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.
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
Did you know that typeface with Terminal Services is usually downgraded from the usual local experience? Microsoft has the ClearType technology which normally improves the look of text by rounding the edges with different colors giving the characters more rounded effect.
Computer displays in which the positions of individual pixels are permanently fixed by the design of the hardware—such as most modern flat-panel displays—can show strong aliasing artifacts, which manifest as jagged, saw-tooth edges (sometimes referred to as “jaggies”) when displaying small, high-contrast graphic elements such as text. ClearType uses anti-aliasing at the subpixel level to greatly reduce visible artifacts on such displays when text is rendered, making the text appear “smoother” and less jagged.
The technology has been around for a number of years but only recently has become mainstream with Microsoft products having it automatically turned on.
ClearType, a trademark of Microsoft, was first announced at the November 1998 COMDEX exhibition. The technology was first introduced in software in January 2000 as an always-on feature of Microsoft Reader, which was released to the public in August 2000. ClearType was later introduced as an operating system feature in Windows XP, where it was kept turned off by default. In Windows Vista, ClearType is turned on by default. In Microsoft Office 2007 and Internet Explorer 7, ClearType turned on by default, even if it is not enabled throughout the operating system. ClearType is also an integrated component of the Windows Presentation Foundation text rendering engine.
It is always good to check Wikipedia first. The catch here is that Terminal Services has typically turned ClearType off. At least this was true for Windows Server 2003.
Citrix has announced this in a support article about ClearType.
Microsoft ClearType works correctly inside an ICA session with Citrix Presentation Server running on Windows 2000 Server, but it does not work with Presentation Server version 4.5 running on Windows Server 2003.
With Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft introduced ClearType, a font display technology that improves font display resolution.
In Windows Server 2003, Microsoft have released an update that now enables ClearType support for Terminal Services making it available for Remote Desktop users.
For further information please see Article 946633 The “Font smoothing” feature has no effect in Windows Server 2003 terminal sessions
Citrix is currently working on an update to Presentation Server version 4.5 for Windows Server 2003 to utilize this new Microsoft Update for Terminal Services to provide ICA users with ClearType support.
Please note that Microsoft has only recently allowed this to work on Windows Server 2003. The hotfix announcement is from March 6, 2008.
Internally ClearType has been discussed several times as part of the XenDesktop and XenApp projects. XenDesktop received a benefit when ClearType just worked due to it not being Terminal Services based. XenApp needed the hotfix. There is one step left and that is to enable ClearType on XenApp for 4.5 and 5.0. Internal reports suggest that it does not suffer from the change for performance.
Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft Office 2007 both expect ClearType and apparently Outlook looks pretty bad without it. At this point it really does not make sense to keep it off if there is no penalty for doing so.
Overall this is a very simple way to make things look the same between local and remote.
During Summit 2008, a video was released from Mark Templeton
. The video is fairly brief and summarizes the current visions of Citrix. At this time, the concept of XenApp was first introduced. The video seems to be missing the typical high energy presence of Mark so I suspect it was taken after a very long day. You can just click the picture to see the video.
Citrix has officially announced the name change for what was called “Citrix Presentation Server”. The original NDA announcement came during Citrix Summit and it was quickly written about on the web. I’ve been avoiding the topic like the plague since I knew no good would come from talking about it early. Finally, I can relax and write about it.
The industry has already reacted to this name change and the overall consensus is good. There have been a few comments that it is a good idea to have a similar naming scheme for the different products. Another common comment is that Citrix needs to get value for this brand based on the acquisition price.
Either way, there doesn’t seem to be much resistance to the idea of changing the name.
Let’s briefly summarize the names that Citrix has had for its main product:
- 1990 Multiuser
- 1992 A+ Remote
- 1993 WinView
- 1995 WinFrame
- 1998 MetaFrame
- 2001 MetaFrame XP
- 2004 Presentation Server
- 2008 XenApp
I’m not completely sure about the date of the Presentation Server introduction. It could be plus or minus a year. As you can see from this, the pace of name changes has actually slowed down over the years. We are changing names about every four years or so based on this past history. Perhaps it will happen next in 2012.
This really is the realm of marketing and it is clear that any engineer isn’t going to have a viable opinion as to what the name should be or how long the current name should last. Changing the name is the easiest way to bring a fresh angle into a product line that we founded in 1995. Certainly there have been many additions and improvements but the basic idea of how things work is largely the same.
A prediction I would make is that the worlds of XenApp and XenDesktop are going to collide. This will especially be true if XenDesktop is allowed to mature and achieve seamless applications. This could be a good thing. At some future point the two worlds are likely to merge and be able to fit either environment.
The Xen prefix doesn’t mean that XenDesktop only does Xen. A great deal of work has been done to make sure it works with another vendor as well as working on real machines. This includes individual machines as well as blades. I’ve mentioned this before. The confusion customers have is the cost of using Xen in the name.
Like any name change, it usually takes time for me to grow into it. In this case I would predict that it will not take long to get used to. We seem to have Xen on the mind lately. After awhile it really doesn’t matter what the name is because it is only a name. The products have their own personality and the name is just a tag when you talk about it. Initial acceptance is probably the most important thing.
Personally I remember thinking that “Presentation Server” was a bit stuffy when the name was last changed. That wore off pretty fast. It was okay once everyone started calling it CPS.
Welcome to the brave new world of XenApp!