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.
Just like with all good capture tools you will want to set this up on a Virtual Machine so you can revert to a clean state after creating each Profile (Virtual Application) It's a good idea to use a VM with the same Operating System that you are going to target. Once you have the VM setup with the Citrix Profiler tool installed you can launch the Citrix Streaming Profiler.
New Profile is the option to create a new virtual application. Open Profile is for open an existing Profile (Virtual Application) Open Profiler will bring you straight to the main Profiler UI. Let's click New Profile to create a new virtual application.
Here you can enter the Profile Name (Package Name) This will be something you will want to standardize in a company environment. It's good to have a consistent naming convention. Click Next >
You can allow users to have the ability to enable extra features of an application once they receive it by leaving this checkbox checked. Click Next>
This dialog screen is pretty descriptive as above but since XP is coming to an End of Life and XP Service Pack 3 has been out for years. So I would leave it unchecked and Click Next>
Here you can take another Citrix Profile (Virtual Application) and link your app with that, by doing this you allow both applications to see each other. Just like with any other virtualization tool, Citrix Profiling gives the benefit of isolation and when using isolation that means if you virtualize all of your applications and one is dependent on another to work, the application will fail to function UNLESS you allow the apps to communicate with one another, thus this option. If you don't have anything to link and your app is standalone, click Next>
Here you can select the language you support for the application and also what Operating Systems the application should be allowed to work on. Choose and Click Next >
Here you have two options. You can either do a basic or advanced install. Basic being the option to monitor the install which is good for a simple application install with no further configurations. I always prefer to use the Advanced Install option which allows me to install and do what I want and then select when I'm ready to finish the capture. Choose Advanced and then click Next >
Here you have a bunch of options. You can choose none and just do your own thing. If you need to modify the registry click Edit Registry and then Click Next, this will open regedit to allow you to modify the registry. Select files and folders is for a simple file copy install. If you have a web plugin or Web Application you can select that option, if it's a regular installer with a .EXE and .MSI click the top option and then click Next>
Browse to your Installer and Click Next>
Click Launch Installer which will bring up the Installation Screens. Go through the Install. When you complete the Install of the application Click Next >
If you have any other tasks to carry out and click Perform Additional Installations and then click next, you can then get back to the screen above which gives the option to edit the registry, install another MSI or Setup.exe or copy files or folders etc. If you have nothing else to do Click Finish Installations and Click Next >
Next you have the main Profiler UI. Here you can edit the files and folders that were brought up in the capture. You can also navigate the menus to change any of the settings you had originally set in the first few dialog screens.
In the above dialog you can see the Preferences which you can change, these options were already covered above.
If you click on the Windows XP or whatever the Operating Systems you selected during the creation of the application, you will see tabs on the right pane, Information is the cosmetics or info related to the application. Applications shows the shortcut or main entry point for your application. File Types is any File Type Associations which your virtual application will use. Services is any service which may have been captured.
Under Properties you will again see mostly options that we already covered but you will also see the above Pre-Launch Analysis, this is used to set a condition, you can look for a certain file or a registry to be present on a machine before allowing this application to be used. Pre-Launch and Post-Exit Scripts can be used to carry out some sort of configuration upon launch if you need to set a user specific change for example, or perhaps you need to kill a task upon exit. You can use a script to do these tasks.
Above you can see an example of the output. The format of your application is a .profile and Icons.bin contains any shortcut icons captured.
Within the options you can also change the rules for folder and registry isolation.
You may have noticed there's no option here to edit the registry. You will need to open the Profile and go through the wizard to the Edit Registry option.