Action1 5 Documentation 5 Prepare Multi-File Custom Packages

Prepare Multi-File Custom Packages

 

In order to streamline app distribution and delivery, Action1 enables you to upload custom packages consisting of multiple files and deploy them through the Action1 App Store. For example, you can create a package for Microsoft Office apps or development tools such as java distributions, node.js.

On top of that, with the help of multi-file custom packages, you can distribute files that don’t have a fully-featured installer and come as a set of files that need to be copied to some folder – so-called “dumb file deployment”.

Custom apps in the App Store

MakOnce this package is uploaded to Action1 Cloud, you will be able to deploy it as any regular package. Managed endpoints will download the package data using our cloud file-sharing technology, which works by sharing chunks of data across multiple computers. Let’s say you have 100 endpoints and need to download a 2 GB package. Each endpoint would download approximately 20 MB and share it with other managed endpoint endpoints. This way Internet traffic usage is minimized and download reliability is accomplished.

What kind of packages can you create? 

You can create packages with:

  • EXE and other files such as configurations
  • MSI with MST (transform) files that customize your installation, for example, add a license code or create a preconfigured profile. For custom transform (*.MST) files, consider using the ORCA tool. Make sure to select packages that perform per-machine installation; per-user installation isn’t supported by Action1.
  • Any regular “dumb” files (that aren’t installers)

Preparing a package with MSI/EXE files

  1. Create a work folder, such as C:\\work.
  2. Copy your files to this folder. Make sure to include a setup file (EXE or MSI). Alongside, add configuration files, etc.
  3. Select all files in the folder and specify Add to archive.

Preparing a ZIP package with regular files (“Dumb file deploy”)

  1. Create a temporary folder, such as C:\\MyAppTemp.
  2. Copy your files to this folder.
  3. Create a simple CMD, PowerShell, or batch script that copies files from the folder to the target location. Place the script next to your files. It is recommended to use a flat file structure in the temporary folder, it will allow you to use relative file paths without specifying a folder name.

Example:

mkdir "C:\Programs Files\MyApp"
copy file.txt "C:\Programs Files\MyApp"

  1. Select all files including a script and specify Add to archive.
Creating a dumb installation package

Uninstallation tips:

In order to make “dumb” apps uninstallable in the future, make sure to create an uninstall entry in the Add/Remove Programs along with a reference to the uninstall script (which has to be put into ZIP and copied as well). The following example commands can be used to create an uninstall entry.

REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\MyApp /v UninstallString /t REG_EXPAND_SZ /d "cmd.exe /c C:\Programs Files\MyApp\uninstall.cmd"

REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\MyApp /v DisplayName /t REG_SZ /d "MyApp"

REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\MyApp /v DisplayVersion /t REG_SZ /d "1.0"

Next steps

  1. Add a new package to the App Store. For more information on creating new apps, see Add Custom Packages to App Store.
  2. Add a version and upload the ZIP you’ve generated.
    • For EXE-based packages, select Other installation type and make sure to specify the EXE name in silent switches. For example,  setup.exe /q. Use quotes if the setup name contains spaces, e.g., “my setup.exe” /q.
    • For MSI-based packages, select Windows Installer and add an MSI name in properties as a first parameter (e.g., “my setup.msi” param1=value1), embrace file names that contain spaces in quotes. To enforce a transform file (*.MST), specify setup.msi TRANSFORMS=transforms.mst.
    • For script-based “dumb files” packages, specify Other installation type and provide a script name as a silent install switch parameter (e.g., copy.ps1). Use quotes if the script name contains spaces.
  3. Deploy the package to your managed endpoints. For detailed instructions on how to roll out packages, see Deploy Software with App Store.

Step-by-step example: preparing Microsoft Office tools package

Creating a package

  1. Download Office Deployment Tool (ODT).
  2. Create a work folder, such as C:\work.
  3. Run officedeploymenttool_xxxxx-xxxxx.exe /extract:temp (the actual name of exe is version-dependent) to extract Setup.exe into the “temp” subfolder, then copy the resulting setup.exe into the work folder.
  4. Create the configuration.xml file in the work folder. Refer to Microsoft documentation for more information on components needed.
  5. Inside the work folder, run the CMD command: setup.exe /download configuration.xml. It will download a few GBs into the Office subfolder. Please wait, it might take some time depending on your network bandwidth.
  6. Select all files in your work folder, including exexml, and the Office subfolder, and and add them to a ZIP file called setup.zip. Your installation package is ready and can be uploaded to Action1 Cloud.
Creating a custom app package with Office tools

Uploading a package to the Action1 App Store

  1. In Action1, navigate to the App Store and select + New App.
  2. Provide general information about the package such as a vendor, description.
  3. Add a version and provide general information about it, including a version number and release date, then save it.
Adding the Office app package to the App Store
  1. Proceed to the Installation tab, select Windows 64 bit download and upload your ZIP Action1 Cloud for P2P distribution.
  2. For Installation type, select Other: .exe or script (.cmd, .bat or .ps1).
  3. For Silent install switches, provide: setup.exe /configure configuration.xml.
  4. Add success exit codes if necessary.
Uploading the Office app package to Action1 Cloud
  1. For this particular app package, there is no need to specify any steps on the Additional Actions tab.

Now, Microsoft Office becomes available in the Action1 App Store as a custom app and you can distribute it to your managed endpoints. Consider rolling out deployment to a test group first before scheduling a companywide delivery.

Updating the app

Upload a newer version of the Office custom app package to roll out updates to your endpoints.

 

  1. Select the package in the App Store.
  2. In the version setting section, select Add version.
  3. Provide information about the new version and upload the package. See detailed instructions above.
  4. Navigate to Installed Apps dashboard, locate the Office package and select Deploy Update.

Troubleshooting

In case of the “The operation completed with error code 17006″ error, stop all Office 365 processes on your managed endpoints (e.g., Outlook, Word, Excel) before attempting to deploy app updates.