Notes on solution packaging

The package-solution gulp task looks at /config/package-solution.json for various configuration details, including some generic filepaths, as well as defining the relationship between components (_WebParts_ & Applications) in a package.

Configuration File

The schema for the configuration file is as follows:

interface IPackageSolutionOptions {
  paths?: IPackageSolutionPathOptions;
  solution: ISolution;

Each package configuration file has some optional settings to override the places where the task will look for various source files & manifests, as well as defining the location to write the package. Additionally, it has a required solution definition, which instructs the packager on the relationships of various components.

Solution definition (_ISolution_)

interface ISolution {
  name: string;
  id: string;
  version?: string;
  features?: IFeature[];

Each solution file must have a name, which identifies the package in the SharePoint UI. Additionally, each package must contain a globally unique identifier (id), which is used internally by SharePoint. Optionally, you may also specify a version number in the format "X.X.X.X", which is used to identify various versions of the package when upgrading.

The solution definition also optionally contains a list of SharePoint Feature definitions. Note: If this is omitted or empty, the task will create a single Feature for every component (a 1:1 mapping).

Feature definition (_IFeature_)

interface IFeature {
  title: string;
  description: string;
  id: string;
  version?: string;
  componentIds?: string[];

It's important to note that this is a definition for creating a SharePoint Feature, and that some of these options will be exposed in the UI. Similarly to the solution, each Feature has a mandatory title, description, id, and version number (in the X.X.X.X format). Please note that the Feature id should also be a globally unique identifier.

Each feature can also contain any number of components, which will be activated when the feature is activated. This is defined via a list of componentIds, which are globally unique identifiers that MUST match the ID in the component's Manifest file. If this list is undefined or empty the packager will include every component in the feature.

File paths (_IPackageSolutionPathOptions_)

interface IPackageSolutionPathOptions {
  rawPackageDir: string;
  zippedPackage: string;
  featureXmlDir: string;
  • rawPackageDir is the directory in which the unzipped package files will be written.
  • zippedPackage is the name of the zipped package, including extension (.spapp).
  • featureXmlDir is the directory in which custom feature xml is located.


Default Configuration

  "paths": {
    "rawPackageDir": "./sharepoint/solution/debug",
    "zippedPackage": "ClientSolution.spapp",
    "featureXmlDir": "./sharepoint/feature_xml"
  "solution": {
    "name": "A Sample Solution",
    "id": "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
    "version": ""

Custom Feature.xml

In order support provisioning of various SharePoint resources (such as List Templates, Pages, or Content Types), custom Feature XML may also be injected into the package. This is used in order to provision resources necessary for applications, but may also be used for WebParts. The documentation for Feature XML is located here.

By default, the packaging task looks for the custom Feature XML in ./sharepoint/feature_xml. Every file in this folder will be included in the final application package. However, the task relies on the contents of the _rels/ folder to determine which custom features are defined. Essentially, it assumes that each .xml.rels file is related to a feature.xml of the same name at the top level of the feature_xml/, and will add a relationship to the AppManifest.xml.rels file including that Feature in the package.

.rels file including that Feature in the package.