XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 marks the eighth release over two years of our market-leading application and desktop publishing solution on the unified FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA).

The single codebase for XenApp and XenDesktop enables deploying in the cloud, on-premises or in hybrid environments with remarkable consistency and ease of use.

At Citrix we are steadfast in delivering an outstanding experience — to end users and IT administrators. This isn’t achievable without continuous feedback from customers about the features they love and value … including features from our popular XenApp 6.5 that we’ve redesigned, improved and incorporated into the FMA Platform (7.x).

The XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8 release is the latest drop of new functionality and improvements originating from a number of Design Workshops and Research Sessions with customers that helped us to formulate the following guiding principles:

  • Emphasize Application Publishing while keeping Desktop Publishing essentially as it is today
  • Simplify by making new functionality available in the right place
  • Minimize the amount of unnecessary change

Let’s focus on the Application and Desktop Publishing improvements that we have made to Citrix Studio in this release.

New “Applications” Node

When you fire up Citrix Studio for the first time, you will notice some new nodes in the MMC tree; in particular, the new “Applications” node.

Applications Node in Citrix Studio - XenApp & XenDesktop 7.8

The Applications node is where to go for the publishing of applications.

It puts application publishing front-and-center in the XenApp and XenDesktop admin console. This node was previously hidden away as a tab on the Delivery Groups node.

Improved Create Delivery Group Wizard

One of the questions that a customer asked us was:

Why do I need to specify the type of a delivery group when it is created?

We thought about it and have responded by allowing delivery groups to contain all compatible applications and desktops. This means that the Delivery Type page of the Create Delivery Group wizard is gone – a nice simplification!

The Applications page has also been improved as you can see in the before- and after- screenshots below.

Applications page in Citrix Studio - 7.7

Applications page in Citrix Studio - 7.8

In 7.7, the Applications page would initially search for applications that are available from the start menu of a powered-on machine. In 7.8, the new “Add…” button allows applications to be selected from multiple sources.

The Applications page displays a results view of the applications that have been added from each source. The “Existing…” option allows applications that are already published using another Delivery Group to be selected more easily.

Next up is the new “Desktops” page. So, what *is* a desktop anyway? Technically, a desktop is either an entitlement or assignment policy rule. Administrators tend to think of desktops as the icons that a user clicks in StoreFront and Receiver to launch a desktop session. In 7.7, a single default desktop was created for each Delivery Group whereas in 7.8, either 0, 1 or more desktops can be created for each Delivery Group.

Add Desktop Page in Citrix Studio - XenApp & XenDesktop 7.8

The Desktops page follows the same pattern as the Applications page by displaying a results view of the desktops that have been created. The Add Desktop page is used to add a new desktop to a delivery group. It is now easier to see what is displayed to a user in StoreFront and Receiver and desktops can also be restricted to groups of users, as a further restriction on the users of the delivery group.

Finally there’s the Summary page … and that’s it! The StoreFront page has moved from the Create Delivery Group wizard to the Edit Delivery Group properties.

Better Tagging Experience

Tags can be used to group together applications and other objects in order to identify them more easily using the Search node. The tagging experience has been given a rethink in 7.8. Let’s take a look at those before- and after- screenshots.

Tagging Applications in Citrix Studio - XenApp & XenDesktop 7.7

Tagging Applications in Citrix Studio - XenApp & XenDesktop 7.8

Hopefully, you can see that there have been a few changes. 🙂

If you have any questions about the application and desktop publishing changes in XenApp and XenDesktop 7.8, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Thank you to all of the customers that have participated in our design workshops and research sessions on improving — and raising the bar — on application and desktop publishing. Much more to follow!

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