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John Vintzel
Microsoft

Some folks have asked me if there is anything we can do to start the move to MSIX today?

 

The tooling is expected to be in a Windows Insider preview in the June timeframe.  Meanwhile folks can start by using the Desktop bridge.  100% of apps that convert to the desktop bridge will update to MSIX.

 

Check out http://aka.ms/DesktopBridge for more information.

 

If your app does not easily convert via the desktop bridge, don't worry.  We will have more support coming for MSIX to make the transition easy!

 

John Vintzel | @jvintzel

Principal Program Manager Lead, MSIX 

28 Replies

Hi John,

 

I work in the space of appv and msi technology and I am excite to know more about MSIX.

given we are migrating apps on win 10 I would like to know which is the best tool to convert our existing desktop apps into appx. I would also like to know if we can use sccm to distribute this appx package and whether it needs to installed into private store for business.

What if we have a mixture of Win7 & Win10 computers and WinForms & WPF apps.  Can MSIX be used to replace ClickOnce and provide the deployment & auto-update for these scenarios?  If so, how do we get started reviewing/testing to possibly convert?  Thx

Solution

Amit,

 

When looking to move your existing apps forward to MSIX, I'd recommend starting with the tooling vendor creating your packages today (if you have one). For example, if you're using the WiX Toolset to create your installation packages, we at FireGiant have created an extension to create .appx packages (and soon MSIX packages when Windows provides full support for MSIX) along with your .msi packages. I expect all the other major packaging vendors will support MSIX as well. If you don't have a vendor already, there are several to choose from (I think this presentation showed them: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/events/build/content/msix-inside-and-out-pptx).

 

As to your second question, MSIX will allow you deploy directly via SCCM. You can use the Windows Store for Business but it is not a requirement. MSIX deployment is much more like MSI in that way.

 

Hope that helps.

We do offer an auto-updating solution on Windows 10 to replace ClickOnce with MSIX. As for Windows 7, to use MSIX you need to wrap the MSIX file with the MSIX SDK on GitHub.  That will allow you to read, extract, verify the package and deploy it the devices.  There is no native auto-updating with MSIX on Windows 7, again that would need to leverage the SDK.

 

For Windows 10, this session covers the update behaviors and more. https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/events/build/content/msix-inside-and-out-pptx

You can start by converting your existing app to .appx with the Desktop App Converter (you can find it in the Microsoft Store)

You can use MDMs to distribute.

Yes, you can distribute your app by putting them on Microsoft Store or Store for Business

You can use the auto updates through App Installer. For more details checkout

 

1) The build talk MSIX Inside and Out

2) this blog https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/appinstaller/2017/09/27/automated-app-updates-with-appinstaller-fil...

3) The documentation for App Installer: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/uwp/schemas/appinstallerschema/schema-root

There are support from these vendors.
Advanced Installer, flexera, cloudhouse etc..
For win 7, as per my knowledge you have to wrap the msix inside a msi and can deploy it. This again is not a good move going back to msi..

The following have announced upcoming support for MSIX:

Advanced Installer

Cloudhouse

Embarcadero

Firegiant

Flexera

InstallAware

Liquit

Raynet

Great feedback.  We offer the SDK for folks that might want to minimize the packages they create.  For Windows 7 it is essentially treating the MSIX file as a .cab file, minimizing the repackaging across multiple operating systems.

 

John Vintzel

Principal Program Manager Lead, MSIX

 

Eagerly waiting for the tool to be released from MS.

Stay tuned.. We will post some updates as more becomes available.  Most likely sometime this summer.

 

John.

We’re an application packaging specialist with many customers...how do we get added to this list?

Thx,

Simon

Hi John ,

 

As you stated MS is working on tool to convert pre-existing packages into msix. Is there an update on it ?

A Preview of the MSIX Packaging Tool will be coming shortly. We will post an announcement here when it is available.
Highlighted

I wrote a blog article with a step by step tutorial on how you could convert a setup to an msix and test it today with the tools provided by Microsoft right now:

https://blog.basevision.ch/2018/07/how-to-create-an-msix-right-now-in-the-insider-preview-a-step-by-...

Great tutorial! Thank you for putting it together.

Will MSIX be able to create an Custom Actions as it is possible with MSI right now? Working closely with a lot of enterprise customers I see this is very common requirement in MSI packages.
Example for CA in MSI: If target machine's Computer Name contains text "ABC" then run specific command line.
Will something similar be possible with MSIX? 

The MSIX team has been pretty clear that they see Custom Actions as a problem and thus there are no mechanisms to execute any custom commands during installation. At this time, there isn't any option to get input from the customer during installation either. Custom code will have to be executed by your application.

 

PS: This is the core reasons I expect the Windows Installer (MSI) will remain the "Anything Installer" (see: http://robmensching.com/blog/posts/2018/4/30/msix-conjectures/) for quite a while. As MSIX covers more functionality of Windows, it will start to replace more and more MSIs. But Windows provides a wide surface area so I expect it to take a while to support the full breadth of applications.

Great Blog with clear steps. I felt it is pretty same as how you create .appx using DAC.

I think I need to just alter few steps in my blog to create MSIX.

http://app2pack.blogspot.com/2016/04/project-centennial-first-hands-on.html

So how to implement our customizations without a CA? Say running scripts to perform some changes etc..

What are you custom actions doing today?  Is it just registry read/write?

"Customizations" could mean a couple things. If you mean doing custom install/uninstall time configuration there is no mechanism for doing that. Your application will have to run "customization" code. Or you can use the Windows Installer (MSI).

 

If you mean "customize" an existing MSIX package after it is shipped, then there is an MSIX Customization Package feature (I forget the real name if that isn't it) coming in the future. They're supposedly a bit like MSI transforms (.MST files) but not as far reaching. Still waiting on the details for that.

Hey Rob,

 

Quick question, can we use run Custom Actions in MSIX before actual binaries gets installed?

 

For Instance, if I want to kill an EXE process on a machine before installing/upgrading files or registries via MSI then I can added it to Custom Action Table and sequence it in InstallExecuteSequence at the top.

No, you cannot run CustomActions during the MSIX installation process. You are limited to the functionality provided by the MSIX installation engine.

Thanks Rob.

 

Then it appears we cannot perform dynamic installations using MSIX based on machine behavior, user location or IP Address.

 

Do you know if Microsoft has any future roadmap planned to add CustomAction as part of MSIX?

 

 

 

Correct. Any customizations have to be done by your application when it runs.

Also, as I understand it, it is an important design goal that MSIX not have CustomActions.

If you want/need CustomActions during installation (vs application start), use the Windows Installer.

Not sure how application vendors/products will perform any customization via installers when it runs without taking into consideration machine dynamics.

 

Especially in the LIVE environment when product customers have different and unique desktop/server environments.

 

Having said that, I'd Love to see applications working without any prior customization required before deployment. Unfortunately, this is something needs to be addressed from the application development side.

 

And lastly, as we know there are tons of application development tools and technologies available. It would be really nice to see if developers are able to use tools which can deliver the end product to the computers without requiring customization.

 

 

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