Windows Store Packaging - Method 1

This method gives the most versatility in editing the final package you create, giving you the ability to make changes to the AppxManifest. Additionally it simplifies testing as you only need to install a single test certificate on your machine.

This method involves the following steps:

Converting AIR to APPX package

This is the first step of the packaging process across all the methods and is the most important thing the DesktopAppConverter does. It involves taking the application and converting it into the correct structure for a Windows package.

The result we are looking for here is a directory called PackagedFiles that contains the eventual content of your appx package.

DesktopAppConverter.exe
-Installer [PATH\TO\YOUR\AIR\OUTPUT]
-AppExecutable YourApplication`.exe
-Destination [PATH\TO\OUTPUT]
-PackageName "[Package/Identity/Name]"
-PackageDisplayName "[DISPLAYNAME]"
-Publisher "CN=[Package/Identity/Publisher]"
-PackagePublisherDisplayName "[Package/Properties/PublisherDisplayName]"
-AppDisplayName "[DISPLAYNAME]"
-Version [VERSION]

This is very similar to the command used in method 2, except we are removing the -MakeAppx and -Sign options.

Update Content

At this point you can modify the content of the package before packaging it into the appx package.

Most commonly you may need to add items into the AppxManifest.xml.

We normally copy the first version of this file to another location and edit it as we require, then copy this file back into the PackagedFiles directory in our build script.

Package into APPX

Now that you have your package structure to convert this into an appx file we use the MakeAppx tool.

This is the equivalent of the -MakeAppx option in the DesktopAppConverter tool

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/msix/package/create-app-package-with-makeappx-tool

This tool creates application packages.

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\10.0.18362.0\x64\makeappx.exe" pack ^
/d [PATH\TO\PackageFiles\] ^
/p YourApplication.appx

eg:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\10.0.18362.0\x64\makeappx.exe" pack ^
/d C:\build\distriqt.airnativeextensions\PackageFiles\ ^
/p distriqt.airnativeextensions.appx

Sign

You will need a pfx certificate file in order to sign your appx file.

Create a certificate

You will need to create a certificate

For testing we suggest creating a self-signed certificate which you can use for testing your application locally.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/msix/package/create-certificate-package-signing

For example. to create a test certificate:

New-SelfSignedCertificate -Type Custom `
-Subject "CN=XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX" `
-KeyUsage DigitalSignature `
-FriendlyName "distriqt Pty Ltd" `
-CertStoreLocation "Cert:\CurrentUser\My" `
-TextExtension @("2.5.29.37={text}1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.3", "2.5.29.19={text}")

Note: It is important that the CN (common name) matches the one used in the conversion of your AIR app to APPX.

This will output a thumbprint which you use to export the certificate:

$password = ConvertTo-SecureString -String YOUR_CERT_PASSWORD -Force -AsPlainText
Export-PfxCertificate -cert "Cert:\CurrentUser\My\YOUR_CERT_THUMBPRINT" -FilePath certificate.pfx -Password $password

For store release you will need to use the certificate setup for store distribution.

At the end of this process you should have a pfx certifcate file which you will use to sign your app.

If you are using a test certificate, at this point you need to install the certificate onto your machine.

To install the certificate:

- Double click the `pfx` file
- Select "Local Machine" for the store location
- Check the certificate path
- Enter your certificates password
- Select "Place all certificates in the following store"
- "Browse"
- "Trusted Root Certification Authorities"

If you don't install the certificate you will get an error about the signature when attempting to install your appx.

Sign APPX

In order to sign the appx file generated earlier you will use the SignTool.

This is the equivalent of the -Sign option in the DesktopAppConverter tool

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/msix/package/sign-app-package-using-signtool

For example:

SignTool sign /fd SHA256 /a /f certificate.pfx /p <Your Password> <File path>.appx

You will now have a signed appx application package that you can use for test installation or store release (depending on the certificate used).

Example BAT

The following is just some pseudo commands demonstrating how you could automate the above process into a batch file.

@ECHO OFF
SET BASEDIR=C:\path\to\project
SET AIR_OUTDIR=%BASEDIR%\out\air\build
SET UWP_OUTDIR=%BASEDIR%\out\uwp\build
ECHO ===========================================================
ECHO Converting to UWP application
MKDIR %UWP_BUILDDIR%
DesktopAppConverter.exe -Installer %AIR_BUILDDIR%\ ^
-AppExecutable AirApplication.exe ^
-InstallerArguments "/quiet" ^
-Destination %UWP_OUTDIR% ^
-PackageName "distriqt.airnativeextensions" ^
-PackagePublisherDisplayName "distriqt" ^
-Publisher "CN=XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX" ^
-Version 1.0.0.0
ECHO ===========================================================
ECHO Updating Manifest
copy AppxManifest.xml %UWP_OUTDIR%\distriqt.airnativeextensions\PackageFiles\AppxManifest.xml
ECHO ===========================================================
ECHO Creating Appx
del distriqt.airnativeextensions.appx
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\10.0.18362.0\x64\makeappx.exe" pack ^
/d %UWP_OUTDIR%\distriqt.airnativeextensions\PackageFiles\ ^
/p distriqt.airnativeextensions.appx
ECHO ===========================================================
ECHO Signing Appx
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\10.0.18362.0\x64\signtool.exe" sign /fd SHA256 ^
/a /f distriqt_selfsigned.pfx /p "p4ssword" ^
distriqt.airnativeextensions.appx

Note: it is possible to automate the removal and install of the appx package for testing as well.

Have a look at the Remove-AppxPackage and Add-AppxPackage powershell commands.