While building your packages is the first step, the next logical step is distributing your packages. You want to make this process trivial for your users.
What if your users could directly install from the web. Let’s learn how!
New Scheme from Microsoft – ms-appinstaller
Microsoft makes this possible by using the protocol activation scheme – ms-appinstaller. When you click on a link referenced by this scheme, Windows invokes the app-installer and makes it seamless for the app to be installed. The app is not downloaded to the machine. It’s streamed directly from the web server
Of course, for this ‘hand-shake’ to happen, there are a few requirements to be met on the webserver. Here is some documentation from Microsoft on how to enable this.
However, for the sake of illustrating this simply, I took the route of GitHub pages where the requirements are configured already. Here are some very simple steps through which I created the “install from web” experience:
- Create a sample GitHub repo
- Enable GitHub pages in your repo’s settings
- Upload your msix package to the repo
- Create a simple html file. I created an ‘index.html’ file here
- Notice the link. This is where the magic lies
- Look at the href for the link. This is how you specify what your link is pointing to
- That’s all!
Now, all you need to do is access your page till ‘index.html’. Click on the link ‘Install MSI Diff Package’ link.
Don’t worry. The package is safe. It’s InstallShield’s MSI Diff tool signed with our corporate signature.