App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) v1.4 Released!

ACE-256px_thumb.pngVirtual Engine are pleased to announce the version 1.4 release of the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE). This (free) utility provides a simple user interface for editing App-V 5 dynamic configuration and manifest files, without manually hacking the underlying XML files.

This release requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 or above and contains several reported bug fixes along with:

  • Support for App-V 5.1 (See excellent blog post by @ThamimKarim for a run down of what’s new in App-V 5.1);
  • Ability to modify AppxManifest files to support the App-V 5.1 sequencer Export/Import feature;
  • New Applications tab has been added, where you can Enable or Disable applications when published;
  • Improved Error checking for missing data;
  • New setting added to the User and Machine scripts that enables scripts to Run Asynchronously;
  • Tool tips added to explain what various settings or options will do;
  • New options added to the Shortcuts Context Menu that make it even easier to add new shortcuts;
  • Ability to pop-out the Generated XML and Source XML into a separate viewable window;
  • Comments have been added in the Generated XML file to make it easier to read each section;
  • Drag and Drop support has been added to open the dynamic configuration files;
  • Ability to save the Generated XML for use in App-V Scheduler.

App-V 5 Sequencer Template – Full VFS Write Mode

With the recent release of Hotfix 4 for App-V 5.0, Microsoft has now provided the ability to “Allow virtual applications full write permissions to the virtual file system”. This setting can be found in the sequencer under the “Advanced” tab as demonstrated in the screen shot below:

 Sequncer Full VFS

Should you wish to enable this setting as a default whenever you create a new package, then simply go ahead and add <FullVFSWriteMode>true<FullVFSWriteMode> into your sequencer template (.appvt), as you can see below. This setting is only valid where you have the App-V 5.0 SP2 Hotfix 4 sequencer installed.

And if you’re not currently using a template then I’d highly recommend you do. You’ll find a great article over at Rory Monaghan’s blog that explains the use of the sequencer template in more detail.

Nathan

App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) v1.1 Released!

Virtual Engine are pleased to announce the version 1.1 release of the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE). This (free) utility provides a simple user interface for editing App-V 5 the machine or user dynamic configuration files without manually hacking the underlying XML files. New in this release is the ability to Add, Delete and Edit shortcuts within the package, as well as various GUI improvements.

App-V 5 Configuration Editor User Guide

ACEWe’ve been working hard getting the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) ready for official release; take a look at the ACE page for a bit more information about why it was developed.

The purpose of this short blog to guide you through the ACE interface. There is an assumption here you have an understanding of the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files and how they are used, if not you might want to take a look at this Technet article.

USER INTERFACE

Main Toolbar:

You will notice there are three main buttons in the tool bar as shown below:

Main Toolbar

image Opens an App-V XML file, i.e. a UserConfig.xml or DeploymentConfig.xml file. Once the file has been opened the contents will be parsed and displayed under the various tabs within the GUI.

image Saves the current App-V XML file, including any changes that have been made. You can give it a new name and Save As a different file, keeping your original one as is if necessary.

image Previews the changes that will be made to the App-V XML file before saving. This gives you the ability to check out the structure of the generated XML. It’s probably a good idea to point out here that you don’t need to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

Package Details:

This sections displays the Package Display Name, Package ID and Type of XML file opened, i.e. DeploymentConfig or UserConfig. Here is an example DeploymentConfig.xml opened below:

Package Details

MAIN CONFIGURATION TABS

Once an App-V 5 configuration XML file has been opened you can then begin to make changes as required using the tabs set out below.

User Configuration

Under the User Configuration tab you can change and view various options and configurations:

User Configuration

Options

Various global options change be changed here if you so desire, e.g. altering the COM integration mode.

Shortcuts

This tab allows you to View, Add, Edit or Delete any Shortcuts within the package.

If you want to delete an existing shortcut, simply select the row that contains the shortcut and press delete. Should you wish to add a new shortcut, I’d suggest you copy and paste an existing row and then edit the fields accordingly; we’ve added a context menu to make that task easy, should you not fancy using Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V  Smile.

