Citrix Consulting has updated the CloudGateway Express Implementation Guide to reflect the latest release of StoreFront 1.2 and Receiver 3.3. The guide provides step-by-step instructions to setup a proof of concept for StoreFront. Building out a proof of concept environment is the best way to allow users to see benefits of StoreFront without impacting production.  While putting together the POC guide, I was very excited to see all the new features StoreFront 1.2 such as added support for XenDesktop and the HTML5 client.

Along with the updated POC guide, I will be posting a series of blog posts discussing additional considerations when migrating from Web Interface to StoreFront. The upcoming blog posts will go more in-depth into the HTML5 client configuration with Access Gateway, first time user provisioning with Account Services, and ideas for a phased approach allowing users to opt into using StoreFront while keeping Web Interface as an option. While StoreFront is a great product, a sudden transition to a new interface can be a shock to users. Allowing users to choose StoreFront before Web Interface is completely phased out will help it gain acceptance.

Don’t Let Your StoreFront Start Bare (Auto & Featured Icons)

StoreFront takes a different approach to displaying applications from that of Web Interface. Instead of having all applications appear on the home screen, users will be presented with an empty screen when they first logon. Before a user can launch an application, they must choose from a list of applications which then places the app on the home screen.This approach deemed “Self-Service” apps allows users to only choose the applications they use on a regular basis to be shown. The applications chosen to be put on the home screen are then stored in a SQL database which allows the apps to appear on the home screen from any device they connect from.

To avoid users from having a blank screen when they first logon, it is recommended that administrators implement automatically appearing applications. To do this, set KEYWORDS:Auto as the description of application inside XenApp. Another keyword that can be used to organize applications is Featured. Unlike the Auto keyword which places certain apps on the home screen, the Featured keyword only places apps in Featured category. The app will also appear in another category if a Client Application folder has been specified. To make an application featured, set KEYWORDS:Featured as the description of  inside XenApp. Since StoreFront does not display the value of the description field, adding additional text after the Keyword will not provide any benefit and will not stop the Keyword from functioning. Web Interface does however show the value of the description field under the Details view as shown below:

Categories

Although it was usually a good idea to organize applications in Web Interface into folders, it is even more important to do this with StoreFront. Every published application and desktop in the Receiver for Desktop appears under the “All Applications” category unless otherwise specified. This makes it hard for users to easily find the applications they need since similar apps are not grouped together.

To easily move applications organized in the XenApp console under folders to a corresponding Client Application folder, the following PowerShell command can be used:

Add-PSSnapin citrix* -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue
 Get-XAApplication -FolderPath Applications\"Admin Tools" | Set-XAApplication -ClientFolder "Admin Tools"

 

 
If no categories are used, the menu looks very bare. This is how it should look, apps grouped into easily recognizable categories. Also notice the Featured category.

 

How StoreFront Treats Desktops

StoreFront 1.2 introduces many important features for displaying desktops through the Receiver for Web page. These improvements include browsing and launch desktops without requiring subscription, launching the desktop on logon if only one desktop is published, allowing the web site to be configured for desktop-only access, and local app access (reverse seamless).

As with Web Interface, StoreFront does not differentiate between XenDesktops hosted desktops and XenApp published server desktops. Both types of desktops will appear inside the Desktops category. StoreFront also includes the auto launch and Desktop Viewer capabilities. If this functionality is not desired for a specific Terminal Services desktop, the XenApp administrator may add a special keyword to the description field of the published desktop. The format of the keyword is as follows: KEYWORDS:TreatAsApp. This keyword can also be used on published desktops from XenApp to have them appear with applications so that everything will appear in one single window with no tabs. The XML configuration below allows the UI display for apps and desktops to be customized. It allows a Receiver for Web site to limit the view to either apps or desktops and allows the default view to be set. If XenApp is primarily being used, changing the default view to “apps” would be recommended.

<uiViews showDesktopsView=”true” showAppsView=”true” defaultView=”desktops” />