Intro (if you just want the plugins, skip this section)
Lazy people are sometimes the most productive people you can find in IT. During my career, I’ve seen many people employed in IT that were really inventive when it comes to figuring how to do less work. You could even say that it’s one of the most important traits when it comes to scripting for example.
There are many ways how these lazy people are trying to save their time – from using the templates through scripting to well-defined processes and guides that can be afterwards delegated to less skilled IT stuff. These people usually tend to simplify all processes and use minimum steps to achieve maximum.
I’ve created many tools and frameworks in the past few years – some are simply one-shot utilities and scripts, while the other are frameworks consisting of thousands, or even millions of scripts (How? You can write a scripts for writing another scripts you know ). However, sometimes the smallest change that takes you only few minutes to implement can save thousands of man hours in the upcoming years. For example pinning your most frequent apps to task bar instead of going through the start menu.
I’ve realized that during my recent project, I’m accessing the VMs in two different ways – through the XenCenter console and through the regular RDP connection. Sometimes I will notice something is not right in XenCenter console, so I open the RDP connection just to open the event viewer within the VM.
If only we could simplify these things that we are doing on daily basis, right?
XenCenter and plugins
The easiest and most often the most effective way how to boost your productivity is to create the shortcuts to the actions that you performed the most. One of my personal favorite ways how to achieve this is to extend existing tools with new context menus whenever possible.
I would like to show you one of the less known features of our XenCenter console – the ability to add custom menu items and new tabs. I didn’t know about this functionality and found out just recently that it is supported.
If you want to start, head over to the XenCenter plugins and have a look at few examples that are included. To be honest, I’ve used just the plugin specifications document – if you’ve got experiences with dev documentation, this is all you need to know.
The process is pretty straightforward, however if you would like me to explain it step by step, just ask in comments and I will write a second part of this blog post.
Example implementation – RDP connect, services, event log…
And here comes the part that you were waiting for – three small plugins in one package that are adding the features I used most of the time – ability to open Remote Desktop Connection, remote Services and Event Log with only few clicks. Installation is very simple, just unpack it to your XenCenter folder:
Of course, don’t download it until you will read our full disclaimer (download at the bottom):
This software application is provided to you “as is” with no representations, warranties or conditions of any kind. You may use and distribute it at your own risk. CITRIX DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES WHATSOEVER, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, WRITTEN, ORAL OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, you acknowledge and agree that (a) the software application may exhibit errors, design flaws or other problems, possibly resulting in loss of data or damage to property; (b) it may not be possible to make the software application fully functional; and (c) Citrix may, without notice or liability to you, cease to make available the current version and/or any future versions of the software application. In no event should the code be used to support of ultra-hazardous activities, including but not limited to life support or blasting activities. NEITHER CITRIX NOR ITS AFFILIATES OR AGENTS WILL BE LIABLE, UNDER BREACH OF CONTRACT OR ANY OTHER THEORY OF LIABILITY, FOR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER ARISING FROM USE OF THE SOFTWARE APPLICATION, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION DIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, CONSEQUENTIAL OR OTHER DAMAGES, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. You agree to indemnify and defend Citrix against any and all claims arising from your use, modification or distribution of the code.
UPDATE 03/18/2013: Click here to get XenServer plugins v2