When Citrix Technical Support released the Brief Troubleshooting Guide late last year, it was a very popular download. As I read through the pdf, it reminded me a great deal of a document that I used extensively when I started out as a Citrix SE in 2000 – Rick Dehlinger’s Metaframe Tuning Tips.
Rick was a very well known and respected SE for Citrix when I joined the team in April of 2000, and his Tuning Tips document was a fantastic resource. People all over the world contributed to and used Rick’s document. It was by far the most popular “unofficial” Citrix technical resource of its time.
Another Citrix SE, Vinny Sosa, told me he was burning the Tuning Tips document and many of the tools and documents it recommended on a single CD and distributing that CD to his customers and resellers as he visited them. After discussing this idea with Vinny, I began to do the same thing in my territory in Atlanta. I quickly realized that I did not have nearly enough time to burn all the CD’s I needed. I decided to combine the CD idea with another idea I learned from Rick – creating my own eGroup (now Yahoo Group) mailing list for the Citrix customers and resellers in my area.
My new list became known as the CitrixSE mailing list (as in Citrix Southeast, my territory). I set the group up so that as soon as any one joined the list they automatically received a copy of Rick’s Tuning Tips and several other documents and tools. This helped the list grow very rapidly. By the time I left the SE team in 2004, the CitrixSE mailing list had over 5000 members.
The Brief Troubleshooting Guide (BTG) is a very comprehensive and technical resource. The Citrix Technical Support team did an excellent job on this guide. In many ways the BTG reminded me of the original Metaframe Tuning Tips document. One big difference is Rick’s document had contributors from all over the world, both inside and outside Citrix. You could say that Rick’s document was a community built mashup, a derivative work created from many other documents and by many people for a specific purpose. Rick drove the creation of the document, but worked with people all over the world to create content that was extremely useful to anyone working with Citrix software. The community aspect ensured that many different types of information and tools were included.
One of the first things I did when I downloaded the Brief Troubleshooting Guide was to begin to slowly create a mindmap based on it. I began building a mind map on the XenApp chapter as a reference document (using MindJet’s Mind Manager). A mind map gives you the ability to build an organizational structure and link to graphics, web sites, videos and other documents. I find mind maps a very effective way to organize information. The combination of the two dimensional structure, additional graphics, color and links to other content often lead me to come up with new perspectives I would never find in a standard linear document. I came up with a few new ideas as I built this mind map as well.
I worked on this side project while on hold for conference calls or sitting in airports. After working on the mind map here and there for several weeks, I decided to add in links to several of the webinars on the Citrix site related to XenApp. Later I added in links to some of the technical videos on the Citrix site. Soon I was adding in links to some of the Citrix presentations I posted on Slide Share. As I did this, I began to wonder how could I take this XenApp mashup mind map I was creating and add in some of the magic of Rick’s Tuning Tips document. I realized the best way to do that was to post the mind map here on the blog and ask for your feedback and help.
I have completed the first draft. Here is a screenshot of the top level structure of the XenApp Troubleshooting Guide mind map –
As you can see, the top level categories are Product Docs, Questions to Ask, Troubleshooting Tools, Relevant Knowledgebase Articles, Videos and Presentations. The first four categories come straight from the BTG. I added in the Videos and Presentations categories.
For the Troubleshooting Tools section, I added in screen shots of several of the tools.
One of the nice features on Mind Manager is you can add in Notes to any object inside the mind map. I did this extensively as I cut and pasted in the content and created links to the web documents referenced in the BTG.
You can download the latest full version of this XenApp Troubleshooting mind map here. You can download a free Mind Manager viewer here. The new browser plugin viewer is available here. You can download a free 30 trial of Mind Manager Pro here.
I hope you find the mind map useful. I greatly appreciate any feedback or any assistance in continuing to build this mind map into the most effective XenApp troubleshooting reference possible. You can post in the comments or email me at citrixblogger @ citrix.com (remove the spaces).
I hope that together we can build this document into a resource that approaches the value of Rick Dehlinger’s original Tuning Tips document.