With all the excitement around HTTP streaming in App-V 4.5, many people fail to realize HTTP Publishing has been a feature of App-V since…well…the very first release of SoftGrid. This series of articles will discuss how to build your own App-V publishing server. In this first article, I will go over how to create a very basic publishing server. In future articles, I will discuss advanced features that can be enabled using a custom HTTP publishing server.
HTTP Publishing is a surprisingly powerful feature. It provides you with complete control over which applications are delivered to each user. The criteria that you choose to make this decision are completely up to you. For example, you could base it on the ACLs associated with the package files. With this strategy, if the user has access to package files, then the applications in the package are published to the user. This simple policy provides similar entitlement functionality that is available with the App-V Management Server. It is the one that will be demonstrated in this article.
Much more interesting policies are also possible. For example, entitlement could be based on information in the corporate HR database. Or, it could be based on some other attributes on the user’s Active Directory object. Another option would be to query some custom SQL database to determine which applications the user is entitled to use. Which option you choose will depend on the needs of your particular scenario.
The publishing architecture in App-V is fairly simple. The client sends a request to the server asking for the list of applications for the user. This request is sent while impersonating the user, so that the server can access the user’s token, if needed.
The server’s response is a single XML file that contains the publishing information associated with each application, including its shortcuts, file type associations and DDE entries. The rest of this article describes how to generate this document in the appropriate format.
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