Windows installer makes heavy use of these almost unreadable alphanumeric strings in curly braces, also known as "GUID", like this:
GUID is the abbreviation for Globally Unique Identifier. It is a 128-bit number, represented as a string of hexadecimal digits. There is an operating system function that can create such unique numbers. To a "very high degree of certainty" (as Microsoft puts it), this function returns a unique value and your development machine should be equipped with a network card to avoid another computer generating an identical GUID.
GUIDs are nothing new. For instance they are used to identify classes, objects and interfaces in ActiveX applications. However Windows Installer has introduced a new requirement for GUIDs. While tools like Visual Studio often use lower case letters to represent hex digits, GUIDs used in Windows Installer must be in all upper case characters. If you use the "Generate GUID" buttons that InstallShield has placed in all relevant locations of the IPWI development environment, you don't have to worry about this.
A Tips and Tricks article, About Component, Package, Product, and Upgrade Codes in Windows Installer, describes the locations where GUIDs are used and the importance of unique identifiers across a development team.
Download the article today to make sure your GUIDs are good! What ways have you avoided duplicate GUIDs?
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