Shortcuts

Scripts (User Context)

This is really where ACE starts to make life simple Smile. You can easily define which scripts you’d like to add and to which script actions, e.g. PublishPackage, UnpublishPackage, StartVirtualEnvironment, TerminateVirtualEnvironment, StartProcess and ExitProcess. There is no need to worry about getting the syntax in the XML file right. There are some excellent blogs out there talking about using scripts in App-V 5.0, so I suggest you take a look here at one from Tim Mangan and Microsoft’s own Steve Thompson if you need some further background information.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the User Configuration section of the XML file.

I think most of the options are self explanatory but, it’s good to point out that leaving the Timeout value at 0 means no timeout period will be set, i.e. it will wait indefinitely for it to finish so use with caution.

Scripts (User Context)

Machine Configuration

Under the Machine Configuration tab you can alter global options, configure scripts and control the termination of processes.

NOTE: this tab will only be available when you open a DeploymentConfig.xml file. This is because machine configuration items cannot be set in the UserConfig.xml file.

Machine Configuration

Options

Here you’ll find any options that can be changed if you so desire.

Terminate Child Processes

You can define the path to an executable, that when closed, will terminate any child process running within the virtual environment.

Terminate Child Processes

Scripts (System Context)

Very much like the Scripts tab under User Configuration you can define which scripts you’d like to add to which machine script actions, e.g. AddPackage, RemovePackage, PublishPackage and UnpublishPackage.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the Machine Configuration section of the XML file.

Scripts (System Context)

XML

You can view both the source (original) XML and/or preview the generated XML under this tab.

Source XML

Source XML

This is simply where you can view your source App-V XML file as it was when you opened it.

Generated XML

Once you click the Preview button image this pane will display any changes that will be made to the App-V XML file, giving you the ability to check out the structure of the XML before saving if you wish. NOTE: You don’t have to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

The example below (highlighted in yellow) shows the changes made by ACE in the generated XML format. NOTE: ACE will not highlight the changes in the XML, we’ve done it here for clarity purposes only.

Generated XML

With any luck this brief guide has given you a good overview of how to use ACE and hopefully you’ll agree its pretty intuitive to use and should make editing the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files a lot, lot easier (well we think so anyway!)? 🙂

DISCLAIMER: THE APP-V CONFIGURATION EDITOR IS FREE TO USE AT YOUR OWN RISK, WE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE IT MIGHT CAUSE.

Querying .APPV Package Properties Part 2

powershell_appv_logoFollowing on from Part 1, we can also query the properties of an App-V 5.0 .APPV package with another cmdlet included in the Virtual Engine App-V 5.0 .APPV PowerShell CmdLets; Get-AppV5FilePackage.  The main difference with this cmdlet (when compared to Get-AppV5FileXml and Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage) is that it returns a custom PSObject with a simpler property namespace and additional package information.

To populate our object we can run this:

C:\PS> $AppVPackage = Get-AppV5FilePackage –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv

Going back to our example in Part 1, we can then query this object for both the VersionId and PVAD like so:

C:\PS> $AppVPackage | Select-Object VersionId,FileSystemRoot | Format-List

VersionId      : fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6
FileSystemRoot : C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

Our custom PSObject also includes details of all the files in package and the uncompressed size. If you want to know how much space a package will take when loaded into the App-V 5 client cache, then this is the command for you!

To return the uncompressed package size we could run:

$AppVPackage.UncompressedSize
43738570

If you want this in MB, easy:

C:\PS> ($AppVPackage.UncompressedSize/1MB).ToString("N2")
41.71

Want the total number of files in the package?

C:\PS> $AppVPackage.Files.Count
85

Need a list of all the files in the .APPV package?

