Microsoft's Ignite 2018 conference isn't over yet, and the news keeps coming in. Today in a session, the firm outlined its new app packaging solution, MSIX, and noted what's coming soon for it.
MSIX is meant to be a replacement for all of its old packaging solutions, like MSI, App-V, and so on. In fact, it's even going to be a replacement for the Desktop App Converter, which is what's currently used to package Win32 apps and put them in the Microsoft Store. MSIX is simply a more robust solution.
The idea is the same as it's been with the Desktop App Converter. These apps are more secure, they can be easily installed and uninstalled, they don't leave junk behind after being uninstalled, and they can be easily updated. When they're updated, it only downloads what's needed, saving bandwidth and space.
MSIX is a package, and if you change the filename to a ZIP file, you can see everything that's inside of it. These packages will be supported beginning with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
But one thing that's going to be added is support for older versions of Windows, like Windows 7 and 8.1 (first announced at Build). The team did say that support for older versions of Windows 10 is a possibility, with support being extended for businesses.
Also on the list is forced updates. Right now, you can actually continue using the app while it's updating. Developers will soon have the option to set it so that the user will be prompted to update before opening the app.
Also on the roadmap are richer OS extensibility, deeper integration with System Center ConfigMgr and Intune, and flexible containers. Microsoft also wants to grow the Package Support Framework library. The whole idea is to make MSIX more robust. For example, some apps wouldn't work with the Desktop App Converter because they required certain privileges, and that's meant to not be a problem with MSIX.
Microsoft also wants to add support for Windows (NT) services, but that will have to wait for Windows 10 version 1903, also known as 19H1. You see, updates for MSIX are independent of the OS, so Microsoft actually plans on updating this every three months. There are some features, however, that will simply require new OS features.
The team also noted Conversion as a Service, where your app's conversion will actually be managed by Microsoft.
The MSIX Packaging Tool is available in preview now from the Microsoft Store for free. It's also a Quick Create option in Hyper-V, so you can get started with it right away.