msix hero

Goodbye Ribbon!

MSIX Hero 2.0 (Preview) has been published. In this version, the old distinctive Ribbon UI has been dropped in favor of a simpler, Fluent Design inspired layout, which also shares a few characteristics and similarities with Azure / OneDrive UI.

Several problems with Ribbon:

  • It forced me to put all control in a central top place, while several of them would work better in the places where the user expected them.
  • It provided limited spacing for showing all the tools and wizard the tools had.
  • It was simply big, and taking precious screen space.
  • It felt so old-school on Windows 10 with its new design principles (the new compact ribbon would probably help with some of these, but would on the other hand introduce other issues on its own).
  • While it definitely felt “Windows-ish”, I also wanted to introduce some kind of entity, having something special and unique to the tool, while still not shocking the user with unknown concepts and patterns.

The new UI is not the only highlight of this preview. The full changelog and some highlights are documented on the following page:

MSIX Hero 2.0 (Preview) – Blog post

Note: this version installs side-by-side with the current 1.5 branch. You can distinguish both by their icon and display text in the Start Menu:

Posted by Marcin Otorowski in MSIX Hero, 0 comments

Publishing to winget with MSIX Hero

MSIX Hero is a freeware tool used by administrators and packagers for troubleshooting, analysis and debugging of MSIX packages. One of the latest updates introduced a new functionality – the ability to edit and create YAML manifests – a format accepted by winget package manager.

Winget is the newest approach from Microsoft, which aims to offer a centralized, format-agnostic package manager. While it differs substantially from what Linux/UNIX package managers and even Chocolatey, Scoop etc. offer, there seems to be rather a positive reception by the community. Once some missing features are there, together with constantly growing number of apps available, it may eventually become a really interesting part of the ecosystem, possibly one of the first thing the user would install to get his beloved apps and stuff on his newly staged computer.

In this blog post, I will show how to get started, create and validate an app definition and finally push it to the repository. Some basic knowledge of git would help you to get started (as the publishing process relies heavily on a proper git-based workflow), but this guide has been written for git beginners in mind. Just make sure you have a free GitHub account – register for a new one if you do not have any yet.

This tutorial is specifically addressed to those, who may not be quite proficient with git and related stuff, but want to still be able to publish submissions to winget. Users working with git on daily basis can certainly skip large parts of sections, describing how to fork and sync repositories.

Preparing

The app that I am going to publish will be the newest version 1.0.5 of MSIX Hero. The app is going to be an update of a previous version which is already in winget, but every submission is more or less following the same steps, regardless of being a completely new app, or just an updated version.

The first step is to prepare the sources. The app must be installable silently (with or without command line switches) and redistributable as a single file. The format itself is less important, most popular choices are:

  • MSI (Windows Installer) (note: because the file must be completely standalone, make sure that all your files and CAB archives are compressed inside the MSI container)
  • EXE (any format would work, some typical would be setups created by InnoSetup or NSIS).
  • MSIX/APPX (preferred choice for the modern deployment).

MSIX Hero is an MSIX app. The steps for other types are mostly the same.

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Posted by Marcin Otorowski, 0 comments