-3136-457E-ADD7-AE3D0FEF021A} with another one
  • trim the name “Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (WCF & WPF), November 2006 CTP” to “Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 SP2”
  • change the Sequence number of the CA_CommitHelpTransactionNoRB.3643236F_FC70_11D3_A536_0090278A1BB8 action in he InstallExecuteSequence table from 6601 to 6599 so that it is in between InstallInitialize (1500) and InstallFinalize (6600)

But then, came the biggest problem: making the installer work with .NET 3.5 SP2. It was looking in registry for the following key: SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\{15095BF3-A3D7-4DDF-B193-3A496881E003}. The GUID {15095BF3-A3D7-4DDF-B193-3A496881E003} corresponds to .NET 3.0. So in order to make it work with .NET 3.0 SP2 one needs to replace the GUID with {A3051CD0-2F64-3813-A88D-B8DCCDE8F8C7} for the SearchForWinFXruntimeX86Install signature in the RegLocator table.

Once those changes are made all you have to do is save. However, the “Copy embedded steams during ‘Save As'” option should be checked from Tools > Options > Database, before doing the saving. Otherwise the embedded CAB is not copied and the installation won’t work.

Running the modified installer works successfully.

Setup start page
Setup start page

Setup finished
Setup finished

If you start Visual Studio 2005 you can create a new project from one of the WCF project templates.

WCF Project Templates
WCF Project Templates

You can download the altered MSI file from here: [download id=”5″].

Note: I must say this again: this scenario is no longer supported. The license for this CTP for WCF extensions for Visual Studio 2005 has expired in 2008. You should upgrade to Visual Studio 2008 to develop WCF applications.

2 Comments on "Hacking WCF Extensions for Visual Studio 2005"

  1. On Vista there is no this concern for the msi package uses another mechanism to identify Framework 3.0. But installing it on Windows 7 may be problematic, I suspect.

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