App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) v1.4 Released!

ACE-256px_thumb.pngVirtual Engine are pleased to announce the version 1.4 release of the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE). This (free) utility provides a simple user interface for editing App-V 5 dynamic configuration and manifest files, without manually hacking the underlying XML files.

This release requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 or above and contains several reported bug fixes along with:

  • Support for App-V 5.1 (See excellent blog post by @ThamimKarim for a run down of what’s new in App-V 5.1);
  • Ability to modify AppxManifest files to support the App-V 5.1 sequencer Export/Import feature;
  • New Applications tab has been added, where you can Enable or Disable applications when published;
  • Improved Error checking for missing data;
  • New setting added to the User and Machine scripts that enables scripts to Run Asynchronously;
  • Tool tips added to explain what various settings or options will do;
  • New options added to the Shortcuts Context Menu that make it even easier to add new shortcuts;
  • Ability to pop-out the Generated XML and Source XML into a separate viewable window;
  • Comments have been added in the Generated XML file to make it easier to read each section;
  • Drag and Drop support has been added to open the dynamic configuration files;
  • Ability to save the Generated XML for use in App-V Scheduler.

Using the OneGet App-V Provider

Once you have the App-V OneGet/Microsoft Package Management provider installed, how the heck do you use it?!

The App-V provider supports locating, installing and uninstalling App-V 5.x packages from a file path/share (the use of HTTP/S streaming is not supported). To be able install App-V packages we first need to tell the provider where it can find packages.

Note: The following screenshots were taken from a Windows 8.1 x64 WMF 4.0 machine with the OneGet experimental build installed.

Registering a App-V Package Source

Before the App-V provider can locate any packages, you need to register one or more package sources. By default, the only package source that is registered automatically is the App-V Package Source Root, but only if present in the App-V client configuration.

Each package source requires at least a name and location. When registering a package source you will also need to tell OneGet what provider the source is associated with. The following shows adding a local folder as an App-V provider package source.

Register-PackageSource

In addition, each package source can be trusted (they’re not by default). If a package source is untrusted – like the Chocolatey public feed – you will see a prompt when installing packages. When a package source is trusted, you are not prompted when installing packages. The examples shown here do not utilise a trusted package source.

Discovering App-V Packages

The OneGet/Package Management will search all registered package sources by default. For example, searching for ‘Chrome’ will search Chocolatey, the PSGallery and the ‘DropBox’ package source for packages matching ‘Chrome’.

findpackagechrome

That’s quite a few packages and we certainly would not want to install all of them! Fortunately, Find-Package supports filtering packages by provider, version and/or source.

findpackagechromeprovider

findpackagechromesource

findpackagechromeversion

The versioning semantics of App-V packages with OneGet/Package Management will probably be the subject of another blog post. Note: the package summary is read directly from the App-V package description – you do add a description to each sequence right?!

Installing App-V Packages

All packages are installed with the OneGet/PackageManagement Install-Package cmdlet – regardless of provider. There are two primary ways of installing available App-V packages with the App-V provider; Find-Package and Install-Package.

The Install-Package cmdlet will take the output of the Find-Package cmdlet via the pipeline. Therefore, we can install the ‘Microsoft Expression Web’ App-V package using this method.

Note: there are only calls to Get-AppvClientPackage to show that there was nothing registered in the App-V client before Install-Package was run and that the package was registered afterwards. The Get-AppvClientPackage commands are not required!

findpackageinstallpackage

Package names can also be specified on the Install-Package cmdlet itself. This also supports the
–ProviderName, -Source and/or –RequiredVersion switches to filter the installation source etc.

findpackageinstallpackageprovider

Removing App-V Packages

There may be occasions when you might need to remove an App-V package or two. The great thing about the OneGet/Package Management module is that it will enumerate packages registered in the App-V client – regardless of installation method. Therefore, if you already have App-V packages registered, you can still use the App-V OneGet provider without having to make any changes :).

The following example depicts that nothing is registered in the App-V client at first, then Notepad++ is registered outside of OneGet via the native App-V cmdlets and is still detected.

