A guide to App-V publishing and streaming using IIS

From an App-V point of view, this deployment method is not too complicated, but there are some aspects that have the potential to cause confusion in the community and with this I hope to avoid the confusion and hopefully, one can test, play and deploy this method with confidence.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

The configuration of IIS

– The installation of IIS

– The creation of the virtual directory

– The MIME types

The creation and configuration of the Publishing Document

– How HTTP streaming works with App-V and how we use and create the Publishing Document

– Testing the Publishing Document

The configuration of the App-V Client

– The configuration of the HTTP server

– The configuration of the App-V client settings

– More information

For the creation of this document, I have used a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine with Internet Information Services 7.5 and a Windows 7 client with App-V for Windows Desktops 4.6 x64.

The configuration of IIS

The configuration of the IIS server is not that complicated for use with App-V; however, there are some things we should keep in mind.

The installation of IIS

When installing IIS for App-V, we should make sure the following role components are installed:

· Common HTTP Features – ALL except HTTP redirection

· Application Development – ALL

· Health and Diagnostics – HTTP logging and Request Monitor only

· Application Development – ALL

· IIS 6 Management Compatibility – ALL

· Security – ALL authentication options

· Management Tools – ALL

The creation of the virtual directory

A virtual directory in IIS must be created in order to represent the App-V content share that contains all application packages. The virtual directory has to be pointed to the location where the content share is. The content share should be configured as a default file share. For the virtual directory, the default settings can be maintained, but make sure that the virtual directory is located under the default website and that Directory Browsing and Read are checked.

The MIME types

In IIS, we have to configure a couple of MIME types to make sure we can handle the App-V files properly. Below is a summary of these MIME types:

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The creation and configuration of the Publishing Document

Whether HTTP Publishing and Streaming works or fails depends mostly on the Publishing Document. The Publishing Document is an .aspx page to which the App-V client connects to send its request for applications (icons, FTA’s etc.). If the Publishing Document is not functioning properly for any reason, the clients will not be able to connect and the App-V applications will not work. There are several methods to create a proper Publishing Document, some of them are easy and some complicated and some of them are suited for quick tests and some not.

We can create a Publishing Document manually, which is a good one for testing purposes. However, when we are looking for a larger deployment, we would not be happy to process each application package manually. This would also be prone to errors and it would require manual modification when a new package is deployed to the environment. Because this is not desired, we can also use more complicated ways to achieve our goal, making our lives much easier in the end by creating your Publishing Document automatically.

How HTTP streaming works with App-V and how we use and create the Publishing Document

When we deploy App-V with Management or Streaming servers, the App-V clients are configured to point to the App-V server, which handles their request. When we only use IIS for the publishing and streaming of App-V applications, we need to have a slightly different approach.

From a client perspective, we do not have to do much, except configuring it to point to a HTTP server and configure some settings. However, from the IIS point of view, we should understand some things before we can implement this properly.

When the App-V client performs a Desktop Configuration Refresh (DC Refresh), it sends a request to the IIS server. With this request, the client is asking what applications are available, and where icons should be placed and whether this application has File Type Associations (FTA’s). The client needs to receive this information in XML format.

Therefore, in order for the client to get all information properly, we have to make sure that this information is accurately available on the IIS server. In order to achieve this, we have to make a Publishing Document. This Publishing Document is an .aspx file that is located in the root of the content directory. The client needs to be pointed to this page in order to work, but this will be discussed later on. This Publishing Document needs to contain information about the Desktop Configuration, which includes (but is not limited to) the Refresh Settings, the Refresh Interval, Reporting Settings and of course, the Applist.

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