WiX 3.5.2519.0 Incorrect Intermediate Object path for External Files

dotnet, build comments edit

I’m upgrading a project to the released version of WiX and found an issue that causes .wixobj files to be created in your source tree in unfortunate locations at build time. I’ve filed the issue on SourceForge, but for folks running across it, I thought I’d post here as well including the workaround.

If you have a .wixproj that contains .wxs files that are included via relative path outside of the folder structure below the .wixproj, the intermediate objects (.wixobj) get placed in odd/incorrect locations based on the source external .wxs files. What this looks like in the wild is that random .wixobj files just sort of “materialize” during the build and you can’t figure out where they’re coming from.

For example, say you have a folder structure like this:


The ProductSetup.wixproj includes the set of custom dialogs like this:

    <Compile Include="..\..\..\setup\CustomDialogs.wxs">

(.wixproj simplified for the example)

Given that the OutputPath for the project is relative - bin\$(Configuration) - and the IntermediateOutputPath is also relative - obj\$(Configuration) - I would expect that all .wixobj files get created in obj\$(Configuration)but they don’t.

Alternatively, I could accept (though it’d be unexpected) that intermediate output gets placed in obj\$(Configuration) relative to each .wxs file, so I might see trunk\setup\obj\Debug\CustomDialogs.wixobj in this example. This is also not what happens.

Instead, paths are calculated based on the relative location of the .wxs source combined with the project’s intermediate output path. That means, for this example:

trunk\product\solution\installer\obj\Debug (the intermediate output location of the .wixproj project)

combines with

..\..\..\setup (the location of the external .wxs file)

and you find the file


gets created during the build process.

The workaround for this appears to be to manually specify ObjectPath on any included .wxs files, like:

<Compile Include="..\..\..\setup\CustomDialogs.wxs">

This forces the .wixobj files to be created in the appropriate location.

UPDATE 3/21/2011: I got a report that just putting obj\$(Configuration) didn’t work for one user and they needed to add a trailing backslash, like obj\$(Configuration)\ to the path. I didn’t need that, but if the above isn’t working for you, try adding the backslash.

This behavior is new in WiX 3.5.2519.0 (the released/official 3.5 version) and did not exist in 3.5.2403.0.