C:\PS> $AppVPackage.Files | Select-Object FullName

FullName
--------
Registry.dat
Root/components/binary.manifest
Root/components/browsercomps.dll
Root/defaults/pref/channel-prefs.js
Root/defaults/pref/local-settings.js
Root/dictionaries/en-US.aff
Root/dictionaries/en-US.dic
Root/extensions/%7B972ce4c6-7e08-4474-a285-3208198ce6fd%7D/icon.png
Root/extensions/%7B972ce4c6-7e08-4474-a285-3208198ce6fd%7D/install.rdf
Root/modules/services-aitc/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-common/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-crypto/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-notifications/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-sync/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/services-sync/engines/.mkdir.done
Root/modules/sessionstore/.mkdir.done
Root/searchplugins/amazondotcom.xml
Root/searchplugins/bing.xml
Root/searchplugins/eBay.xml
Root/searchplugins/google.xml
Root/searchplugins/twitter.xml
Root/searchplugins/wikipedia.xml
Root/searchplugins/yahoo.xml
Root/webapprt/omni.ja
Root/webapprt/webapprt.ini
Root/override.ini
Root/mozilla.cfg
Root/install.log
Root/AccessibleMarshal.dll
Root/application.ini
Root/blocklist.xml
Root/breakpadinjector.dll
Root/chrome.manifest
Root/crashreporter-override.ini
Root/crashreporter.exe
Root/crashreporter.ini
Root/D3DCompiler_43.dll
Root/d3dx9_43.dll
Root/dependentlibs.list
Root/firefox.exe
Root/freebl3.chk
Root/freebl3.dll
Root/gkmedias.dll
Root/libEGL.dll
Root/libGLESv2.dll
Root/maintenanceservice.exe
Root/maintenanceservice_installer.exe
Root/mozalloc.dll
Root/mozglue.dll
Root/mozjs.dll
Root/mozsqlite3.dll
Root/msvcp100.dll
Root/msvcr100.dll
Root/nspr4.dll
Root/nss3.dll
Root/nssckbi.dll
Root/nssdbm3.chk
Root/nssdbm3.dll
Root/nssutil3.dll
Root/omni.ja
Root/platform.ini
Root/plc4.dll
Root/plds4.dll
Root/plugin-container.exe
Root/precomplete
Root/removed-files
Root/smime3.dll
Root/softokn3.chk
Root/softokn3.dll
Root/ssl3.dll
Root/update-settings.ini
Root/updater.exe
Root/updater.ini
Root/webapp-uninstaller.exe
Root/webapprt-stub.exe
Root/xpcom.dll
Root/xul.dll
Root/firefox.exe.0.ico
Root/firefox.exe.1.ico
FilesystemMetadata.xml
StreamMap.xml
PackageHistory.xml
AppxManifest.xml
AppxBlockMap.xml
[Content_Types].xml

Hopefully, these cmdlets will be useful? As an example, we’ve used the Get-AppV5FilePackage cmdlet to create HTML .APPV package reports. Happy PoShing Open-mouthed smile

Querying .APPV Package Properties Part 1

powershell_appv_logoSo you have an App-V 5.0 package (in this example I’ll use Mozilla Firefox) and you’d like to know various properties about the package without loading it into the App-V 5 client. The sequencer creates numerous files by default that expose some extremely pertinent information, i.e. the PackageId. The PackageId is specified in both the template <PackageName>_DeploymentConfig.xml and <PackageName>_UserConfig.xml files.

Unfortunately for us, other useful details such as the VersionId and Primary Virtual Asset Directory (PVAD) are stored within the <PackageName>.appv file. This is a compressed archive and can simply be opened with Windows Explorer by renaming the file with a .ZIP extension. Within this file are some more files (generated by the Sequencer):

image

If we want to find out information such as the VersionId or Primary Virtual Asset Directory (PVAD directory) without loading the package into the App-V 5.0 client, we have to manually rename the file, open the archive and inspect the various files (AppxManifest.xml for the VersionId and FileSystemMetadata.xml for the PVAD). Whilst this is fine, it is manual and if we forget to rename the file back to a .APPV file we leave the package unusable!

Using PowerShell

This is what the Virtual Engine App-V 5.0 Package PowerShell CmdLets are for! Included are three CmdLets that can help us here: Get-AppV5FileXmlGet-AppV5FileXmlPackage and/or Get-AppV5FilePackage. This post covers the first two and Part 2 of this post covers the Get-AppV5FilePackage command.

Get-AppV5FileXml

This cmdlet will extract the contents of a single XML file within an .APPV package. The results are returned as a System.Xml.XmlDocument that we can then interrogate. No more manually renaming the archive, extracting and then loading the file.

