Windows App SDK deployment guide for framework-dependent packaged apps
This article provides guidance about deploying framework-dependent packaged apps (see What is MSIX?) that use the Windows App SDK. The equivalent topic for other framework-dependent packaging options is Windows App SDK deployment guide for framework-dependent apps packaged with external location or unpackaged.
By default, when you create a project using one of the WinUI 3 templates in Visual Studio, your project is configured to build the app into an MSIX package using either single-project MSIX (see Package your app using single-project MSIX) or a Windows Application Packaging project (see Set up your desktop application for MSIX packaging in Visual Studio). You can then build an MSIX package for your app by using the instructions in Package a desktop or UWP app in Visual Studio. After you build an MSIX package for your app, you have several options to Manage your MSIX deployment.
To learn more about the packages that your packaged app might need when it uses the Windows App SDK, see Deployment architecture for the Windows App SDK. Those include the Framework, Main, and Singleton packages; which are all signed and published by Microsoft. There are two main requirements for deploying a packaged app:
- For packaged apps, the VCLibs framework package dependency is a requirement. For more info, see C++ Runtime framework packages for Desktop Bridge.
- C#. .NET 6 or later is required. For more info, see .NET Downloads.
Deploy the Windows App SDK framework package
The Windows App SDK framework package contains the Windows App SDK binaries used at run time, and it is installed with your application. The framework has different deployment requirements for different channels of the Windows App SDK.
When you install a stable release version (see Stable channel release notes) of the Windows App SDK NuGet package on your development computer, and you create a project using one of the provided WinUI 3 project templates, the generated package manifest contains a PackageDependency element that specifies a dependency on the framework package.
However, if you build your app package manually using a separate Windows Application Packaging Project, then you must declare a PackageReference in your
Application (package).wapproj file, like the following:
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.WindowsAppSDK" Version="1.0.1">
That package dependency ensures that the Framework package is installed when your app is deployed to another computer.
When you install a preview release version (see Preview channel release notes) of the Windows App SDK NuGet package on your development computer, a preview version of the Windows App SDK framework package is deployed during build time as a NuGet package dependency.
Call the Deployment API
Also see Initialize the Windows App SDK.
The Deployment API is provided by the Windows App SDK framework package, and is available in the Microsoft.Windows.ApplicationModel.WindowsAppRuntime namespace. The Windows application model doesn't support declaring a dependency on the Main and Singleton packages. The Deployment API is therefore required for these reasons:
- To deploy the Singleton package for features not in the Framework package (for example, push notifications).
- To deploy the Main package, which enables automatic updates to the Framework package from the Microsoft Store.
For packaged apps that are not distributed through the Store, you as the developer are responsible for distributing the Framework package. We recommended that you call the Deployment API so that any critical servicing updates are delivered. Note that for using features outside the Framework package (for example, push notifications), the Singleton package must be deployed (this can be done with the Deployment API, or by redistributing the MSIX packages using your own install method).
In Windows App SDK version 1.0, only packaged apps that are full trust or that have the packageManagement restricted capability have the permission to use the Deployment API to install the Main and Singleton package dependencies. Support for partial trust packaged apps will be coming in later releases.
You should call the Deployment API after your app's process is initialized, but before your app uses Windows App SDK runtime features that use the Singleton package (for example, push notifications). The main methods of the Deployment API are the static GetStatus and Initialize methods of the DeploymentManager class.
- The GetStatus method returns the current deployment status of the Windows App SDK runtime that's currently loaded. Use this method to identify whether there's work required to install Windows App SDK runtime packages before the current app can use Windows App SDK features.
- The Initialize method verifies whether all required packages are present to a minimum version needed by the Windows App SDK runtime that's currently loaded. If any package dependencies are missing, then the method attempts to register those missing packages. Beginning in Windows App SDK 1.1, the Initialize method also supports the option to force-deploy the Windows App SDK runtime packages. That shuts down any processes for the Main and Singleton runtime packages, and thus interrupts their services (for example, push notifications won't deliver notifications during this time).
Deployment API sample app
For additional guidance on how to use the GetStatus and Initialize methods of the DeploymentManager class, explore the available sample app.
Address installation errors
If the Deployment API encounters an error during installation of the Windows App SDK runtime packages, it returns an error code that describes the problem.
For example, if your app is not full trust, or doesn't have the packageManagement restricted capability, then you'll get an ACCESS_DENIED error code. To review other error codes that you may encounter and their possible causes, see Troubleshooting packaging, deployment, and query of Windows apps.
If the error code doesn't provide enough information, then you can find more diagnostic information in the detailed event logs (see Get diagnostic information).
If you encounter errors that you can't diagnose, then file an issue in the WindowsAppSDK GitHub repo with the error code and event logs so that we can investigate the issue.