First look at the rapidly evolving ZENworks User Application

First look at the rapidly evolving ZENworks User Application

As some of you may be aware, in ZENworks 2016 we are doing a major overhaul of the end user interface for the ZENworks desktop experience for Windows and OS-X. We are basically building a new application to replace the ZENworks Application Launcher and surface other important user driven capabilities. This is the first in what I am sure will be a series of blogs about where we are going with this. My goal is to provide periodic updates and get feedback. As we start to get working code, I also suspect I’ll be putting together a few small focus groups via GoToMeeting to get some rapid feedback. In the meantime, I encourage you to submit your comments about the new design.

In this post I want to show you the new experience for when a user chooses to install an application. That starts with the user at the new and improved ZENworks User Application (the replacement for the ZENworks Application Launcher) as shown below:

InitialInstallSelect

The user can either double click the application or can right-click the application and click Install. This will begin to transact the bundle. I’m sure most of you are familiar with that experience, but following new metaphors common in the mobile world, we’ve decided to overhaul things a bit as you can see from the next picture:

SingleInstallProgress

Here you can see the progress bar overlaid on the icon, indicating that application is being installed. If multiple apps are being installed at the same time it would look like this:

MultipleInstall

Additionally, if a user wants a more comprehensive look at what’s going on they can choose to view the Installation status from the hamburger menu, which will result in something that looks like this:

MultipleWithInstallationStatus

From here the user can easily cancel an update, view errors that occurred, suspend a distribution and more. Keep in mind that the branding you see is the default branding, but we anticipate you'll be able to change almost all of the branding including the title bar, icon, colors – basically everything except the About box in the help screen. You’ll also notice few other things like a global search to help users find their applications, and we plan new capabilities such as favoriting and both end user and administrator tagging of applications.

What do you think? Does this feel like ZENworks for 2016? We want to hear your thoughts so we can make sure we are moving down the right path. Expect to start to get your hands dirty with this as we rev the ZENworks 2016 Preview late this year. Don’t forget to register for access to the ZENworks 2016 Preview program here.
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Love the new look; what I would be looking in a new Application Launcher is:

* Keep Application Laucher (NAL) and bundles functional while upgrading the ZCMagent
https://ideas.microfocus.com/MFI/novell-zcm/Idea/Detail/1211

* Application Launcher/ZCMagent Localisation. User thinks: if it looks like Windows it is Windows:)
https://ideas.microfocus.com/MFI/novell-zcm/Idea/Detail/1077

* Allow Application Request user Self Service for ad hoc application installation
https://ideas.microfocus.com/MFI/novell-zcm/Idea/Detail/1212
Will there be folders available to use?
Definitely. We're building this out incrementally, so initially for Preview 2 there may not be folders, but they'll come in in Preview 3. We will also provide both admin and end user tagging and the option to folder based on those tags so that its easier to find stuff.
Great ideas! The localization side of this may not be available initially. One question I have is if we provided an easy way for you to provide your own translations for languages would that be something you'd be willing to invest time in and possibly contribute back to the community to provide the agent in a more localized fashion?

On the keeping NAL functional while the agent is being upgraded that one's a little more difficult, because many times a bundle launch may do more than just launching an executable, it might have to run a full launch action set which Windows doesn't know how to do. We'll have to see what's possible.

Finally on the final one, look for an article soon on the new Application Store functionality we are going to be introducing with the Service Desk product in the "Redwood" release late this year or early next. That's the start of where we are going and then as we built out this next generation interface we'll integrate those two much more tightly.
I can do the Dutch localisation myself and for you, no problem. I've done that for the iPrint client too.

Regarding the NAL functioning while upgrading: it is just for -launching- applications like GroupWise, Office. So no fancy stuff needed here:)
What we most often do as part of putting the ZCM application object in the Start menu/NAL is remove the default application objects the installer had put in so we force users to use the ZCM objects. Of course those get unusable at the point of upgrade. To continue the user expirience the same way, I would unload the NAL on upgrade and put up a 'Simple NAL' at this point that just contains application links (Windows .lnk files) to start those applications. Same for the start menu, we have to create a folder structure with those .lnk files for the user to be able to start the applications. Result is for the user teh folder may look different, but has the same name with (near) the same applications.
We could show a short message in the NAL, like 'an upgrade is in progress and the NAL function is limited at this point'.
Did some test and I think what would work is:
My NAL/Start Menu structure for applications could be like
* General (For like Office, Mail, Explorer and Browser links)
* Support (For support and ICT applications)
* Install (For installations)

For the applications I have decided that still need to be available for the user while teh ZCM agent is running I/ZCM has to create Windows shorcuts (.lnk).
We could pu these in \SimpleNAL, so the structure would be like
\SimpleNAL\General (contianing .lnk files to Office, LibreOffice, IE, FireFox, etc
\SimpleNAL\Support (contianing .lnk files to my ict and support applications)
\SimpleNAL\.... (as 'Install' needs ZCM bundle complexity these are not available at this point)

Now just before the ZCMagent upgrade starts a Simple NAL is launched (which could basicly to Explorer window opening \SimpleNAL\) and the beneath folder structure with links is visible to the user. Also we could (optionally) copy/link \SimpleNAL\* entries to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\.
After the ZCMagent upgrade we remove the copied/linked enties to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\ and unload the SimpleNAL window. After this the normal ZCMagent bundles popup in the Start Menu and the Application Lauched is loaded.

The Folder objects in \SimpleNAL\ need to have the same icon as the normal ZCM folders so users do recognize those (point to .ico file).
Think ZEUS would need to provide this capability. If it as a start would be able to provide starting/stopping the Simple NAL concept (application browser if you like) from the path \SimpleNAL\
That would not need any enhancements to exiting bundle capabilities in ZCC as we can use exiting Office/GroupWise/ etc install bundles to put in a .lnk file in \SimpleNAL\General as part if the deployment to a device.
ZEUS would need and SimpleNAL.exe only showing the \SimpleNAL\ structure like the ZCMAgent NAL does.
Hi Jason,

First off, this looks great and is reminiscent of an older "web based" view of apps in a portal frame or applet way back in the Novell Innerweb days. Anyway, will there be a way for us to continue that thought to connect via an API to an intranet or WIKI dashboard like Confluence?

Keep up the great progress!

PS - Would love to hear about ZAM futures too. We're a global company considering the ZEN suite.
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