There is some news to share about the Citrix Mobility Pack.
- Citrix has released a new revision of XenDesktop called XenDesktop 5.6 FR1. With this version of XenDesktop, it now supports the Citrix Mobility Pack and the Citrix Mobile Application SDK.
- The SDK documentation is now available in Japanese and Chinese. There has been much interest in Asia and this documentation should help the developers in that region.
- Jason Conger and I will be presenting about the SDK at BriForum 2012 Chicago on July 24, 2012 at 4pm.
We have started work on the next version of the Citrix Mobility Pack and SDK. Customer feedback played a major role in prioritizing the features. It is still not too late to voice opinions about what the SDK should support. However, the window for changing the requirements is quickly closing.
When we shipped the XenApp 6.5 Mobility Application SDK (XAMA SDK for short) last December, it included documentation and samples. Unfortunately the documentation and samples were not tied together on the web pages and it was not obvious that the samples were there.
This has changed this week.
During the initial development of XenApp Mobile Pack, certain choices were made for the status/error codes. This all made sense during that time but certain topics have come up since then which requires attention. Nothing serious, but rather more of an indication that things need to be better explained.
When something new is created, it is often difficult to capture its essence in words. If not that, then it is hard to know where to start. Sometimes it is much easier to create with the hope that the explanation will happen later.
Later is now. In the coming weeks we will be providing new documentation and samples. We are also providing our first videos for the SDK. This is a new business model for us and we are working hard to make sure that the SDK is accepted and used in businesses.
Today I am going to cover the SDK functional groups. The hope is that describing the functionality in groups will make it easier to understand what the API can do overall. The first stop is the documentation on the web. Please take a moment to look at the functional groups. This documentation page was only meant for C/C++ but the ideas could be mapped to COM and C# as well.
Since we just announced XAMP and XAMA just a few days ago, and it also very close to the holidays, it is not expected that many people will get a chance to try these solutions before January.
However, to anticipate potential questions, there is a solution regardless of when the questions are asked.
First of all, there is a Citrix forum dedicated to the XAMA SDK. There has not yet been much traffic here yet but we have had a few questions. The forum is the place to go when you have an issue with getting the SDK to work. So far we have covered some of the issues that happen when you first start and also how to debug. Thanks go out to Jason Conger for being an early adopter. Just remember that we are instantly notified of any new request and do our best to answer the question within a day.
Another path is to use our direct email account. The group that worked on the Mobility Pack has a group email alias. This address is mobilitysdk (at) citrix.com. As usual, substitute “(at)” with @. I wrote it this way in the vain attempt to hide the email address from automated programs.
The email address is direct and instant and is directed to several people in Citrix. It probably comes down to preference whether you want to use the forum or email. Either way, you will get the help you need with the XAMA SDK.
When a developer first experiments with mobile phones and tablets, one of the first questions is how it can be debugged. With PCs it is fairly easy to start a debugger for a program since the environment is well established and there is plenty of screen space. With a phone, the space is very limited. On top of this, there is very limited input control. Using touch is very effective for mobile devices but not always that effective for debugging the applications than run on these devices. There has to be some kind of outside control to make this more effective.
There are some general strategies:
- Using tracing to log files
- Using tracing to remote consoles
- Interactive Debugging inside session
- Interactive Debugging in another session
The first version of the Citrix XenApp 6.5 Mobile Application (XAMA) SDK has been published on the Citrix web site as of December 17, 2011. In order to use the SDK, the XenApp server must have the Citrix XenApp 6.5 Mobility Pack (XAMP) installed first. The team has worked for around a year bringing this together. The overall goal is to make it easy for enterprise Windows developers write software that works well on mobile devices (phones and tablets).
Ramping up with XAMP
Over the last couple of years, Citrix Labs has been working on a project to make standard Windows applications more usable on mobile devices (phones and tablets). This started with the development of Project GoldenGate and the production of an email client that runs on XenApp but acts like a native mobile device application when run remotely. In the early demonstrations, it was clear that customers were interested for a few different reasons:
- The email would be kept in the data center and therefore would be more secure. If the device was lost or stolen, the information would not be there.
- The email application could be maintained inside the organization instead of on different devices at remote locations.
- Deploying standard Windows email programs via XenApp is not easy due to user expectations for usability.
You can learn more about the latest release of GoldenGate here.
Producing this kind of application is important but not the whole story. There is also a need to make it easy for other software companies to produce software for XenApp and mobile devices. The intent is to publish a SDK for developers to use to get all the same benefits along with a few new ideas along the way.
To get a first impression of this SDK, please example the doxygen-generated documenation for XenApp 6.5 Mobile Application SDK. This documentation was released during Synergy Barcelona in late October 2011.
The online documentation focuses on the C/C++ interfaces for the SDK. The internal name for the SDK was Citrix Mobility Pack SDK (CMPSDK). That is why there are so many references to CMP in the documentation.
The announcement for the XA MA SDK includes a video that share the vision for producing these kind of mobile applications.
It is important to keep these kind of things in mind:
- It is a fairly steep learning curve to pick up knowledge in mobile device platform development. It is far easier to leverage existing Windows development experience.
- The XA Mobility Pack enables several new features from the mobile device including GPS, display metrics, onscreen keyboard, SMS, camera, orientation, mobile device properties, button redirection, user notification, picker control support.
- The SDK works with C/C++/COM/C#
- The SDK is used by GoldenGate