Application Packaging Interview Questions (With Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Application packaging and virtualisation professionals find employment as engineers across various companies in the tech industry. They can encounter interview questions that test their ability to help businesses manage digital workplaces and ensure that applications function optimally. Realising the range of questions, you may face and preparing suitable answers can increase your confidence in interviews and impress the hiring manager. In this article, we discuss application packaging interview questions and provide sample answers, explore a list of additional questions you may get asked and share a few useful tips to help your interview preparation.

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4 Application Packaging Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are some sample application packaging interview questions and answers to help you learn why interviewers ask certain questions, what they expect from an answer and what is the proper way to respond:

1. What is the difference between application packaging and repackaging?

The two primary tasks of an applications packager are packaging and repackaging. First, define application packaging and application repackaging separately and then discuss the nuances regarding their distinction. You want to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of basic concepts through your answer.

Example: 'Application packaging is the creation of an installer file for an application. The installer usually contains binary files provided by the developer for each type or piece of software that a company uses. Organisations use application packaging to get necessary software onto the devices of relevant users with ease. Application repackaging is the creation of a package from installers or other packages using capturing or snapshoting methods. It captures the changes made by an installation program or package and undergoes customisation to support company standards and distribution methods.

The main difference between application packaging and repackaging is that in packaging, the source files do not come as a package, whereas in repackaging they do, which might be Microsoft Windows Installer (MSI) or legacy package. Even creating MESSAGE TYPE field (MST) files or ISS files can be called application repackaging. Doing a setup capture is not necessary.'

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2. What are some common problems with legacy installations? Is it preferable to continue using legacy systems?

Understanding legacy systems and their drawbacks is necessary for application repackaging. This question tests your in-depth understanding of why legacy systems might not be preferable in the industry. Instead of listing the major drawbacks and concluding those to be reasons for not continuing to use legacy systems, approach the basis of the matter. Explain why the problems exist and how they affect efficiency and performance. Then you can present your opinion on the second part of the question.

Example: 'Legacy systems are essentially inefficient and unstable. Installing and uninstalling them can be challenging and they are not always conducive to increasing employee productivity. Being designed and implemented when business processes and practices were less prevalent, their operating system was likely to become obsolete with time. It can also be more expensive to support and update these systems.

This is because it is difficult to find legacy technology experts who can maintain and upgrade these systems consistently. Besides being expensive, difficult and labour intensive to deploy, a legacy system can also be insecure in terms of data silos that prevent integration between systems and lack of compliance with governmental regulations, which reduce security. I believe these common problems with legacy installations outweigh the convenience of continuing to use an existing legacy system.'

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3. Why does the package start self-healing the first time the user launches the application? Can you fix an application's self-healing loop?

Self-healing is a method of checking an instal and starting a limited repair if required. A self-healing application can discern whether it works correctly and make the required changes to restore itself to the normal or designed state without human intervention. Knowing why self-healing happens and how to fix it if it gets into a loop shows your knowledge and technical proficiency in fixing common bugs. Address the two questions separately and in the correct succession. Provide brief and logical answers.

Example: 'A package may go for self-healing the first time the user launches the application if it contains some HKCU entries. This happens because the HKCU keys are only for the current user while installing the package and not for all users. Consequentially, if other users login, it causes a mismatch between the current system state and the value specified in the MSI package, which results in the related feature being re-installed.

There are numerous ways to fix an application's self-healing loop. You can send a 'no repair' command from the command line or edit the MSI from within a packaging tool to disable self-repair.'

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4. Suggest some application packaging best practices you follow

As an applications packager, knowing and following best practices in your professional setting is essential. This is your chance to convince the interviewer that you are a reliable employee who is likely to perform well. You can list some of the industry best practices for application packaging. Also, provide your reasoning for following these practices.

Example: 'First, I analyse applications with available documents and note the behaviour of the source. I instal the dependency application before capturing the main application. I always conduct user acceptance tests using virtual machines. This helps me observe the functionality of systems and the effect of fixes or revert the application to earlier versions if necessary. Conducting comprehensive user acceptance tests helps ensure the success of the packaged applications. Before the test, I import the applications into the configuration manager as it offers more features.'

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Additional Application Packaging Interview Questions

Here are 20 other interview questions you may get asked regarding your general background, experience and technical knowledge in application packaging

  1. What are the steps of application packaging and application repackaging?

  2. What is a feature and a property?

  3. What is a component? What are the component rules?

  4. What is a key path? How do you add a key path to a component in Orca?

  5. What are app search and custom action?

  6. Explain file association in detail.

  7. What are shortcuts and their types? How do you change a non-advertised shortcut to an advertised shortcut?

  8. Explain product code and package code.

  9. Where are system variables and user variables stored in the registries?

  10. What is MSI? Explain its structure and advantages.

  11. Differentiate between MSI and MSM. Name the phases of MSI installation.

  12. Name some deployment tools and a few MSI packaging and repackaging tools.

  13. What is the meaning of transform? How many transforms we can create for a single MSI?

  14. What are the different types of transforms that are available within MSI?

  15. How do you create a patched MSI? What is wrapper MSI?

  16. While installing the MSI, why does more than one MSIEXEC run in the task manager?

  17. Explain the utility of MSI Assembly tables.

  18. Distinguish between a standard and packed GUID.

  19. What is a merge module? What are the merge module tables?

  20. What is Windows Installer? List its benefits. What is an advertisement in Windows Installer?

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Tips For An Application Packaging Interview

Follow these tips to impress a hiring manager during your application packaging interview:

  • Research the company and remember the job description. This can help you cater to the company's background and job requirements in your responses. Providing customised answers can be highly impressive.

  • Highlight your role-specific skills. Emphasising that you are detail-oriented or that you can work well in a team can differentiate you from other candidates.

  • Discuss your experience with relevant tasks and processes. Having certain responsibilities in common with your previous position or accomplishing similar challenges in the past can give the hiring manager more confidence in hiring you.

  • Emphasise best practices. It is important for your answers to show your knowledge and conscious utilisation of application packaging best practices. This signals that you are good at your job and are likely to succeed in your role.

  • Answer situational questions using the STAR method. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. First describe a specific challenge you faced, then you explain your role in the situation, detail the steps you took to overcome the challenge and finally you mention the results you achieved, including anything you learned.

  • Follow common interview courtesies. This includes being on time, knowing and pronouncing the interviewer's name correctly, speaking politely, preparing some questions of your own to display your interest, bringing required documents and greeting the interviewer with a smile.

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