Going back to our example, if we wanted the VersionId of an .APPV package we need to interrogate the AppxManifest.xml file. To accomplish this we can run this command (all on a single line!):

C:\PS> (Get-AppV5FileXml –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv –XML AppxManifest).Package.Identity.VersionId

fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6

C:\PS>

If we want the PVAD directory, this is stored in the FileSystemMetadata.xml file. Easy (again, all on a single line!):

(Get-AppV5FileXml –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv –XML FilesystemMetadata).Metadata.FileSystem.Root

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

C:\PS>

This method loads each file into it’s own XmlDocument. Is there a way to load all the XML properties at once? You betcha!

Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage

This command bundles all the default sequencer generated XML files into a single XmlDocument object. This includes the contents of the AppxManifest.xml, StreamMap.xml, AppxBloackMap.xml, PackageHistory.xml and FileSystemMetadata.xml files. Each XML file is loaded under the <AppV5> element within the XML document and therefore, the paths are extended slightly.

Taking our example, if want to get the VersionId and PVAD we can do this instead:

C:\PS> $Mozilla = Get-AppV5FileXmlPackage –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv

C:\PS> $Mozilla.AppV5.Package.Identity.VersionId
fd215f39-f317-447d-aa79-7fe6c35e73f6

C:\PS> $Mozilla.AppV5.Metadata.FileSystem.Root
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox

C:\PS>

In Part 2, we can use yet another method: Get-AppV5FilePackage. Happy PowerShelling Open-mouthed smile

App-V 5 Configuration Editor User Guide

ACEWe’ve been working hard getting the App-V 5 Configuration Editor (ACE) ready for a BETA release; take a look at the ACE page for a bit more information about why it was developed.

With any new application it’s great to have some user guides, right (RTFM)?!? Rest assured that will come when it’s officially released, in the mean time we wanted to create this short blog to guide you through the ACE interface. There is also an assumption here you have an understanding of the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files and how they are used, if not you might want to take a look at this technet article.

USER INTERFACE

Main Toolbar:

You will notice there are three main buttons in the tool bar as shown below:

SNAGHTML105760e

image Opens an App-V XML file, i.e. a UserConfig.xml or DeploymentConfig.xml file. Once the file has been opened the contents will be parsed and displayed under the various tabs within the GUI.

image Saves the current App-V XML file, including any changes that have been made. You can give it a new name and Save As a different file, keeping your original one as is if necessary.

image Previews the changes that will be made to the App-V XML file before saving. This gives you the ability to check out the structure of the generated XML. It’s probably a good idea to point out here that you don’t need to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

Package Details:

This sections displays the Package Display Name, Package ID and Type of XML file opened, i.e. DeploymentConfig or UserConfig. Here is an example DeploymentConfig.xml opened below:

SNAGHTML10a6c4e

MAIN CONFIGURATION TABS

Once an App-V 5 configuration XML file has been opened you can then begin to make changes as required using the tabs set out below.

User Configuration

Under the User Configuration tab you can change and view various options and configurations:

SNAGHTML1151fa5

Options

Various global options change be changed here if you so desire, e.g. altering the COM integration mode.

Shortcuts

This tab allows you to view all the defined Shortcuts within the package.

NOTE: at this time its Read Only but is great for getting an overview of all the Shortcuts available.

SNAGHTML123eb5d

Scripts (User Context)

This is really where ACE starts to make life simple Smile. You can easily define which scripts you’d like to add and to which actions, e.g. PublishPackage, UnpublishPackage, StartVirtualEnvironment, TerminateVirtualEnvironment, StartProcess and ExitProcess. There is no need to worry about getting the syntax in the XML file right. There are are some excellent blogs out there talking about using scripts in App-V 5.0, so I suggest you take a look here at one from Tim Murgent and Microsoft’s own Steve Thompson if you need some further background information.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the User Configuration section of the XML file.

I think most of the options are self explanatory but, it’s good to point out that leaving the Timeout value at 0 means no timeout period will be set, i.e. it will wait indefinitely for it to finish so use with caution.

SNAGHTML137e66e

Machine Configuration

Under the Machine Configuration tab you can alter global options, configure scripts and control the termination of processes.