AddAppvClientPackage_GetPackage

Packages can be removed either using the Uninstall-Package cmdlet or piped from the Get-Package cmdlet into the Uninstall-Package cmdlet. The following command will uninstall all registered App-V packages.

UninstallPackage

Unregistering Package Sources

As and when you need to remove package sources, you can use the Unregister-PackageSource cmdlet with the package source name.

UnregisterPackageSource

Note: the OneGet/Package Management App-V provider does not currently support the –Location parameter of the Unregister-PackageSource cmdlet. It is on the backlog and we are working on it 😉

Summary

Remember that this is an open-source project. This means that if there are changes you would like to see implemented or you have found a bug, head over to the project site and start to contribute!

Installing the OneGet App-V Provider

The Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.x provider for OneGet can be installed in numerous ways depending on the version of the Windows Management Framework (WMF) installed and/or whether you have the OneGet/Microsoft Package Management bits installed.

Prerequisites

Duh?! The OneGet/Package Management module and the App-V 5.x client of course!

Everything you need is included in the Windows Management Framework 5.0 April 2015 (or later) preview. If you don’t want to install the full WMF 5.0 preview you can download and install the latest experimental OneGet build instead on Windows 7 and upwards.

Note: due to internal namespace changes you will need to have OneGet version 1.15.122.18327 or later installed.

Quick Install

If you have installed WMF 5.0 or the OneGet experimental bits you should be able to install the module via the Powershell Gallery. This process may change once we can get the provider natively bootstrapping. We’re working with @fearthecowboy on this – so watch this space!

To get busy, trying running Install-Module –Name AppvProvider

Manual Install

Until the bootstrapping is working you can manually download and install the provider without having to use PowershellGet.

  1. Download the latest provider release from GitHub.
  2. Unblock the .zip file.
  3. Extract the .zip file contents into the %ProgramFiles%\WindowsPowershell\Modules.

Appv Provider Modules

Is It Working?!

To determine whether you have followed the above instructions correctly and everything is working, fire up a Powershell prompt and run the Get-PackageProvider cmdlet. All being well, you should see the App-V provider listed:

Get-PackageProvider

 

Once you have the provider installed, you can find more details on how to use it in the Using the OneGet App-V Provider post.

Summary

Remember that this is an open-source project. This means that if there are changes you would like to see implemented or you have found a bug, head over to the project page and start to contribute!

App-V Package Management Provider

Appv Provider Project Home Page

Appv Provider Project Home Page

Virtual Engine are proud to announce that we have open-sourced a new Microsoft App-V 5.x OneGet/Package Management provider on GitHub.

This provider complements the built-in providers shipping in the latest Windows Management Framework 5.0 preview, enabling a unified approach to managing package installs on networked computers.  Here is a brief description of OneGet from the online Powershell help.

OneGet is a unified interface for software package management systems; you can run OneGet cmdlets to perform software discovery, installation, and inventory (SDII) tasks. Regardless of the underlying installation technology, you can run the common cmdlets in OneGet to search for, install, or uninstall packages; add, remove, and query package repositories; and run queries on a computer to determine which software packages are installed.

For more information, check out Installing the OneGet App-V Provider and Using the OneGet App-V Provider blog posts.

As this is an open-source project we would love to see the App-V and Powershell communities get involved and contribute. For more information about getting started, check out the project page and join in the fun!

App-V 5 Sequencer Template – Full VFS Write Mode

With the recent release of Hotfix 4 for App-V 5.0, Microsoft has now provided the ability to “Allow virtual applications full write permissions to the virtual file system”. This setting can be found in the sequencer under the “Advanced” tab as demonstrated in the screen shot below:

 Sequncer Full VFS

Should you wish to enable this setting as a default whenever you create a new package, then simply go ahead and add <FullVFSWriteMode>true<FullVFSWriteMode> into your sequencer template (.appvt), as you can see below. This setting is only valid where you have the App-V 5.0 SP2 Hotfix 4 sequencer installed.

