Using 2X ApplicationServer to Publish Applications, Part 6

by [Published on 24 Oct. 2007 / Last Updated on 24 Oct. 2007]

This article concludes the series on 2X ApplicationServer by showing you how to configure a published desktop, and how to publish an individual document.

If you would like to read the previous articles in this series please go to:

In Part 5 of this article series, I showed you how you could use 2X ApplicationServer to publish an entire Windows desktop. In this article, I will conclude the series by showing you how to configure a desktop after publishing it. I will also show you how 2X ApplicationServer can be used to publish an individual document.

Configuring A Published Desktop

To configure a desktop that you have published, open the 2X ApplicationServer & LoadBalancer Console, and click the Publishing button found on the left side of the console. When you do, the console will display a list of published resources. When you select the desktop that you have published, the portion of the console on the right side of the screen will display some basic information about the published desktop, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A: When you select the published desktop, the Information tab provides some basic information, such as the desktop’s screen resolution

As you can see in the figure, the Information tab really doesn’t give you very much useful information. It tells you the desktop’s screen resolution, but that’s about it.

If you need to adjust the screen resolution, you can do so on the Desktop tab, shown in Figure B. This tab also allows you to change the name of the published desktop, or its icon. These are really about the only customization options that the console gives you, aside from the standard configuration options. You can always use the Filtering tab to control who has access to the desktop, and you can use the Publish From tab to control which servers host the desktop.


Figure B: The Desktop tab allows you to change a published desktop’s name, icon, or screen resolution

Publishing a Document

It might seem a little bit strange, but 2X ApplicationServer allows you to publish documents in the same way that you would publish an application. For example, if you wanted to make an Excel spreadsheet available to your users, you could host the spreadsheet on a terminal server, and then publish it to your users, rather than just pointing the users to a copy of the spreadsheet that is stored on a file server.

You’ve probably noticed that the technique for publishing resources doesn’t really vary a lot among resource types. However, the technique for publishing a document is a little bit different from what you have seen so far, and can be a bit confusing (at least it was for me).

To publish a document, click the Publishing button found on the left side of the console, and then click the Add button. When you do, the console will display the now familiar screen that asks what type of resource you want to publish. Choose the Document option, and click Next to continue.

At this point, you will see the screen that’s shown in Figure C. As you can see in the figure, the console requires you to specify the type of document that you are going to be publishing.


Figure C: You must select the type of document that you will be publishing

When I was preparing to write this article, I decided to try publishing a Microsoft Word document. At first, I found the experience to be frustrating, because the document type list seemed to be in semi random order. However, a closer inspection revealed that the list is in alphabetical order based on file extensions. Of course many applications have multiple file extensions associated with them, so when multiple file extensions are used, the file extensions are alphabetized.

I realize that this probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, so here’s an example that I hope will help to clarify things. Suppose that you wanted to publish a Windows Media Video file with the file extension of WMV. The application that would be used to play back the video is Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Player supports lots of different file extensions. Some of the file extensions that are associated with Windows Media Player are .WMV, .WMA, and .ASF. Since multiple file extensions are used, those file extensions are alphabetized (.ASF, .WMA, .WMV) This means that if you were scrolling through the list of file types looking for Windows Media Player files, you would have to look under .ASF, even if you wanted to publish a .WMV file. Hopefully, Figure D will help to further illustrate this point.


Figure D: The list of file types is alphabetized according to file extension

If your file type isn’t listed, or if you get frustrated with trying to find a particular file extension, you can enter custom file extensions at the bottom of the screen.

Just when you think that things couldn’t possibly get any weirder, click Next and it does. As you can see in Figure E, the console displays a screen that appears to be used for publishing an application; not a document. The screen is a bit deceptive though. You can enter any filename into the Target field. Normally, you would enter an application’s executable file name, but if you want to publish a document, you must simply enter the document’s filename. The Name, Description, and Start In fields work exactly the same when you publish a document as they would when you publish an application.


Figure E: Believe it or not, you can actually use the Application dialog box to publish a document

Publishing Applications the Easy Way

In this article series, I have shown you numerous techniques for publishing applications, but there is one last technique that I wanted to tell you about. By far the easiest way to publish an application is to use drag and drop. All you have to do is to open the console and click the Publishing button. Next, open Windows explorer, and browse for the application that you want to publish. When you find the application, just drag it to the list of published resources. That’s all there is to it!

When you drag and drop an application, the Target and the Start In fields on the application’s properties sheet will automatically be populated based on the application’s location on the local system’s hard drive. You will have to make sure that the copy of the application on your terminal server exists in the same path.

You may find yourself having to specify the server that hosts the application. By default, the console assumes that every server in the farm will host a copy of the application.

Conclusion

In this article series, I have shown you quite a few things that you can do with 2X ApplicationServer that are beyond the normal capabilities of the Windows Terminal Services.  If you are interested in possibly acquiring a copy of 2X ApplicationServer for the Windows Terminal Services, you will be happy to know that the software is absolutely free, so long as you only have a single terminal server, and no more than five concurrent connections. If you require more than five simultaneous connections, then pricing is based on the number of terminal servers in your organization, not on the number of clients who will be accessing your terminal servers. Pricing starts at $695 for a single terminal server deployment. You can access the full price list at: http://www.2x.com/ordering/pricing.htm.

If you would like to read the previous articles in this series please go to:

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