Smart PSF: Add a Fixup to Your MSIX Application

Written by Bogdan Mitrache · December 21st, 2020

As software packagers, we know the struggle that comes with new technologies. And there's no need to sugarcoat it -- is downright stressful.

Transitioning to MSIX is no different, it requires time to learn it, test it, and plan its implementation. We have to consider that not everything works as expected in the beginning and that extra effort will be required.

But, we've seen the many advantages that come with using MSIX since its launch, and we continue to explore how it helps our industry to become more nimble.

When MSIX was introduced, Microsoft was expecting extraordinary numbers regarding application compatibility. However, at this point, not even Microsoft has access to all the custom-built apps that run inside our enterprises. During one of his recent E2EVC talks, Tim Mangan shared that only about 60% of the apps he tested work with MSIX.

The rest are either using specific APIs not supported by the new MSIX container or have application compatibility issues that require some workarounds.

The software packager life
The software packager life

Package Support Framework

It is when these compatibility issues appear that Package Support Framework comes into play.

This open-source framework from Microsoft enables you to apply runtime fixups. It is specifically useful to fix issues that appear when migrating legacy applications (that you don’t have the source code for) to MSIX.

It sounds like just what we need - a solution to our compatibility problems. If you plan on using just the free resources/tools that Microsoft released, you may need a bit of help. And for this reason, our team worked on a PSF extension to help you automatically detect and fix compatibility issues for applications packaged as MSIX.

NoteIf you have been following our MSIX journey, then you already know that Advanced Installer is happy to be the leading third-party solution provider for MSIX packaging tools. We have been the official Microsoft release partner for MSIX and we recently published an ebook about MSIX technology authored by Tim Mangan, Bogdan Mitrache, and Kevin Kaminsky available for free download.

Introducing Smart PSF

As I said above, application compatibility is the biggest blocker for MSIX at the time. And our team is working very hard to make this roadblock invisible for you. At Microsoft Ignite, we released the first Package Support Framework (PSF) integration that allows you to add a fixup(shim) in your application in just a few clicks.

Today, we are taking this integration to a new level. We call it “Smart PSF”. In case you’re wondering, there is no AI (pun intended) involved, just a lot of experience and hard work.

Starting with Advanced Installer 17.8 , the Smart PSF support from Advanced Installer will automatically apply fixups in your application, taking all the debugging work off your plate.

Let’s check it out in action.

We hope you’ll enjoy our early Christmas gift and share it with your friends. If you have any questions or some applications that give you headaches when packaging them as an MSIX, please email me at bogdan at advancedinstaller dot com.

Comments: