ACEThe 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:

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

New in ACE v1.4

We have now added the ability to modify an AppxManifest.xml file to support the new App-V 5.1 sequencer Export/Import feature. There are two ways of doing this:

  1. Opening the AppxManifest.xml directly.
  2. Opening the App-V package (.appv). In this case ACE with automatically extract and display the contents of the AppxManifest file.

Option 2 would be our recommended approach as:

  • You’ll not need to export the AppxManifest file first using the sequencer.
  • If you’ve imported the modified AppxManifest into the sequencer and saved the package, this will generate a new VersionID. If you then subsequently want to update the AppxManifest file, and open the previously modified one directly, the VersionID will be different and cause the sequencer to error if you import it.

NOTE: The ability to import a modified AppxManifest file is only supported in the App-V 5.1 sequencer.

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, UserConfig or PackageManifest. 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, COM Options and Advanced Options can be changed here if you so desire, e.g. altering the COM integration mode.

NOTE: The Advanced Options are only available when opening an AppXManifest file. The the Enable Software Clients global option is the only setting that can be disabled when opening a AppXManifest file.

New in ACE v1.4

The Advanced Options have been added to emulate the same options available in the App-V sequencer.

Tool tips have been added to provide an easy explanation what each option can do, simply hover over the option to display the tool tip.

Tool Tip

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 use the Insert Example Row from the context menu then edit the fields accordingly.

NOTE: This tab isn’t currently available when opening an AppXManifest file.

Shortcuts

New in ACE v1.4

We’ve now expanded the functionality of the context menu to include Insert Blank Row and Insert Example Row. In particular the Insert Example Row makes it easier to add additional shortcuts by inserting example data that can easily be modified to suit.

Shortcut Context Menu

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/missing items 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.

User Scripts

New in ACE v1.4

Firstly we’ve added tool tips to provide an easy explanation what each setting can do, simply hover over the setting to display the tool tip.

Tool Tip

Secondly, we’ve added the Run Asynchronously setting to each script action. Use this setting where the script is not critical to the operation of the application or you don’t wish to wait until the script has finished before continuing.

Lastly, logic has been added to each script action to check for and warn of any missing data, which may cause unexpected results when the script is run.

Missing Data

Applications (New in ACE v1.4)

This tab allows you to Enable or Disable (by default they’re Enabled) applications from being added when the package is published. If the application isn’t Enabled then various extension points will not be registered e.g. shortcuts will not be created for that application amongst other things. This can be useful when using the Office 2013 Click-to-Run package and you wish to exclude particular applications from being added i.e. Access or InfoPath – check out this blog for an example.

NOTE: This tab isn’t currently available when opening an AppXManifest file.

Applications

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 or a AppXManifest.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.

NOTE: This tab isn’t currently available when opening an AppXManifest file.
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/missing aren’t permitted to run under the Machine Configuration section of the XML file.

Machine Scripts

New in ACE v1.4

We have added the Run Asynchronously setting to each script action. Use this setting where the script is not critical to the operation of the application or you don’t wish to wait until the script has finished before continuing.

Lastly, logic has been added to each script action to check for and warn of any missing data, which may cause unexpected results when the script is run.

Missing Data

XML

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

XML View

Source XML

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

New in ACE v1.4

We’ve now provided the ability to pop-out the Source XML window; using the button Pop-out Button provided. This now makes it a lot easier to review the Source XML content in a readable window.

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

New in ACE v1.4

We have now added comments in the Generated XML file that makes it easier to read and understand.

NOTE: Comments are not available when generating an AppXManifest file.

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 and Manfiest 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.

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