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First look at Web Interface 5.0 Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Koetzing at Monday, 25 February 2008 | Article editor: Shawn Bass

Article Details 
User Rating:   | 304

Microsoft has release Windows Server 2008 in February of 2008 and Citrix will follow with their release of Presentation Server 5.0 (Delaware) that is targeted for the new Windows server generation. With each new full release of Presentation Server, the product components are also updated to support the new version.

After Web Interface 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7 Citrix will release version 5.0 together with the Delaware release of Presentation Server. The new Web Interface version has to run on Server 2008, which means Internet Information Server 7.0, but what else is new with WI 5.0? This article describes the details of the next release.

: This review is based on a tech preview and means that functions, features etc. named in the article can change before the RTM release of Web Interface 5.0 

The evolution of Web Interface
Looking back all the way down to NFuse 1.0 a lot of features and functions were added by the Citrix development team. Web Interface has become more and more important for Citrix customers and for Citrix itself. To quote the Product Architect: "Web Interface is the face of Citrix, and increasingly responsible for providing that crucial first impression which can either make users love us or hate us!".  Citrix was taking this for granted and therefore the new version of Web Interface comes with a dramatic change to the look and feel.

The new look and feel
Between the year 2000 and 2007 the default layout of Web Interface has not changed very much. This time everything is new. Changing the design the way Citrix did took a lot of effort. The drawback of that decision is less time for new features. Screen shots of all parts of Web Interface are way too much for the article, but the following will show the important pieces.

The welcome page
First take a look at the new full welcome page.

Welcome page
The new Web Interface (full) Welcome page

Keep an eye on the new elements on the site. The message tab, the switch to low graphics, the inline (error) message, the system message at the bottom and what you can't see is the fly-out menus.

Pre-Logon page
The Pre-Logon page is used to inform user about an upcoming maintenance, to accept a legal notice or what so ever. Point here is the user must click a button to pass the site. This ensures that users read the important message. To show some basic messages Administrators can use the new system messages (see logon page). Pre-Logon and system message are easy configured through the console.

Pre-Logon page
Pre-Logon page for maintenance messages, legal notice etc.

The application set
Again, take a close look and find the new application search box. Your company has hundreds of published applications? Now the user can easily search for their applications even using wildcard characters like "*"
Applications are still launched through scripting (no launch.ica file, for troubleshooting visit CTX111820 and CTX115304) and can also still be bookmarked. The bookmarks are also displayed in the new user "Hint" area that can be customized through the languages files.

Application set with search, hints, grouping, logon name etc.

The application set is shown in the "icon" mode but can be switched (similar to Windows Explorer) to details, list, tree and group view. The display of the logged on User Name, not from the directory is enabled by default.
New is the grouping feature. When enabled, Web Interface will show in different tabs, Applications (xenApp), Desktops (xenDesktop) and published Content.

The messages tab
The "Message Center" has become the messages tab and displays user specific Web Interface messages. The messages list is sorted from the most important message to message with low priority.


The low graphics design
The low graphics site is obviously for mobile devices. More and more devices are available on the market and Citrix can't keep up to automatically detect the screen size of those devices. This is the reason why a new Web Interface entry point was created to support the mobile devices. Pointing the browser to http://<server>/Citrix/AccessPlatform/m or http://<server>/Citrix/AccessPlatform/mobile will automatically use the low graphics version of Web Interface.


Technologies built on
Windows Server 2008 comes with IIS 7.0 and .NET Framework 3.0 and therefore Web Interface has to support both components. WI will auto detect the Framework 2.0 and 3.0 and set the right version. IIS 7.0 has dramatically changed and many companies are unable to use IIS 7.0 in native mode (including Microsoft with TS Web Access 2008). That's the reason why Citrix requires IIS 6.0 compatibility mode (sub role of IIS 7.0) to work correctly. True 64bit support is the target for the RTM release and will still build on Web Interface Next Generation (WING). The continued building on top of WING will keep most available modification easy adaptable with Web Interface 5.0

PNA site configuration
Not much to say here but finally the "Secure client access" configuration is back! That means using PNA from the outside through Citrix Gateway is fully supported now and no "hacks" are needed anymore.

What else is new?
First of all the conference attendee site was removed from Web Interface. Personally I have never seen conference manager in production. Access Gateway standard is now directly supported and needs just to be selected as the authentication point during the initial site wizard execution. 

Auth point

When used with Delaware, Web Interface supports the "Special Folder Redirection" that seamlessly maps special folders (for example the "My Documents" folder of the local client would become My Documents within the Citrix session). WI 5.0 has many options to enable or disable, but with this version finally the Administrator can decide what option is available and if the user can change the option.

Web Interface 4.0 for Unix supported RSA or SafeWord through generic RADIUS. The generic RADIUS support is now available with the Windows version as well. Other features (some of them were already mentioned), are:

  • Application search, message tab
  • User Hints, low graphics, user name display
  • Explorer application view style (icon, details, list, tree)
  • Web Server authentication using Kerberos (see Jay Tomlinís blog about it)
  • GUI customization of the logon and application set welcome message
  • GUI customization of the messages tab
  • Grouping of application types (Desktops, Applications, Content)

Still open to enhance Web Interface
The Citrix development team have a lot of things on their list, but many enhancements will be missing in the final release. I will just summarize some of them here.