NOTE: this tab will only be available when you open a DeploymentConfig.xml file. This is because machine configuration items cannot be set in the UserConfig.xml file.

SNAGHTML144b2d1

Options

Here you’ll find any options that can be changed if you so desire.

Terminate Child Processes

You can define the path to an executable, that when closed, will terminate any child process running within the virtual environment.

SNAGHTML14d302a

Scripts (System Context)

Very much like the Scripts tab under User Configuration you can define which scripts you’d like to add to which actions, e.g. AddPackage, RemovePackage, PublishPackage and UnpublishPackage.

NOTE: You might have noticed that not all the script actions are available under this tab, that’s simply because those excluded aren’t permitted to run under the Machine Configuration section of the XML file.

SNAGHTML1522226

XML

You can view both the source (original) XML and/or preview the generated XML under this tab.

SNAGHTML18ecc7a

Source XML

This is simply where you can view your source App-V XML file as it was when you opened it.

Generated XML

Once you click the Preview button image this pane will display any changes that will be made to the App-V XML file, giving you the ability to check out the structure of the XML before saving if you wish.

NOTE: You don’t have to preview the changes prior to performing a save.

The example below (highlighted in yellow) shows the changes made by ACE in the generated XML format.

SNAGHTML19082ed

Hopefully this brief guide has given you a good overview of how to use ACE. Hopefully you’ll agree its pretty intuitive to use and should make editing the App-V 5 Dynamic Configuration files a lot, lot easier (well we think so anyway!) 🙂

DISCLAIMER: THE APP-V CONFIGURATION EDITOR IS FREE TO USE AT YOUR OWN RISK, WE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE IT MIGHT CAUSE.

Documenting App-V 5.0 Packages

Continuing our series of posts on the Virtual Engine App-V 5.0 .APPV PowerShell CmdLets, this one will show you how to quickly document your .APPV packages’ contents. The Save-AppV5FileReport cmdlet generates a HTML report of information contained within the .APPV package contents. Here’s an example summary report (detailed reports are also available):

Generating Single Reports

Generating summary reports (such as the one above) simply requires running the following command:

C:\PS> Save-AppV5FileReport –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv

This will generate a Mozilla_Firefox_V17.0_Report.html file in the source C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0\ directory. If we wanted a detailed report instead we could run:

C:\PS> Save-AppV5FileReport –AppV C:\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0.appv –Detailed

Documenting Multiple Packages

Creating a report for a single package is fine, but what if we wanted to document all packages on a share or in a folder? Fortunately this is simple. If you wanted each package report in the source package directory, we can do so like this:

C:\PS> Get-ChildItem C:\Packages\ -Include *.appv -Recurse | % { Save-AppV5FileReport -AppV $_.FullName }

Directory: C:\Packages\GoogleChrome_v23.0.1271.91

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
-a---        02/05/2013     12:36       8884 GoogleChrome_v23.0.1271.91_Report.html

Directory: C:\Packages\Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
-a---        02/05/2013     12:36       8802 Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0_Report.html

Directory: C:\Packages\Paint.Net_v3.5.10

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
-a---        02/05/2013     12:36       8770 Paint.NET_v3.5.10_Report.html

What about if we wanted all the reports in a single location? Again, pretty straight forward. The Save-AppV5FileReport cmdlet has a –FilePath parameter that we can specify the output location. Note: this folder is not automatically created so make sure it exists! Our command to achieve this is:

C:\PS> Get-ChildItem C:\Packages\ -Include *.appv -Recurse | % { Save-AppV5FileReport -AppV $_.FullName -FilePath C:\Packages\Reports\ }

Directory: C:\Packages\Reports

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name
----                -------------     ------ ----
-a---        02/05/2013     12:40       8884 GoogleChrome_v23.0.1271.91_Report.html
-a---        02/05/2013     12:40       8802 Mozilla_Firefox_v17.0_Report.html
-a---        02/05/2013     12:40       8770 Paint.NET_v3.5.10_Report.html

Hopefully you’ll find these HTML reports useful. We are planning to add sequencer reports into this module in the near future too, so stay tuned! Happy PoShing 😀

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