One of the nice things about being a Product Manager is that people are ALWAYS asking you for really good stuff and telling you exciting ideas as to how you could improve the products!

At Synergy in May 2014, I was chased around the conference by CTPs (Citrix Technology Professionals) Dane Young and Thomas Popplegaard asking for support for full screen applications. This has been a limitation in the past that full screen apps only work when the resolution of the application matches that of the session. Users would unexpectedly receive the error message “Full Screen Applications are not supported in Citrix HDX 3D Pro. Press Ok to exit.”.

It’s possible to work around this in many ways, Citrix guru, Floris Van Der Ploeg, has written about how to do this in many ways. There are numerous applications like this and they have to be configured in a multitude of esoteric ways as there seem to be few standards used for app configuration by ISVs. However speaking to Thomas and Dane, I appreciated how annoying and fiddly it could be to do this. So when I got back from Synergy I asked the HDX engineering team what they thought – and they agreed! Working with the CTPs they designed a new way to handle these applications automatically. The CTPs also got the opportunity to provide feedback on the solution the engineering team designed.

Now, you remember this started in May 2014, by then the Citrix XenDesktop 7.6 development and test cycle was in a very advanced and a lot of the project and test planning defined. Evaluating a new feature and taking it through the full rigorous design concept and review process at this stage is not easy. In this case the engineering team were very keen to deliver and managed to find the time to squeeze this new functionality in.

Development is only one part of the task though, we know our customers, own staff and engineers expect features to be production ready and fully tested in all use cases. This feature although it sounds small is very expensive time and headcount wise to put through our Quality Assurance (QA) processes, simply because it requires us to test a vast range of applications that our customers would expect to use, as well as a multitude of receivers and end-points (multi-monitor setups, mobile devices, workstations). As such it was not possible to undertake the full QA process demanded by our quality exit criteria for the XenDesktop 7.6 release e.g. testing on some applications was limited to single monitor configurations.

What we decided to do was release the feature as an experimental feature with the intention of putting it through full QA in a later test cycle and to allow our partners, CTPs and customers with test farms to try it with their specific apps.

So please do go and try it out and let us know what you think and if you find any issues with specific applications let us know on this forum thread. This functionality has been added to the HDX 3D Pro VDA so you will need to be using that to access it (i.e this is available for XenDesktop users).

Update: It has been brought to my attention that I should have emphasised that this support is initially for NVIDIA GPUs only as of the date of this article.

How to enable experimental support for Full Screen Apps

All you need to do to try the feature is set the following registry key:

  • [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Citrix\HDX3D\BitmapRemotingConfig] “HKLM_EnableFSA”=dword:00000001

So it just goes to show that if you do raise a good idea with Citrix and a Product Manager, we do our best to adapt our engineering plans and we actually do love listening to our customers!

Dane and Thomas hold a senior HDX engineer “hostage” in their quest for Full Screen Apps – Synergy 2014

The above blog post covers a product configuration or procedure which Citrix does not currently offer support for.  Use of this configuration should only be used in a lab or test environment and not with production deployments.  The author is actively seeking feedback on the potential of implementing support for this configuration, but the form any level of support takes has yet to be determined