Thinapp 4.0: Application virtualization

I regularly need to administer EMC Clariion SANs for which Java JRE 1.4 is needed. Unfortunately some other websites/applications need a more recent Java version. Before I used a separate VM with an XP and Java 1.4 installed on it to administering clariions. This is some serious overkill and I was looking for a better solution. VMware released Thinapp 4.0, time to see if this is a better solution.

The Thinapp welcome screen.

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Some info on how to use Thinapp. Make sure to always run it on a clean PC so you’re sure that you include all necessary files in your package. Under advanced settings you can select which drives you want to scan during the prescan.

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Before installing the application Thinapp needs to scan your system to take a baseline snapshot.

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The prescan is finished. Time to install and configure your application.

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Once the application installation is finished, Thinapp does a postcan. It looks for differences on the file system as well as in the registry, all these changes become part of package.

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Select the entry point you want to use.

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Configure the security settings for the package and also the sandbox location. The user’s settings are configured in the sandbox.

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Now it’s time to configure the isolation settings. Merged isolation lets you access the local user settings e.g. Firefox bookmarks. WriteCopy isolation all files are newly created and the application has no access to the local file system.

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Select MSI generation when you want to distribute the package using any software distribution tool.

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Thinapp copies all files and registry settings to the project location.

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The final screen. Here we’re going to browse the project as we have to change some settings in the package.ini file.

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As the Java JRE is packaged separately we have to edit the package.ini file and remove the ; from the OptionalAppLinks line.

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We can now build the Firefox project.

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Repeat the same steps for the Java JRE. Once that’s build create a “plugins” folder in the location of the Thinapped Firefox and copy the Java package to it. When Firefox is executed it will look for any exe file in the plugin folder and will link it.

No need to use a separate VM for administering Clariions anymore.

PS:  Marrs posted an excellent post on the VMware forum on packaging Firefox to run several versions of Java at the same time.

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