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Helpful
Responsive Resident
Responsive Resident

Adding licensing information to an existing solution

Hi All, I'm thrilled that Microsoft is adding something to support licensing ISV apps distributed through AppSource. That being said, in its current state it's pretty confusing and the documentation does not provide much clarity on the what or how of this feature.

 

As an ISV, here's my understanding of this feature in its current form:

  • It DOES:
    • Restrict AppSource deployment of model-driven apps to only those tenants that are registered by the ISV in Partner Center
    • Allow customers to assign licenses to individual users from within their own M365 Admin Center
    • Once deployed, restrict access of ISV model-driven apps to users that are assigned a license
  • It DOES NOT:
    • Allow ISVs to add licensing to existing AppSource offers
    • Allow ISVs to add licensing to packages built with current Power Apps Build Tools (v1.0.23)
    • Allow import of unmanaged solutions that include service plans
    • Allow customers to purchase licenses at the time of clicking "Get it Now"

We have an existing offer in AppSource. It has a model-driven app and no code components. We have full ALM automation built out in Azure DevOps and everything runs pretty smoothly. We're small so making changes in an unmanaged environment and then committing to repo works for us. All deployments are automated. The only time we mess with Visual Studio is to package for AppSource. We never open command line tools.

 

Here's a little recap of my experience attempting to implement and evaluate this:

  • Copy an existing AppSource offer - this is mostly cut/paste exercise, however, it will mean the back/forth of approvals with AppSource... content, tech, and co-sell material. Also updating any marketing links to the new offer if published.
    • Add a plan to the new offer. Note the "Plan ID", you'll need it later.
  • Go to the solution in my unmanaged environment and add a "Service Plan" component - just kidding we read the steps before that: Add licensing information to your solution

Here's where things slowed down. The first step says "Clone existing solution". In our world, that means go into the unmanaged Power Apps maker environment, select the solution and click "Clone a patch" or "Clone solution". This is not what they mean and it's confusing.

  • The documentation is referring to command line tools that we don't have (Power Apps CLI) - get those.
  • Using the clone command of the Power Apps CLI does not appear to make much sense for us since we already store our unpacked, unmanaged solution files in ADO. So I download those an unzip them locally.
  • Create licensing files - two CSV files. Do not get confused by file names in the screenshots - they actually need to be ".csv" files.
  • Add the licensing information to the solution using the specified Power Apps CLI command.
    • Take a look at what that command did. Comparing the modified solution files with an old set for reference, we can see that it:
      • added a folder called "ServicePlans" (right between Roles and WebResources).
      • added two Xml files (documented below) to the new folder, populated with the values from your .CSV files.
      • added two empty nodes "<serviceplans /><serviceplanappmodulesset />" to the Customizations.xml file in the "Other" folder.
    • Had I known they needed a folder with a specific name and two files with specific names I could have done that without the extra steps.
  • Build the solution. Here's where we get stuck. The documentation for this is particularly confusing: Create a managed solution for your app
    • We have DevOps automation to build solutions so we branch our unmanaged solution, apply the changes (noted above) in the repo and use our existing automation to build a managed package.
    • Open the resulting ZIP file and the empty nodes are now represented in the Customizations.xml file, however, the two files are nowhere to be found in either the Managed or Unmanaged solution package.
      • Is there some other tool we're supposed to use to ensure those files are picked up?
    • With input from @rajyraman, we discovered that the Package Solution task of the current version of the Power Apps Build Tools is not using the latest version of SolutionPackager and, therefore, does not generate the service plan content in Customzations.xml.
    • Use SolutionPackager on command line as workaround to package both Unmanaged and Managed solutions. Confirmed the service plan XML is incorporated into Customizations.xml.
  • Tested import of unmanaged solution that has service plan information to a clean environment. This fails with the following message: "Solution "ISV Solution" failed to import: ServicePlanAppModules data can only be changed by managed solution import".
  • Package for new AppSource offer and evaluate - Update below. WE'RE PAUSING HERE FOR NOW. Hoping we see updates that make it more manageable with our existing ALM setup.

 

Looking forward to this being more supportable. As of right now, it doesn't seem to be compatible with the ALM tools in Azure DevOps that we rely on.

