Friday 20 April 2012

Windows 8 gets BYOC

As a subscriber and avid "consumer" of Steven Sinofsky's blog postings on "Building Windows 8" I have posted a number of blog entries on the ChangeBASE application compatibility blog, most notably commenting on the Windows 8 on ARM platform with "Windows 8 on Arm (WoA): A birth of a new ecosystem".

Now that I have "moved up a level" to working with the Quest User Workspace Management team, I was delighted to see another great post from Steven's team on an area on which I will have to focus on over the next little while. Namely, managing applications in a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) environment.

Strictly speaking Quest uses the term BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) which intends to cover a slightly greater problem area with the inclusion of mobile devices and other peripherals. 

You can read more about the ideas behind Quest's UWM here:

Or even better, watch the introductory video from Shayne here:

Back to Steven's posting on managing applications on the forthcoming Windows 8 platform, which you can read here:

One of the challenges that I have been considering over the past little while was how Microsoft was going to manage internally developed applications. Specifically, how was Windows 8 going to install/update and retire Metro style applications when the client (company) did not want to publish their Line-of-Business (LOB) application on the publicly available Windows 8 Application store. There are obvious reasons for not publishing your internal applications on the Windows 8 store, not least the security concerns and most likely the overhead of publishing to Windows 8 store. 

Previously, we were told that for Windows 8 Metro applications, 
 “consumers obtain all software... through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.” 

Now, with the addition of the WOA management client, Microsoft has added a fourth trusted source of software for the WOA platform. The Metro style self-service portal application, or SSP, is now the primary interface for the corporate user to access their management infrastructure.

Quoting from the post, there appear to be four types of applications that are supported by the Microsoft SSP including;
  • Internally-developed Metro style apps that are not published in the Windows Store
  • Apps produced by independent software vendors that are licensed to the organization for internal distribution
  • Web links that launch websites and web-based apps directly in the browser
  • Links to app listings in the Windows Store. This is a convenient way for IT to make users aware of useful business apps that are publicly available.

Here is a sample of the corporate application portal or SSP for the Microsoft example site Woodgrove;

As you will note, the styling and layout are consistent (the same??) as the Windows 8 store and should offer reduced training and support overheads for managing your internal Metro styled applications.

I guess the next question is how does a developer perform a manual  "test" install on a new machine without publishing to the SSP? 

You can find out the command line required to install and un-install a Metro style application here:

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