  • An application launch history or favorite applications
  • Autolaunch becomes very important with xenDesktop and should be a "must have"!
  • Multi domain support for enterprise environments (WIE)
  • Stateless session, as well for enterprise environments (availability)
  • Application launch tracking for external access (security)
  • Support for Citrix SmartAccess as with the Advanced Edition of Access Gateway
  • Flexible Client naming option without breaking Workspace Control (more flexible)
  • Easy customization through CSS or other technologies
  • Web Interface templates for easy community exchange
  • Export and Import of the whole site, including customizations
  • Domain Group and User access control through enhancing the NFuse protocol
  • Small ICA Web Client less than 2 MB


What do you think ?
Written by agrandville on 2008-02-26 19:26:01
Nicely done.  
It is true that the design of Web Interface hasn't changed all that much over the years. Our expectation has always been that our customers are going to customize it anyway so why bother giving it any real personality. As you can see from the screen shots it certainly has some personality now :grin  
I just wanted to let everyone know that we are listening and we are eager to hear your thoughts on the new design and direction of the new XenApp Web UI. 
Cheers ! 
Al Grandville 
Senior Product Manager 
Citrix Systems

Written by Guest on 2008-02-26 17:53:38
very exciting! this new Interface looks great and the features are on target!

Written by Guest on 2008-02-28 10:22:35
I sure hope Multi domain support for enterprise environments (WIE) will be supported again in the future. We're still running WI 2.1 because of this feature

Written by Guest on 2008-02-28 18:31:32
Multi-domain support tops our list as well - please help!!

Written by Guest on 2008-02-28 23:28:04
PNA remotly is back without hacks... THANKYOU! 
Love the look of it :)

special folder redirection
Written by Guest on 2008-02-29 04:47:51
How would the user 'diiferntiate' between the server 'MyDocument' and client 'MyDocuments' ? 
This may confuse users ? unless you can customize the names

Secure Gateway?
Written by Guest on 2008-03-03 16:44:49
For those of us not using the AG, any word on whether Secure Gateway will still be offered along with WI? And though I'm not holding my breath, is there any word on any updates or improvements on SG?  

Secure Gateway
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2008-03-03 17:35:41
Check out 
Citrix Secure Gateway Product Lifecycle 
and you will see that it's still supported but that SG will not be extended.  
Now I heard that SG might be extended to support IP6

Written by Guest on 2008-03-07 14:07:27
But as report the CSG will exist in the Windows Server 2008 era.

SG & 2008
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2008-03-08 08:04:57
>But as report the CSG will exist  
>in the Windows Server 2008 era. 
Yes because after I posted the message here, I did take a look at the SG that came with Delaware ;-)

BriForum Attendee
Written by Guest on 2008-07-14 03:29:31
Loved the presentations at BriForum and was wondering if there way you could show the computer side of your presentation in a video blog somehow. BriForum captured the presenter side and slideshow but i have know way to show my colleagues the cool stuff from the demo portion you went through for Web Interface 5.0 and the breakdown of customizations. Let me know if there is anything that can be done to show it or re-create it. Thanks in advance.

Win 2003 server work for me
Written by Guest on 2008-07-31 00:21:46
I was able to run 5.0 on Win2003 server fine. I'm guessing that there some features that I'm not aware of that will work. But, basic display of applications and starting of applications all worked. 

Win 2003 server work for me
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2008-07-31 09:03:04
No one said it's for Windows 2008 only!!! 
Of cause WI5.0 works on Windows 2003 that's no problem and with all features.  
I even wrote that on W08 requires IIS6 kompatibility enabled what actually means W2K3.

Win 2003 server worked for me
Written by Guest on 2008-08-01 23:15:35
Ok, I promise to read your articles more closely in the future... :) Thank you! 
I also enjoyed meeting you at the iForum in Orlando.

WI 5 + PS 4.5
Written by Gast on 2008-09-01 07:56:31
Are there any problems in getting the new interface 5.0 playing together with PS 4.5? 
Especially the kerberos authentification is the feature that we expect to solve out problems! 
Thanks in advance.

WI5 and W08
Written by Phi Ebinger on 2008-10-06 06:32:39
Thomas you mentioned " 
The new Web Interface version has to run on Server 2008, which means Internet Information Server 7.0, but what else is new with WI 5.0? This article describes the details of the next release. "  
Maybe some confusion here .  
PS , love your site . -

WI5 on W08/IIS7 and W2K3/IIS6
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2008-10-03 15:52:48
"has to run on Server 2008" does't mean "only runs on" at least I thought it would. 
Thnaks for the comment Phi :-)

CSG or ? for XenApp 5.0 Advance
Written by Guest on 2008-10-03 21:47:40
What are the secure access options for those that wants to upgrade to Windows server 2008 with XenApp 5.0 Advance edition? Can we continue to use the software CSG? 

CSG or ? for XenApp 5.0 Advance
Written by Thomas Koetzing on 2008-10-04 12:48:15
With xenApp 5.0 Citrix delivers an updated version of CSG that runs on Windows 2008 and supports also IPv6. 
tw. this has been ask in a comment before...

Written by Guest on 2008-10-19 12:14:49
Well I did install Xenapp 5 on Win2008 yesterday. All went fine. Only one thing is see, when users close the published application, a windows logoff windows comes briefly..Not sure how to fix this..any help out there pls

Written by Gast on 2009-07-15 12:34:44
This one is 4.5 now?

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