On May 5th, Citrix released Receiver for iPhone 1.0 at Synergy in Las Vegas. Receiver for iPhone is a wonderful testament to the HDX experience we’re moving towards. The engineering team involved (winks and nods to Steve Parry, Gus Pinto, Ruiguo Yang, et al) graciously accepted a literal barrage of feedback, input, direction changes, and general user griping about usability for this app. The result is a testament to what’s possible when you consider the form factor when porting software to different OS’s and adjust to suit. In that same vain, and in conjunction with the Receiver for iPhone, Citrix also released two features called Doc Finder and App Viewer.

Doc Finder

Doc Finder is kind of like a mini- Windows Explorer. It’s built for the small form factor (SFF)(mainly the iPhone at this time) and it let’s users traverse folders and files easily. The assumption is that the user of an SFF device wants to start with finding a file and then open the associated application from there. I love this feature because it saves me time. Rather than opening Word, for example, and then clicking the File button, then open, then zooming in and out and panning and using the native file dialogue in Word to find my file and open it, I just use Doc Finder which saves me about 20 taps. One of the other cool things is it looks like a native iPhone app that is installed locally but it is a Windows application published and running on XenApp. What’s more, it respects GPO’s already in place so you can hide server drives and specific folders from users just as you normally would from the full blown Windows Explorer.

App Viewer

In addition to Doc Finder is another really cool feature called App Viewer. The idea behind App Viewer is simple – make the browser invisible. Contrary to what you might think, many, many customers publish web applications for delivery via XenApp. There are a number of reasons for this but that’s another blog post. In any case, publishing web apps to small form factor devices like the iPhone wastes a lot of precious real-estate for browser controls and fields that are built for PC’s. For example, a user of a published web app from the iPhone doesn’t need the URL bar or the window title bar of Internet Explorer… they just need the page. Plus, if you’ve created a lightweight page for the web app that is customized for SFF users, they probably don’t even need scroll bars. This is where app viewer comes in. It’s just a web browser with no controls, fields, buttons, scroll bars, etc. To help you understand it more, think about it this way. There are a lot of apps on the iPhone that are actually web pages. They use the Safari browser but it is invisible. Bank of America is one such application. It’s a web page but you wouldn’t know because of the way it’s presented to you. App Viewer makes this possible for applications that are hosted on XenApp. Essentially, App Viewer preserves the experience that users are already familiar with when they access locally installed web apps on their iPhone. Even better is that App Viewer can be used to deliver hosted web applications running on XenApp to Windows Mobile devices as well. In fact, you can use it with any form factor. It’s completely configurable. All you need to do is make sure you have an appropriate application interface for the form factors you want to support.

Xcelsius Dashboard on iPhone

using App Viewer (320×480)

Xcelsius Dashboard on Windows Mobile

using App Viewer (480×800)

I’m tellin’ ya, the engineering guys that worked on this did a great job thinking outside of the box. If you want to check these features out, visit citrix.com/iPhone for more information.