ISWIX, LLC View Christopher Painter's profile on LinkedIn profile for Christopher Painter at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

AppX for Native Apps Thoughts

Five years ago, I wrote two blog posts where I explored the possibilities of AppX:

AppX Just Might Work

AppX Just Might Fail

I don't work in Redmond or Schaumburg Itasca so I tend to not get caught up in the hype of new technologies and instead focus on what works for my customers TODAY.   Over the next few years Windows RT came (and went)  and the Windows Store continued to be pretty much irrelevant.  About a year ago there was some chatter of a Project-C.  I continued to have that "meh" feeling.

The a few months ago I read about some work that the Windows Nano team was doing to support installing per-machine  native apps using extensions for AppX.  Additionally the FireGiant team was developing an extension to support creating MSI and AppX from a single source code base.   Now I found this  REALLY interesting except that I don't have any apps to deploy to Windows Nano Server.

Along comes BUILD2016 and FireGiant is now posting about creating MSI for Windows 8.1 and below and AppX for Windows 10  DESKTOP applications.  Flexera is also sending similar messages.   Ok, I'm really interested now. 

So it seems now some five years later that AppX just might work!

I am wondering what FireGiant will charge for this capability though.  It's kind of sad to not see it in the core WiX Toolset as open source goodness.  Rob and Bob, like the rest of us, do have mortgages to pay after all. Maybe there will be options similiar to Visual Studio Community Edition for small business, open source and educational uses.

Slightly off topic I'd like to tie this into another possibly over hyped technology: Chocolatey

I want to like chocolatey. I really do.  I also want to like One-Get Package Management.  However the former is just a wrapper for installers of various quality  and the latter was never really finished and updated to support the latest chocolatey client.

Before anyone gets too offended... I'm not discarding chocolatey yet.  I'm wondering allowed... what if in a few years time everyone is on Windows 10  (Microsoft is pushing it hard after all),  most Choco packages are really AppX wrappers and Packge Management has excellent chocolatey support.

While I'm dreaming... What if we had a way of white listing choco packages in SCCM Software Center?   Oh the possibilities.

So in closing, while new and "modern" (oh I dislike that term)  usually disappoints me, I'm seeing reason to be optimistic today.   There could be a sea change coming to my world view soon.