Creating and Deploying an Add-In Package


Updated: October 9, 2012

Applies To: Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials

To distribute your add-in, you must create an add-in package that is a cabinet (CAB) file, which contains Windows Installer packages, an addin.xml file for metadata, and an optional .rtf for an End-User License Agreement. The CAB file must use a .wssx extension

You complete the following steps to create an add-in package:

  1. How to: Install the Windows Installer XML (WiX) Tools

  2. How to: Create the Windows Installer Package for the Server

  3. How to: Create the Windows Installer Package for 32-bit Client Computers

  4. How to: Create the Windows Installer Package for 64-bit Client Computers

  5. How to: Create the Metadata File for the Add-In

  6. How to: Create the Add-In Package

  7. How to: Digitally Sign the Add-In Package

  8. How to: Configure the Add-In Package to be Updated or Renewed

  9. How to: Localize the Add-In Package

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    An add-in package can also be created using the WiX tools via the Visual Studio 2010 Extensions (

You can deploy the add-in package (.wssx file) through any channel that you find appropriate for your add-in. For example you can offer the add-in from a website:

  1. The .wssx file is downloaded from a website to a client computer that can communicate with the server.

  2. The .wssx file is double-clicked to start the installation process. During the installation of the add-in, the components (server-side .msi and client-side .msi files) are installed on the server. The server redistributes the client-side .msi file to all of the client computers on the network.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    Most servers are installed and configured to be administered remotely. An installation of an add-in from the desktop on a server is not a supported scenario. You must not rely on users having access to the desktop of the server.

System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

You must digitally sign your add-in package to prevent a warning from being displayed when the add-in is installed. For more information, see How to: Digitally Sign the Add-In Package.

You can offer the add-in package (.wssx file) through any channel that you deem appropriate to the end-user who will install the add-in. The following steps illustrate a typical scenario of how the user would download and install an add-in:

  1. The user downloads the .wssx package from an Internet site to his client computer that is joined to a server for which you created the add-in.

  2. The user double-clicks the .wssx file to start the installation process:

    1. The add-in components (server-side .msi and client-side .msi files) are transported to the server.

    2. The server-side component is installed on the server.

    3. The server then redistributes the client-side .msi to any of the joined client computers in the network.

System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

In order to avoid the user seeing a security warning message at installation, you must properly code sign the add-in package.

System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

As many servers are headless devices, installation from a server’s desktop is not a supported scenario and you must not rely on users having access to the server’s desktop.

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