WES 8 modules – just another name for packages?

27 04 2012

I have been discussing with a customer in one of my trainings recently and he said:

WES 8 now has modules instead of packages – will Microsoft ever stop the renaming nightmare?
Well, I told him that I am sure pretty sure that Microsoft is going to stick to its renaming habit from time to time, but looking at modules and packages this is not the case. 

In fact, both are different things. While packages are the desktop windows container format for servicing, modules are the building blocks of the Windows Embedded Standard 8 operating system construction kit.
It is great to have them, because looking at the previous version Windows Embedded Standard 7 there was no way to extend the build system consistently. This meant OS developers could not create packages themselves, due to the fact that packages required to be signed by Microsoft to work in the maintenance infrastructure. Therefore, in WES 7, the only options left were to work with the OEM Folders ( a concept originated in the early years of Windows) and Out-of-Box driver folder in the distribution share to get custom software into an image.
Unfortunately this approach is a bit clumsy and error prone.

WES 7 distribution share with OEM Folders

To improve the development experience the Windows Embedded Standard Team created a complete new packaging infrastructure for Windows Embedded Standard 8. They chose the name “Modules ” for it, which is a pretty good match. Modules are organized in the Catalog, a hierarchical structure that groups modules according to functionality.
Modules are now the new WES functionality containers, which can be created by Microsoft as well as you, the OS developer.
This is great, because now we have the possibility to integrate custom, 3rd party software and new drivers seamlessly into the WES 8 OS build system.

WES 8 view of the new catalog in ICE – much cleaner and more easy to use!

The new concept is supported by a new tool called “Module Designer”, which I am going to talk about in more detail in one of my upcoming blog posts.





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