And if you’re not currently using a template then I’d highly recommend you do. You’ll find a great article over at Rory Monaghan’s blog that explains the use of the sequencer template in more detail.

Nathan

App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) v1.1 Released!

Virtual Engine are pleased to announce the version 1.1 release of the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE). This (free) utility provides a simple user interface for editing App-V 5 the machine or user dynamic configuration files without manually hacking the underlying XML files. New in this release is the ability to Add, Delete and Edit shortcuts within the package, as well as various GUI improvements.

App-V 5 Configuration Editor User Guide

ACEWe’ve been working hard getting the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) ready for official release; take a look at the ACE page for a bit more information about why it was developed.

The purpose of this short blog to guide you through the ACE interface. There is an assumption here you have an understanding of the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files and how they are used, if not you might want to take a look at this Technet article.

USER INTERFACE

Main Toolbar:

You will notice there are three main buttons in the tool bar as shown below:

Main Toolbar

image Opens an App-V XML file, i.e. a UserConfig.xml or DeploymentConfig.xml file. Once the file has been opened the contents will be parsed and displayed under the various tabs within the GUI.

image Saves the current App-V XML file, including any changes that have been made. You can give it a new name and Save As a different file, keeping your original one as is if necessary.

image Previews the changes that will be made to the App-V XML file before saving. This gives you the ability to check out the structure of the generated XML. It’s probably a good idea to point out here that you don’t need to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

Package Details:

This sections displays the Package Display Name, Package ID and Type of XML file opened, i.e. DeploymentConfig or UserConfig. Here is an example DeploymentConfig.xml opened below:

Package Details

MAIN CONFIGURATION TABS

Once an App-V 5 configuration XML file has been opened you can then begin to make changes as required using the tabs set out below.

User Configuration

Under the User Configuration tab you can change and view various options and configurations:

User Configuration

Options

Various global options change be changed here if you so desire, e.g. altering the COM integration mode.

Shortcuts

This tab allows you to View, Add, Edit or Delete any Shortcuts within the package.

If you want to delete an existing shortcut, simply select the row that contains the shortcut and press delete. Should you wish to add a new shortcut, I’d suggest you copy and paste an existing row and then edit the fields accordingly; we’ve added a context menu to make that task easy, should you not fancy using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V  Smile.

Shortcuts

Scripts (User Context)

This is really where ACE starts to make life simple Smile. You can easily define which scripts you’d like to add and to which script actions, e.g. PublishPackage, UnpublishPackage, StartVirtualEnvironment, TerminateVirtualEnvironment, StartProcess and ExitProcess. There is no need to worry about getting the syntax in the XML file right. There are some excellent blogs out there talking about using scripts in App-V 5.0, so I suggest you take a look here at one from Tim Mangan and Microsoft’s own Steve Thompson if you need some further background information.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the User Configuration section of the XML file.

I think most of the options are self explanatory but, it’s good to point out that leaving the Timeout value at 0 means no timeout period will be set, i.e. it will wait indefinitely for it to finish so use with caution.

Scripts (User Context)

Machine Configuration

Under the Machine Configuration tab you can alter global options, configure scripts and control the termination of processes.

NOTE: this tab will only be available when you open a DeploymentConfig.xml file. This is because machine configuration items cannot be set in the UserConfig.xml file.

Machine Configuration

Options

Here you’ll find any options that can be changed if you so desire.

Terminate Child Processes

You can define the path to an executable, that when closed, will terminate any child process running within the virtual environment.

Terminate Child Processes

Scripts (System Context)

Very much like the Scripts tab under User Configuration you can define which scripts you’d like to add to which machine script actions, e.g. AddPackage, RemovePackage, PublishPackage and UnpublishPackage.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the Machine Configuration section of the XML file.

Scripts (System Context)

XML

You can view both the source (original) XML and/or preview the generated XML under this tab.

Source XML

Source XML

This is simply where you can view your source App-V XML file as it was when you opened it.

