The Flexera Application Compatibility Tool leverages the existing Application Manager tool that is part of AdminStudio. Application Manager is typically something that is used at the integration phase of the packaging process, meaning after the application is packaged and tested, UAT is signed off you import your application into the database. The database then exists as a software repository which can flag any application conflicts through-out your entire estate of applications and can be used for querying package content.The application compatibility piece can be used a little different, instead of being used after packaging and testing has been completed it can be used before packaging to determine the amount of remediation work which may be required. The fact the tool can be used in a couple of different ways, it is this reason, why I feel we will require 2 Databases for the Application Manager, one will be a throw away database used for compatibility testing. The other will exist as an inventory manager and for checking application conflicts in the production environment.
To access the application compatibility tool that is part of Flexera Admin Studio 11.5, you must have a valid Application Compatibility Pack License. If you have a valid license you can find the Application Compatibility tool by launching Application Manager on your start menu under AdminStudio 11.5 Tools
Once the application has launched you will notice the window that appears features a ribbon menu with multiple different tabs. The Catalog tab presents you with options to manage the catalog. The catalog is the database which contains your applications data, this is the database which you import your MSI/MSTs into. An MSI is in essence just a database with tables which relate to the different contents of an application such as a table for files, directory, registry, components, features etc. The application catalog mirror these tables and allows you to have a master database containing all of the information from all of your applications.
From within the application manager you can also analyze dependencies if any are found to exist within the applications you have imported, prepare applications for distribution with SCCM, view individual MSI or App-V applications. You may also view Global condition within your catalog. Finally there’s the option to create a New Group, you can create groups to keep your application estate organized and easily viewable and traceable.
To get started you should first click on New Group and create a group or many groups to import your applications into. Examples of groups may be: Middleware, Anti-Virus, CD\DVD Writers, Encryption, Financial. Or you might create groups by Work Roles or location etc.
We created a TEST folder for the sake of testing the tool.
Next we select import.
There’s various methods for importing applications. You can select a single application, browse to a folder containing many applications in the folder or within subfolders, you can use SCCM 2007 or SCCM 2012 or point to a web application for testing IE compatibility.
If you selected to browse to a single application you get the above screen. The Checkbox at the bottom indicates that the source files will be replicated to a share. This share will only exist if it was pre-defined during the setup of the tool.
On the next screen, if the tool detects an MST for the application lived within the same directory it will flag this to you and allow you to any uncheck or add an extra MST or whatever you see fit.
Next you have the option to add a patch if one applies to the app.
Next you can select which group to add the application to. For this I will select TEST for this example.
If the summary info is correct select Finish. This will begin the import process. Which involves writing the information that is held within the application MSI tables into the application catalog.
Upon completion the output view which is at the very bottom of the window should show that the import has completed. For info from the verbose log created during the import you can view the Import tab to the left if you please.
You can now view all the data collected for your application through this catalog view. By navigating the menus as highlighted above. You can also use the Find option in the Ribbon Menu if you would like to search for a specific file, component etc. among your entire catalog (all imported applications)
Next you can click on the Test Center tab to move on to check your application for conflicts and compatibility issues. To do this select your application and select Execute Tests. This will check all the data imported for that application and detect if it can find anything which may be of concern when trying to use the application on Windows 6 64-bit or your platform of choice. These Tests cover compatibility for many different platform as well as checking for application conflict issues and even Windows Installer Best Practice concerns for Package Validation.
You will then be presented with an overview report. You can drill down through the overview to get a more detailed, lower level report. For Example for OS related issues you can click on the OS Compatibility View.
This will categorize by OS and bit as above, Windows 7 32-bit and as highlighted above you can see the X marks an issue. The caution sign with the wrench indicates an issue which can be fixed.
By click on Report Center you have a much more robust reporting with many different layers of granularity.
You can drill down through the reports. For example if you want to look at Errors for Windows 7 64-bit you can click on the red area of the above Pie Chart.
To then drill down through the say, some of the Google Health Data API errors you can click on the 1 errors field or on the warnings and It will present you with the following output:
By looking at this level of reporting we can see that red or major issue is due to this application having a dependency on .NET Framework 1.1. This version of .NET is no longer supported on Windows 7, it can be installed and will work with some limited functionality but is not supported by Microsoft so this error is valid.
Command Line Arguments for Application Manager
The above arguments can lend themselves to automation of the compatibility analysis phase and if you use Admin Studio with all the bells and whistles, including work flow manager you could automate your beginning to end packaging and application migration process and procedures.