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A First Look at Citrix Web Interface 4.5 Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Koetzing at Wednesday, 04 October 2006

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Citrix Presentation Server 4.5 (due out next year) will have an updated version of Web Interface (It's also possible, that WI 4.5 alone will be released at the end of this year). What has changed, and what are the goodies you’ll get, if there are any?

Quite some things have changed but there is no complete turnover as in the last versions of Web Interface. The Access Suite Console (ASC) is now called Access Management Console (AMC) and will become the central management console with the 4.5 Access Suite. The real downside with the AMC is that Citrix will probably not make a 100% move from the CMC to the AMC and you have to use two consoles for configuration. Web Interface 4.x is fully configured through the ASC and it’s still the same with the AMC.

In the new version of Web Interface the core components are updated to the current version of dotNET Framework 2.0 and Jsharp (J#) 2.0 and might even be updated to the 3.0 versions at the release time. Citrix continues to build Web Interface on their Framework (WING – Web Interface Next Generation), which was introduced with Web Interface 4.0
This means that existing 4.x custom code (modifications) can be used without a complete re-development, still some things need to be changed.



Citrix Components or Product support

The developers of Web Interface have a huge list of enhancement request, security updates and so on. Also the core developer has his office wall full of requests to integrate other Citrix components or products into Web Interface. The integration process started with Web Interface 4.1 and 4.2 to support Citrix Advanced Access Controls.

Now version 4.5 has fully integrated Streaming Applications (Citrix Project Tarpon) and Password Managers self-service for password reset and account unlock. 

Image


Image

 
Also the new version supports Microsoft Active Directory Federation Service (ADFS, no extra WI version as before) and IIS6 on 64bit Windows.



Extended Internet Browser support

There is no question and all statistics say that Microsoft Internet Explorer is the most used Browser on the planet. Even so, Citrix continues to extend the support for other popular Browsers and platforms:

  • IE7 on Windows XP
  • IE6 on Windows XP x64
  • Firefox on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
  • Safari 2 on Mac OS X
  • IE6 on Windows CE 5 (various WinTerms)
  • PocketIE on Windows Mobile 2003SE / 2005
  • some specific smartphones


Main new functions or features

Some of the new functions and features are only related to Web Interface but will help to solve common issues when using Web Interface as the central "Portal" for access to publish- or streaming Applications.

First of all there will be a web-downloadable ICA client that can be installed by non-admins and the client will support auto-proxy detection (wpad.dat). The PNA service site has now options to set multiple backup servers but requires the new ICA Client as well.

Finally it looks like that the Web Interface ClientName is solved but you need Presentation Server 4.5 (Ohio) and the Ohio Client as well. For more details read Jay’s blog entry "ClientName issue resolved?".

A new feature is the option to enable Bookmarks for publish applications that appear in Web Interface application set. With the feature enabled user can simply drag-and-drop the application to the desktop or save it as bookmark in their browser. The URL's can also be integrated in other Web sites or portals. When Pass-Through is enabled, then the user clicks on the saved URL bookmark and the application will launch through Web Interface. The URL links are independent from the used ICA Client (Win, MAC, Linux etc.). There are sill ICA flies involved but in the first place Web Interface scripts create URL's and in the user temp folder the needed ICA file.


Troubleshooting Web Interface issues (configuration issues) will be much harder, since there is no "launch.ica" file that can be saved to disk! You have to "catch" the ICA file from the user temp folder. Another option for Windows Clients is to temporarily alter the ICA client’s association to .ica files and using the Advanced settings to force the "Confirm open after download". On the other hand the Web Interface eventlog entries will have much more details.


If you are using the 10.x ICA Client, then new registry options are available to wirte the launch.ica file into a log file as well. To enable the logfile set the following values:

HKLM\SOFTWARE\Citrix\ICA Client\Engine\Configuration\Advanced\Modules\Logging
LogICAFile REG_SZ = true
LogFile REG_SZ = C:\icalaunch.txt



New Customization options

The Web Interface development team also spend some time to add or change some customization options but not as may as I have hoped. Some of the options are "hidden" in the AMC and you have to find your way through it.

When creating a new Web Interface site the new "Initial site Wizard" will pop-up and guide the Administrator through the first steps to configure the site. Finally the session timeout and a logged off page URL can be set through the AMC.

Image



Image



The way of rebrandig the Web Interface site was extended and includes now fully the footer and remove of the site logo. Advanced changes as integrating Images, Tables and so on are not possible through the AMC and you have to change the inc files again. 

 

Image



Image



Citrix did add the option to disable the setting button on the application site, so users are unable to change certain settings.

 

Future Web Interface releases

The Web Interface development team had to integrate a lot of things and therefore it`s no wonder that quite some things are still on the enhancement list. Other portal or Web site solutions offer much more customization options and functions and hopefully Citrix will add those in the future.

Just to name some things:

  • Disabling the default error message through the AMC.
  • Enabling trace output through AMC
  • Web Interface related reports in the AMC (App launch through WI, Logins etc.)
  • Advanced customization (BBC code) for the Welcome & Footer area.
  • AutoLaunch feature and settings in the AMC
  • Integrated Access Gateway support for single-sign-on, enabled in the AMC.
  • Customization options when using Web Interface with the AAC
  • Option to repackage/export the default WI site based on a customized site (WI.zip)
  • The possibility to pre-configure or set default values like "remember folder location", "Show current folder location", "Enable Application description" etc.
  • Stateless Web Interface sessions for load balanced deployments (Citrix will say use AAC)
  • Different themes for Web Interface (and the AAC)



Comments


Web interface text customizations
Written by Guest on 2006-10-06 18:49:44
I would like the ability to set icon text color properties per farm. In a global company with many farms, this would help in troubleshooting.


Opera...
Written by Guest on 2006-10-08 11:26:26
Why OPERA browser isn't support :roll ? It's most secure browser


Good good good
Written by Guest on 2006-10-18 14:55:54
:grin


Question ???
Written by Guest on 2006-10-24 18:53:28
Will this version of web interface work with Access Essentials 1.5 ????

Written by Guest on 2006-10-27 12:57:41
:p 8) :grin :eek :eek :eek :upset

Written by Guest on 2006-11-01 23:02:36
In this article I read... 
"Now version 4.5 has fully integrated Streaming Applications (Citrix Project Tarpon) and Password Managers self-service for password reset and account unlock." 
 
Does this mean that Password Manager is built in to v 4.5 and you won't have to purchase Password Manager from Citrix?


WI & Password Manager
Written by thomas koetzing on 2006-11-02 17:39:29
>Does this mean that Password Manager  
>is built in to v 4.5  
NO. It means WI can link to PM self-service site


ICA File Not Found
Written by Guest on 2006-11-29 16:41:06
do some test with WI 4.5 logg in and can see all my appl! When click publ appl get error ICA File Not Found


Great
Written by Guest on 2006-12-04 14:46:37
:zzz


Upgrading?
Written by Guest on 2007-02-20 09:22:10
Say I want to use the new webinterface. Interested in the new non-admin client thingii. 
 
Can I use Presentations Server 4.0 with enterprise licences or do I need new ones. Will I cost me anything extra?


Upgrading?
Written by thomas koetzing on 2007-02-20 12:37:41
>Can I use Presentations Server 4.0 with  
>enterprise licences or do I need new ones. Will  
>I cost me anything extra? 
No but please ask such question in my Support Forum!


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