Generated XML

Once you click the Preview button image this pane will display any changes that will be made to the App-V XML file, giving you the ability to check out the structure of the XML before saving if you wish. NOTE: You don’t have to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

The example below (highlighted in yellow) shows the changes made by ACE in the generated XML format. NOTE: ACE will not highlight the changes in the XML, we’ve done it here for clarity purposes only.

Generated XML

With any luck this brief guide has given you a good overview of how to use ACE and hopefully you’ll agree its pretty intuitive to use and should make editing the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files a lot, lot easier (well we think so anyway!)? 🙂

DISCLAIMER: THE APP-V CONFIGURATION EDITOR IS FREE TO USE AT YOUR OWN RISK, WE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE IT MIGHT CAUSE.

Querying .APPV Package Properties Part 2

powershell_appv_logoFollowing on from Part 1, we can also query the properties of an App-V 5.0 .APPV package with another cmdlet included in the Virtual Engine App-V 5.0 .APPV PowerShell CmdLets; Get-AppV5FilePackage.  The main difference with this cmdlet (when compared to Get-AppV5FileXml and Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage) is that it returns a custom PSObject with a simpler property namespace and additional package information.

To populate our object we can run this:

C:\PS> $AppVPackage = Get-AppV5FilePackage –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv

Going back to our example in Part 1, we can then query this object for both the VersionId and PVAD like so:

C:\PS> $AppVPackage | Select-Object VersionId,FileSystemRoot | Format-List

VersionId      : fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6
FileSystemRoot : C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

Our custom PSObject also includes details of all the files in package and the uncompressed size. If you want to know how much space a package will take when loaded into the App-V 5 client cache, then this is the command for you!

To return the uncompressed package size we could run:

$AppVPackage.UncompressedSize
43738570

If you want this in MB, easy:

C:\PS> ($AppVPackage.UncompressedSize/1MB).ToString("N2")
41.71

Want the total number of files in the package?

C:\PS> $AppVPackage.Files.Count
85

Need a list of all the files in the .APPV package?

C:\PS> $AppVPackage.Files | Select-Object FullName

FullName
--------
Registry.dat
Root/components/binary.manifest
Root/components/browsercomps.dll
Root/defaults/pref/channel-prefs.js
Root/defaults/pref/local-settings.js
Root/dictionaries/en-US.aff
Root/dictionaries/en-US.dic
Root/extensions/%7B972ce4c6-7e08-4474-a285-3208198ce6fd%7D/icon.png
Root/extensions/%7B972ce4c6-7e08-4474-a285-3208198ce6fd%7D/install.rdf
Root/modules/services-aitc/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-common/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-crypto/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-notifications/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-sync/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-sync/engines/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/sessionstore/.mkdir.done
Root/searchplugins/amazondotcom.xml
Root/searchplugins/bing.xml
Root/searchplugins/eBay.xml
Root/searchplugins/google.xml
Root/searchplugins/twitter.xml
Root/searchplugins/wikipedia.xml
Root/searchplugins/yahoo.xml
Root/webapprt/omni.ja
Root/webapprt/webapprt.ini
Root/override.ini
Root/mozilla.cfg
Root/install.log
Root/AccessibleMarshal.dll
Root/application.ini
Root/blocklist.xml
Root/breakpadinjector.dll
Root/chrome.manifest
Root/crashreporter-override.ini
Root/crashreporter.exe
Root/crashreporter.ini
Root/D3DCompiler_43.dll
Root/d3dx9_43.dll
Root/dependentlibs.list
Root/firefox.exe
Root/freebl3.chk
Root/freebl3.dll
Root/gkmedias.dll
Root/libEGL.dll
Root/libGLESv2.dll
Root/maintenanceservice.exe
Root/maintenanceservice_installer.exe
Root/mozalloc.dll
Root/mozglue.dll
Root/mozjs.dll
Root/mozsqlite3.dll
Root/msvcp100.dll
Root/msvcr100.dll
Root/nspr4.dll
Root/nss3.dll
Root/nssckbi.dll
Root/nssdbm3.chk
Root/nssdbm3.dll
Root/nssutil3.dll
Root/omni.ja
Root/platform.ini
Root/plc4.dll
Root/plds4.dll
Root/plugin-container.exe
Root/precomplete
Root/removed-files
Root/smime3.dll
Root/softokn3.chk
Root/softokn3.dll
Root/ssl3.dll
Root/update-settings.ini
Root/updater.exe
Root/updater.ini
Root/webapp-uninstaller.exe
Root/webapprt-stub.exe
Root/xpcom.dll
Root/xul.dll
Root/firefox.exe.0.ico
Root/firefox.exe.1.ico
FilesystemMetadata.xml
StreamMap.xml
PackageHistory.xml
AppxManifest.xml
AppxBlockMap.xml
[Content_Types].xml

