About two and a half years ago — yes, it’s been that long — we brought you a new StoreFront platform, which featured something we’ve branded as X1. In case you hadn’t realised it, that stands for Experience First.
One of the objectives we had [with StoreFront 3] was to enable organisations to bring a personalised and adaptive portal to their end-users to improve the overall experience. Back then, Richard Clayton wrote a number of articles about the new architecture (Welcome to Receiver X1) and its possibilities.
Conceptually, StoreFront is built up in three separate layers: an engine, a business logic layer, and a customisation layer. Citrix provides the engine and with every version we update that layer, independent of the others. With the customisation, layer you can brand the portal with your look and feel, but the business logic layer is what’s really interesting.
With the business logic layer, customers can alter the behaviour of the portal and, as such, create their own solutions to accommodate the needs of your users. And that’s exactly what Rody Kossen — Senior System Engineer at AWL Techniek — did: build a solution to enhance the experience of its users. I’ve asked Rody to share this with you, so we could all benefit, and he kindly agreed.
In an environment where a single desktop can’t fulfil every solution, it is inevitable to present a variety of desktops to end-users. And with specialised hardware and software configurations, limited resources are a given.
So, instead of just showing an enumeration of available resources, Rody felt there was an opportunity to improve the experience of his colleagues. Not knowing which desktop to use, or is available, is sub-optimal and reduces productivity.
With that in mind, Rody and his colleague Leon Koppel built a customisation layer that reads the state of the resources presented to the end-user. If a desktop is under maintenance, inform the user so he knows before he tries to access the resource. They even built a solution to push message to the end-user using SignalR!
Now how did they achieve that?
First of all, a business logic layer is added to StoreFront, so the state of the resource is read and then presented to the user. The end result is what you see in the images above (quite awesome, if you ask me). The second part is an active component that lives at the XenDesktop Delivery Controller, which is used by StoreFront to provide the information about the resources. It mainly uses the default oData provider and uses access to the database for enhanced information. You can access the full code on GitHub:
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All I can do know is recommend you to give a try and say thank you to @R_Kossen and share. Share this article with your peers but please, share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below. Got a great idea? I’m happy to write a part #2.
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