What's That Gobbledygook in my Package Family Name?

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Appx applications have a notion of a "package family" in which all the individual packages belong to. For example, the Windows Photos app may ship on x86, x64, ARM32, ARM64, and IA64 platforms and each package belongs to the overall "Microsoft.Windows.Photos_8wekyb3d8bbwe" family.

A package family name consists of two parts, separated by an underscore: A Name (e.g. Microsoft.Windows.Photos) and a Publisher ID (e.g. 8wekyb3d8bbwe).

The Name is typically derived from a common Package Name (specified in the Appx Manifest) or specified manually by a developer.

The Publisher ID is a Crockford Base32-encoded representation of the first 8 bytes of the SHA-256 hash of the Publisher UTF-16 encoded string. Phew.

For example:

  • Publisher: CN=Microsoft Corporation, O=Microsoft Corporation, L=Redmond, S=Washington, C=US
  • SHA-256 hash: 471D3F2C6D42D7C7FACEEF1ADD20881817082D593D8B7B3E229B3617E4CD2A18
  • ... first 8 bytes: 47 1D 3F 2C 6D 42 D7 C7
  • Crockford Base32 encoded (no padding bytes): 8wekyb3d8bbwe

Using the Base3264-UrlEncoder package available on Nuget (Eric Lau, Mhano Harkness), you can write a few lines of code to calculate this yourself.