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What’s new in the PSF: December 2019

The Package Support Framework (PSF) is how we adapt traditional Win32 and DotNet programs to work inside of an MSIX container. The PSF is an Open Source Project found on GitHub and I often contribute to it to improve application compatibility.

This week completes the integration of another set of changes. The Pull Request (term used in Git for a request to integrate source code changes) includes the following items:

  • Adds a new type of fixup for the PSF called PsfDllLibraryFixup. This fixup intercepts calls to load a dll module to ensure that if the dll is located within the package it will be found. This solves issues with repackaging traditional application installers that used a modification to the Path variable or an AppPaths registration in the Windows Registry so that the app would find it’s dlls. But it serves as a quick fix for any situation where testing shows a dll not being found when running in the container.
  • Completes changes to allow the PSF to be used when the target exe is not in the root folder.
  • Changes the PsfMonitor build to be bit specific (x86/x64 rather than AnyCPU). While the bitness of the monitor isn’t tied to the bitness of the application, AnyCPU required the bitness of the dependency dlls to match the end-user environment, which could change based on Group Policy; thus it is better to just go bitness specific.
  • PsfMonitor now includes the capture of the standard Windows Application and System logs. This helps when the application is trying to tell you what is wrong in those traditional sources.
  • Small fixes to the FRF detected while testing specific one-off scenarios.
  • Changes to FRF logging to solve some messages that didn’t appear due to wide character conversion issues.

I am happy to announce that the changes have been accepted and are now in the master branch of the source code on GitHub.  I will soon have a new release of PsfTooling available that includes this version of the PSF, along with a slew of improvements to that tool to make the packaging easier.  Stay tuned for that announcement.

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