App-V 5.0 Templates

In older versions of the App-V sequencer you could setup a template using the default.sprj file, which was a great way of enforcing certain standards, I posted a blog post about this last year. You can read about it HERE .Before going into the Templates I should explain that although similar, I am not describing Package Accelerators which are like application specific templates, Package Accelerators can also contain more than just a template, it can be accompanied with other useful data or information in regards to packaging an application, which is amazing when you are sequencing applications as somebody else has done the hard work for you. For an example of these Accelerators take a look at the Technet site which is HERE

There was also an option in the later versions of 4.x which allowed you to create a template, save it and then point your sequencer to use that template. In App-V 5.0, Microsoft got rid of the .sprj file format and also those template methods.You can no longer point to a template file, but you can create a template which you can load if desired. You will see the Template Save and Load option under File.

Templates1

First you should actually create your template. To do this you open your sequencer, browse to Tools and then click on Options.

Templates2

 

You are going into Options as this is where you can modify the options which you can save into your template. The above dialog shows exactly what can be saved, General Options and Exclusion Items. The default tab which appears when you open options is the General Options as mentioned above.

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In the above example you can see an option to Package Pre-installed VC runtime dependencies which is a feature new to App-V 5.0 SP2 which as of this post is in beta. For a full description take a look at Nickes post HERE The other options here which you can modify for your template is the scratch location which is like a specific temporary working directory for the App-V Sequencer. You can allow Windows Updates to be captured during the sequence, it’s Best Practice to disable Windows Updates as it creates noise, meaning files or registry which get modified or added by a Windows Update that are not related to your application that you are sequencing. I guess an option you may want to allow it, is when you have a certain Microsoft application which you want to install during the sequence and then install a Windows Update(s) for the app. There’s an option to append the filename for each time you save the application, it’s not really relevant any more but I like to leave it checked so I can see which iteration of the app I am working on as I document this. Always trust the source of Package Accelerators is an option to allow the use of any and all package accelerators, why this is relevant is because you can download Accelerators created by the Online App-V Community.

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The Exclusion items is a big one which you will certainly want to give some attention to. Microsofts default exclusion items are quite good. If you run the Sequencer on a vanilla Windows machine the settings are likely to be good for your sequencing. The Exclusion items lists the Directories and Registry hives which get ignored by the Sequencer, so any changes to these directories do not get included into your virtual applications, the identified directories are selected because they routinely receive changes that are unique to a user which you obviously don’t want saved to your application (in most cases) that is because files or registry unique to you will likely not work for the next user. These files or registry that are unique to a user also tend to get re-created if they do not exist when the application is run. You should note, if you are using a VM on your domain and it receives Group Policies or if you have your companies applications or any services configured to run on the Virtual Machine then the out of the box Exclusion items, likely will not be good enough. So how do you know what you need to exclude for your environment?

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Citrix Profiling

I think pretty much everybody in IT knows about Citrix XenApp hosted, which gives the ability to install applications onto a terminal server and then publish shortcuts to users via the Citrix Metaframe website and present the applications to the user on whatever device they happen to be using to access the app, this is possible because the application is being processed on the server itself, not on the users device. Well, what not everybody knows is, that Citrix have a product which enables you to stream your applications, this solution is called Citrix Profiling. It has been around for a number of years and actually as of this writing, Citrix have all but discontinued the product as it will not be developed any further. They have made the decision to focus on integrating Microsoft App-V more seamlessly with their product range than develop their own solution further. So, this information may be falling on deaf ears…or blind eyes as it may be. I have not worked with Citrix Profiling in some time now, but at the moment I am trying to research all the different Application Virtualization technologies for a webinar I plan to host in September. Watch this Space! For this blog I’ll go through creating a Citrix Profile which you could then integrate into your Citrix environment.

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