Hopefully, these cmdlets will be useful? As an example, we’ve used the Get-AppV5FilePackage cmdlet to create HTML .APPV package reports. Happy PoShing Open-mouthed smile

Querying .APPV Package Properties Part 1

powershell_appv_logoSo you have an App-V 5.0 package (in this example I’ll use Mozilla Firefox) and you’d like to know various properties about the package without loading it into the App-V 5 client. The sequencer creates numerous files by default that expose some extremely pertinent information, i.e. the PackageId. The PackageId is specified in both the template <PackageName>_DeploymentConfig.xml and <PackageName>_UserConfig.xml files.

Unfortunately for us, other useful details such as the VersionId and Primary Virtual Asset Directory (PVAD) are stored within the <PackageName>.appv file. This is a compressed archive and can simply be opened with Windows Explorer by renaming the file with a .ZIP extension. Within this file are some more files (generated by the Sequencer):

image

If we want to find out information such as the VersionId or Primary Virtual Asset Directory (PVAD directory) without loading the package into the App-V 5.0 client, we have to manually rename the file, open the archive and inspect the various files (AppxManifest.xml for the VersionId and FileSystemMetadata.xml for the PVAD). Whilst this is fine, it is manual and if we forget to rename the file back to a .APPV file we leave the package unusable!

Using PowerShell

This is what the Virtual Engine App-V 5.0 Package PowerShell CmdLets are for! Included are three CmdLets that can help us here: Get-AppV5FileXmlGet-AppV5FileXmlPackage and/or Get-AppV5FilePackage. This post covers the first two and Part 2 of this post covers the Get-AppV5FilePackage command.

Get-AppV5FileXml

This cmdlet will extract the contents of a single XML file within an .APPV package. The results are returned as a System.Xml.XmlDocument that we can then interrogate. No more manually renaming the archive, extracting and then loading the file.

Going back to our example, if we wanted the VersionId of an .APPV package we need to interrogate the AppxManifest.xml file. To accomplish this we can run this command (all on a single line!):

C:\PS> (Get-AppV5FileXml –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv –XML AppxManifest).Package.Identity.VersionId

fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6

C:\PS>

If we want the PVAD directory, this is stored in the FileSystemMetadata.xml file. Easy (again, all on a single line!):

(Get-AppV5FileXml –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv –XML FilesystemMetadata).Metadata.FileSystem.Root

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

C:\PS>

This method loads each file into it’s own XmlDocument. Is there a way to load all the XML properties at once? You betcha!

Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage

This command bundles all the default sequencer generated XML files into a single XmlDocument object. This includes the contents of the AppxManifest.xml, StreamMap.xml, AppxBloackMap.xml, PackageHistory.xml and FileSystemMetadata.xml files. Each XML file is loaded under the <AppV5> element within the XML document and therefore, the paths are extended slightly.

Taking our example, if want to get the VersionId and PVAD we can do this instead:

C:\PS> $Mozilla = Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv

C:\PS> $Mozilla.AppV5.Package.Identity.VersionId
fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6

C:\PS> $Mozilla.AppV5.Metadata.FileSystem.Root
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

C:\PS>

In Part 2, we can use yet another method: Get-AppV5FilePackage. Happy PowerShelling Open-mouthed smile

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