 

ServicePlans.xml content:

 

 

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<serviceplans xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
  <serviceplan name="[SERVICE_PLAN_ID]">
    <accessmode>4</accessmode>
    <iscustomizable>0</iscustomizable>
    <displayname>[SERVICE_PLAN_NAME]</displayname>
    <moreinfourl>[YOUR_ISV_PLAN_INFO_LINK]</moreinfourl>
  </serviceplan>
</serviceplans>

 

 

 

ServicePlanAppModules.xml content:

 

 

 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<serviceplanappmodulesset xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">
  <serviceplanappmodules>
    <iscustomizable>0</iscustomizable>
    <appmoduleid>
      <uniquename>[MODEL_APP_COMPONENT_NAME]</uniquename>
    </appmoduleid>
    <serviceplanid>
      <name>[SERVICE_PLAN_ID]</name>
    </serviceplanid>
  </serviceplanappmodules>
</serviceplanappmodulesset>

 

 

 

 

Documentation references:

 

13 REPLIES 13
rajyraman
Continued Contributor
Continued Contributor

@Helpful- That XML is actually in the customizations.xml after you package the solution folder using the Solution Packager tool.

rajyraman_1-1620277564909.png

 

rajyraman_0-1620277530130.png

 

Thanks, @rajyraman. Our solution is built using Power Platform Build Tools in Azure DevOps and the XML shown above does not appear in the Customizations file.

I thought the build tools used Solution Packager behind the scenes so would assume the same behavior as if we built with SolutionPackager, but maybe that’s a bad assumption.

I’ll test this tomorrow.

rajyraman
Continued Contributor
Continued Contributor

@Helpful- Check the version of Solution Packager being used from the AzDO logs. The one I use on the local machine is 9.1.1.2.

Thanks, @rajyraman. Sure enough, it looks like Power Apps Build Tools is using Version 9.1.0.67.

We packaged with command line and are now seeing the service plan xml nodes populated in Customizations.xml.

I guess we'll wait for the tooling to catch-up. I recall the team that was working on those was getting a fair amount of investment a year ago, but perhaps priorities have shifted.

malkhawaja
Advocate III
Advocate III

Hi @Helpful,
Thanks for the elaborate feedback... my experience was almost exactly the same, as I stuck also to pack the managed solution, then eventually found it in the SolutionPackager Command Line.

now I submitted my package for publish in AppSource, and waiting for certification.

@Helpful - As an ISV, we have a very similar dev process to you, using Azure DevOps with automated deployments to customer-specific dev environments and production environments.  Azure DevOps build tools do not currently support including the LMS as you point out, although we've communicated the need to the team responsible for the build tools. 

 

The PAC CLI does nothing other than generate the xml from the csv mapping files, and then adds it to the end of your managed solution.  The folders with the csv files don't need to be in the final solution.  Once you have that xml generated, you can copy it into the managed solution directly.  When we first got started we didn't use the PAC CLI at all and just created the service plans and mapping directly in xml, and then added to our managed solution. 

 

Editing service plan information is currently not supported with an unmanaged solution for the obvious security reasons (though this may change at some point) - this means that you have to add it every time you export a managed solution from your dev environment.  We added a powershell step in our devops pipeline to add the xml to the managed solution when we pull from core dev prior to deploying the managed solutions to customer-specific dev and production environments. 

Thanks @Captjoemcd ,

 

Here's a snip of powershell to get others started. The two files it uses are the customizations.xml file that is in the "Other" folder when you unpack the solution. (I unpacked it into a folder called "tempforpacking" of course.) The license.xml file is just the license specific section of the xml that the pac cli generates. I haven't added checking to ensure the nodes were added yet, but that should be straight forward.

 

Write-Host "starting script"
Write-Host "getting license.xml and custimizations.xml"
[xml] $orig = Get-Content '.\tempforpacking\Other\Customizations.xml'
[xml] $lic = Get-Content '.\license.xml'

Write-Host "adding license.xml to custimizations.xml"
$orig.ImportExportXml.AppendChild($orig.ImportNode(($lic.ImportExportXml.serviceplans),$true))
$orig.ImportExportXml.AppendChild($orig.ImportNode(($lic.ImportExportXml.serviceplanappmodulesset),$true))

Write-Host "saving modified customizations.xml file"
$orig.Save('.\tempforpacking\Other\Customizations.xml');

Hi Folks,
             I am the PM that worked adding the licensing capability.  I would really like to understand the paradigm a little bit better on how you want licensing to be part of the CI/CD process. I did have an exchange with Jeff in a seperate thread. But I would like to understand the broader sentiment and the CI/CD workflow in question. 

When you respond, please @ me directly so that I can get notified.

Hi @kartikka, thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback. I will speak on behalf of our setup and am curious to hear the perspective of others.

 

Please see attached image. To make this work:

  1. License Plans can be added as components to an unmanaged solution.
  2. SolutionPackager needs a switch that optionally applies licensing for managed solutions.
  3. Power Platform Build Tools' Package Task needs to be updated to use the new SolutionPackager with "Include Licensing" option for managed solutions (default is false).

ci_cd.png

We have the approach above implemented today, but some of Step 4's tasks could be cleaned-up to use Build Tools instead of PowerShell.

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