Using Citrix XenApp keywords for Storefront is an important yet commonly overlooked part of the user experience design process.
Perception is 9/10’s of winning your user base over to a new platform, you can spend weeks designing the look and feel of the desktop and applications within a XenApp environment tweaking it until its just so but there are of course plenty of easy wins to be had that from a users point of view make the platform easier to use.
Take for example a normal installation of Citrix Storefront, when a staff member logs on they are greeted by… well nothing really. A pretty green screen with bubbles on it and maybe a corporate logo around somewhere but nothing else. They of course have to add applications from the subscriptions list so they can have instant access to their commonly used applications from the start menu to build their own personal jump page if you like. Not a problem for any of us who can trip the light fantastic around most screens and are not afraid to click new buttons to see what happens but if you consider your user base are there some members who will struggle a little with this, I bet there is.
You can use keywords to make some important initial changes to the way Citrix Storefront appears when you first logon to it. You can automatically get applications to appear as a subscribed application when the user first logs on so with a bit of insider knowledge on what your demographic commonly use you can make the user experience good even before they have seem your beautifully crafted desktop or application interface.
The first one is “Auto”, this makes the application appear within the staff members subscribed applications on storefront without the need for then to add the subscription from the applications list. The application will appear the first time someone logs into the application however they can unsubscribe to the application if they wish and it will not appear again. So its not there whether you like it or not more of we think you’ll use it a lot so we’ll stick it in straight away for you.
The second is “Featured”, this makes the application appear in a separate list on the applications so you can effectively promote some applications out of the noise of others which is a good idea if you need to publish lots of applications.
The third is “prefer”, if used this will specify that a locally installed copy of the software will be used instead of the Citrix version. This is configured by the use a a string that is specified after the prefer option (essentially the directory path to the locally installed application).
“TreatAsApp” keyword allows you when publishing a desktop to display it within the applications page instead of having separate subpages of desktops and apps within Citrix Storefront.
The keyword “mobile” changes the size of the application to fit within a mobile device window and also enables auto-scroll. So if any of your applications are being used by staff with iOS mobile devices then this might be an solution if the application is not quite appearing as you would like on them.
The “ConfigMgr” keyword is added by SCCM when using the SCCM connector for XenApp so you can deploy and publish applications via the SCCM console alone. The keyword indicates to the XenApp Deployment Type handler that it is available for installation by SCCM. You can also use deployment priorities to specify which deployment is launched if both are present on an endpoint.
“Mandatory” is another good keyword, its very similar to the Auto keyword except users are not able to unsubscribe from the application.
To use the keywords all you need to do is enter “Keywords:” in the description field of the published app followed by the keywords you want to use. You can use more than one keyword per application just by putting a space in between each keyword as per the examples in the images below.
Combining keywords with application permissions can give you a really nice way of customising the initial screen that each staff member within each different department see’s when they first log in. This will no doubt get you a few more brownies points than presenting all staff with a blank green screen and a sheet of A4 paper with some instructions on it and of course you Helpdesk team will appriciate the lower amount of calls generated by this extra bit of planning.
Author: Dale Scriven
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DisclaimerThis blog and any other post made by me on the internet is representative of my views only, they are not the views of my past/current/future employers.