What’s new in MSIX: November 2023
Published Nov 30 2023 08:00 AM 3,324 Views
Microsoft

We announced a lot of new features as part of the Microsoft Technical Takeoff, and we are glad to share those in detail with you.

A new version of the MSIX Packaging Tool (v1.2023.1005.0) is now available. You can download it from the Microsoft Store. This release is aimed at improving the conversion experience for IT admins with Package Analyzer, PSF-MPT integration, and many more features. Additionally, we are introducing additional features in preview, which are available as part of the insider build of MSIX Packaging Tool (v1.2023.1114.0).

We have also made enhancements to developer features such as supporting app attach workflows through MSIX ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) plug-ins and adding support for modification packages in MSIX app attach. As a bonus, desktop shortcuts for MSIX packages are now available!

General availability of features:

Package Support Framework (PSF)-MSIX Packaging Tool integration

Configuring PSF fixups via MSIX Packaging Tool GUI is now available and live! The integration eliminates the need for manual edits for adding PSF fixups, simplifying the process. Check out the PSF fixups tab in the Package editor flow of the tool. Find more about this feature on the Microsoft learn page.

Screenshot of the PSF fixups options in the Package editor.Screenshot of the PSF fixups options in the Package editor.

Package Analyzer

Debugging has never been easier! With Package Analyzer feature of the MSIX Packaging Tool, now generally available, you can debug runtime issues of the converted applications. The tool identifies potential problems, suggests the fixups, and auto-applies the selected fixes.

Screenshot of the Package Analyzer tab with two packages selected.Screenshot of the Package Analyzer tab with two packages selected.

Desktop shortcuts

One of the requested features from developers is to have desktop shortcuts for MSIX packages. This is now available by using WinAppSDK 1.4.2.

To configure WinAppSDK on your system, you can follow the below mentioned options:

  1. Add dependency for WinAppSDK to the main MSIX app and install the app. Latest dependency should be downloaded from the store and installed on the system.
  2. Open the Main MSIX package using Package Editor in MSIX Packaging Tool.
  3. Move to the Package information tab on the left side of the tool.
  4. Scroll down to find the “open file” option to edit Manifest file.
  5. Add the dependency specified below:

<Dependencies>

<PackageDependency Name="Microsoft.WindowsAppRuntime.1.4"/>

</Dependencies>

  1. Install Win App SDK manually.

Screenshot of the dependency example highlighted by a red box.Screenshot of the dependency example highlighted by a red box.

Features in preview as part of the Insiders program:

We are also introducing a new version of MSIX Packaging Tool in the Insiders Program (v1.2023.1114.0). Users in the Insiders Program get access to these features.

Automated Accelerator generation

With Accelerators, our aim is to make repeated repackaging events simpler. All the fixes identified by Package Analyzer can now be saved as an Accelerator file.

MSIX packaging Tool can now generate an Accelerator template pre-filled with the fixes detected and applied by the Package Analyzer.

Screenshot of a notification saying a package is successfully created.Screenshot of a notification saying a package is successfully created.

As a reminder, Accelerators can be applied during the create a new package workflow and automatically applied to the post conversion activities defined in the accelerator.

Screenshot of choosing the Accelerator during the create new package workflow.Screenshot of choosing the Accelerator during the create new package workflow.

Deletion markers

MSIX Packaging Tool already supports the conversion of App-V packages to MSIX format.

Screenshot of the menu to choose an installer to package with an .appv file highlighted in a red box.Screenshot of the menu to choose an installer to package with an .appv file highlighted in a red box.

We are introducing support for deletion markers in MSIX framework to help increase the ease of conversion for App-V packages that use this functionality. Deletion markers supports a special marker that is created when a registry key is deleted from a virtual environment.

To apply this,

  1. Navigate to Package Editor > PSF Fixups.
  2. Select the Application ID as present in the manifest. The executable path will be populated automatically.
  3. Select Fixup type as Registry Legacy Fixup.
  4. Now, in the right pane, select Remediation Type as Deletion Marker.
  5. Select Hive as HKLM or HKCU and add key value pair accordingly.
  6. Review the configurations applied by selecting Preview config.json, located at the bottom of the screen and select Save.

Screenshot of the Package editor with Registry Legacy Fixup selected.Screenshot of the Package editor with Registry Legacy Fixup selected.

Modification package support in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

Modification packages let you customize applications. Modification packages worked locally and on session desktop. We have added support for Modification packages in MSIX app attach! This is currently in preview and can be accessed from the Azure portal.

Users will be able to app attach modification packages just like they app attach applications from the Azure portal or from Windows PowerShell.

Screenshot of Windows PowerShell showing the attach application to AVD and attach modification package.Screenshot of Windows PowerShell showing the attach application to AVD and attach modification package.

While these are all the features that we are announcing today, it’s only possible through the feedback of community members who support shaping the future of MSIX. Please do continue to provide your inputs via the Feedback Hub. If you have a feature ask, you can submit ideas in the MSIX Tech Community. If you’re interested in checking out the new features, join the MSIX Packaging Tool Insider Program today!

Happy holidays and thank you for your interest in MSIX!


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‎Nov 29 2023 03:13 PM
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