Microsoft: ZIP was starting point for Windows 8 app install package

There are many ways to install an application on a Windows-based PC. Many older programs that are still in use are packaged in the ZIP format, while others may use Windows Installer and other methods. For "Modern" UI apps made for Windows 8, Microsoft decided to come up with a new installation package.

A new post on the official Windows 8 app blog goes into a ton of detail of how Microsoft came up with the app install package, which it calls APPX. Microsoft says that they wanted something simple so that app creators didn't have to use special tools and code to make installer packages. It added:

We created summaries of all known app packaging technologies that we found, scoured each, and weighed the tradeoffs of various features. After many discussions we resolved on a simple but popular starting base – ZIP.

Yes, ZIP, which launched in 1989, is the father of the APPX install package for Windows 8. However, that's not all of the story. Microsoft points out that ZIP has requirements for a number of PC technologies (floppy disks, anyone?) that no one really uses anymore. Also, while most everyone is familiar with ZIP, it was not a true open standard for install packages.

Microsoft said that in 2006, several of its divisions, including the Office team, proposed the Open Packaging Conventions (OPC) standard. It was later adopted in 2008 by the International Standards Organization. Microsoft says that OPC has "specific qualifications that it places on ZIP functionality." The public OPC APIs were then used to create the APPX tools and APIs that are now used in the Windows 8 SDK to make apps.

The blog then gets even more technical as it talks about how app makers can organize their files into the APPX standard, with a heavy emphasis on security. Microsoft adds:

As with many other packaging technologies, APPX packages use digital signatures to guard app security. A digital signature doesn’t prevent the signed app content from being altered, but a signature check will fail if any item in the signed content has changed.

Source: Windows 8 app developer blog | Image via Microsoft

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DBreakContRepeats said,

Seeing as you mentioned "wasting time" with "installing compression utilities" I would suggest you run some time tests on de/compressing with the inbuilt utilities on XP and up versus 7zip, especially large files and a few thousand-plus small files. Also check out maximum compression ratios on .7z versus .zip.

Then tell me installing 7zip is a waste of time.


Cause an individual case like yours means everyone has to install winrar, 7z or other BS?
Most users never come across a .rar or .7z and only the ocasional .zip.
For me WinRAR works best and is my prefered choice.
For others is the default .zip, some even still use winzip (is still see it around plenty) and for you, 7zip.
But maybe you should just torrent less or get faster harddrives (as compressing/decompressing's biggest slowdown is the HDD, not CPU or technology)
No matter which i pick, winrar, winzip or 7zip... they all maximize my harddrive speeds. And even on rar files that are 6-12gb large, it just takes a few minutes to unpack,

I was replying to the person who seemed to suggest that the built-in zip support in Windows was better than *any* 3rd party one, and tried to point out that they would likely *save* time in the long run as most seem to work much better all round - so just trying to spread a bit of knowledge... I agree with most of what you say - apart from the suggestion that I am telling everyone to install a compression utility. I used to use pkzip, moved to Winzip, then Winrar and finally 7zip. At work I used to have to move thousands of small files easily to remote networks, and a weekly dump of 25 to 50GB of ghost images - split into DVD size chunks in case there was a glitch part way through - you could use any compression utility to do this - apart from (if I recall correctly) the built-in Windows version... Again, just trying to add a little tip to the discussion. If people ever have problems with a .zip (or other format of your choice) on Windows they might want to install a 3rd party tool. I used to see problems with .rar support in Winzip and had to install Winrar to solve them, still do if 7zip is having a bad day.

And torrent less? Besides trying to comment on my "individual case", being one of the few people in the world to never have "torrented" I dont get that comment. Plus I can certainly prove that in my "individual case" the hard drives are not maxing out, its the CPU, even though 7zip supports multiple CPU threads.

@DBreakContRepeats

I like how the guy assumed you were a pirate and proceeded to treat you like crap over it.. And how the guy goes on to defend having less features and options for compression issues. And then goes on to make snide remarks and excuses about slow compression performance lol
Some people might care whether their archive the are packing takes 2 or 20 minutes or if it utilizes multiple threads etc..

Why do people get mouthy and make excuses for slow performance ?

zeta_immersion said,
zip not dead yet ... where is winACE?

Back in the year 2000? i actually forgot about WinAce.

Looks to be pretty much dead, last website update in 2008, the same website design has been used since the late 90's.

zeta_immersion said,
zip not dead yet ... where is winACE?

The only good thing about WinAce is the banner on their website...

zeta_immersion said,
zip not dead yet ... where is winACE?

dead winrar owned them lol

i havn't heard that name in years
i wonder how many people here know what that is..

.fahim said,
did this not start with the invention of the JAR in the Java world? or are there any earlier examples?

ya that is what i thought too.
I wrote a program in c++ that loads up .jar games/apps for cell phones
and rebuilds them and recreates the jar and its pretty much straight up Zip code.
Sadly i got tired of fixing and submitting bugs to the open source zip implementation posted on code project. The free options for adding BASIC zip support to your c++ app is limited with out trying to implement bloated and overly complicated lib's.
The code i made fixes on and i used is the same zip code found in the Valve source sdk so i know i'm not the only one who wanted something simple etc

Java is a 90's thing ? maybe for web sites but the crap sure took off on mobile etc.
So i'd say its more popular than ever. And no i don't program in Java or even like the language... just calling it how i see it.

I am Not PCyr said,

Java is a 90's thing ? maybe for web sites but the crap sure took off on mobile etc.
So i'd say its more popular than ever. And no i don't program in Java or even like the language... just calling it how i see it.

That's not what I meant.

Stands to reason that this would be the model.
There are enough extra compute cycles in modern CPUs that uncompressing to launch wouldn't cause perf hit.

deadonthefloor said,
Stands to reason that this would be the model.
There are enough extra compute cycles in modern CPUs that uncompressing to launch wouldn't cause perf hit.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it uncompresses to launch, I think it uncompresses to install...

I am Not PCyr said,

never knew that.

i always disabled the service on first boot lol

It's mainly pointless but I like to use a couple of gadgets that monitor CPU/Internet usage.

This has been true for over a decade for WMP skins as well. Whenever MS has a package like .gadget the first thing I do is to try to rename it to .zip to unpack it.

Yazoo said,
what happened to .CAB files?


I am glad to see them less mainstream than they were, they were a pain to work with

Yazoo said,
what happened to .CAB files?

you still see .CAB in modern installation packages of ms software like directX and Visual Studio 2012

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