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Unattended installation of Citrix Web Interface

What is Web Interface and why to use it?

Web Interface is a free add-on on Citrix Presentation Server provided by Citrix itself. With the Web Interface the users are using a web browser to connect to the applications. Web Interface provides a web page where the available applications are showed after authentication. After selecting the application the local installed Citrix client will start the session.

Web Interface has several advantages in comparison with traditional clients. One of the biggest advantages is the centralized configuration. Changes in your Citrix infrastructure are done in a few mouse clicks on the Web Interface servers in stead of propagating changes to all your clients. Also some new features like Workspace control are only available when using the Web Interface in combination with the latest Presentation Server version. Because the user can download a Citrix client from the Web Interface sites users can use every workstation to use their applications. In the current version users can also change the presentation of the applications and connected local resources.

Also when you would like to allow connecting to application out of the internet with Citrix Secure Gateway also Web Interface is needed.




 

Enough reason to deploy Web Interface in your infrastructure. Depending on the usage statistics, load balancing and/or fault tolerance more Web Interface server can be deployed and unattended installation comes along. Just like the article series about Unattended Citrix installation this articles described how to install and configure Web Interface for Microsoft Windows unattended.

Prerequisites

To install Web Interface on your web server some additional software is required before you can install Web Interface. First you need to have the following Microsoft components: Internet Information Server 5 SP4 or higher with ASP.Net enabled.

Besides these Microsoft components Visual J# .Net is required and is provided by Citrix in the support folder. With MPS3 it is delivered as a MSI file (on the CPS4 CD it is replaced by an executable).
The MSI file is ideal for a silent installation using the MSIEXEC command. If necessary you can also change the installation location, but in the following example we are using the default installation locations.

Although I still do not understand the necessity also the Citrix Access Suite Console is required on the server.

The Access Suite console is also delivered by Citrix as a MSI file, so we can use the MSIEXEC command to install this software part unattended.

If you are installing Web Interface 4.2 a hot-fix is required for the Access Suite Console. This patch ASC400W004.msp can be found at Citrix Supportsite. The patch is provided as a MSP file, which can also be launched silent using the MSIExec command.

 msiexec /i "%SOURCELOCATION%\JSHARP\jsredist.msi" /QB-! /liewa "%SOURCELOCATION%\LOG\jsharp.install.log"
msiexec /i "%SOURCELOCATION%\CTXADM\CitrixMMC.msi" /QB-! /liewa "%LOGFILE%.log"
msiexec /update “%SOURCELOCATION%\CTXPatch\ASC400W004.msp”/QB-! /liewa "%SOURCELOCATION%\LOG\asc400w004_install.log"
 

 

Figure 1: Example of unattended installation of the Prerequisites.

Install Web Interface unattended

At the moment of writing Web Interface 4.2 is the latest version, which can be downloaded from MyCitrix.com. In contrast to most other Citrix installations Web Interface is not provided as an MSI file, fortunate silent installation functionality is provided by Citrix.

Therefore unpack the downloaded executable (rename the file to a ZIP format). In the unpacked structure a WebInterfaceSetup.exe can be found. This executable can be started with parameters for unattended installation.

With Web Interface 4 and Presentation Server 4 you have two options to store your Web Interface configuration. Local on the web server or central stored in the Citrix Datastore.

Local Configuration

The local configuration is the old-style already known from earlier Web Interfaces. All configuration settings are stored in a file within the Web Interface directory. If you choose this solution the following parameters are applicable.

-NOASC
This parameter bypasses the check if the Access Suite Console is installed. I never tested if Web Interface than functions complete without the console installed.

-P
Specifies the destination installation directory where the management part and language packs are installed.

-Q
 This parameter specifies that the installation will be done silently.

-G <logpath>
If you would like to log the installation (I can really advise this for troubleshooting purposes) and where the log file should be created.

- C <sitedef>
This parameter specifies to install a new site on the web server. Use this parameter is Web Interface is not available on the target server. If you would like to add sites on a current Web Interface server use –M parameter. The <sitedef> settings are explained below.

Within the <sitedef> you need to specify how to Web Interface needs to be configured. If no Web Interface of PNA is configured you need to use the <TYPE>Dest parameter. There are also possibilities to change settings with the parameter <TYPE>Current, but I’m not going to discuss this parameter in this article.

The <TYPE> part needs be changed by WI for the installation of the Web Interface part or PNA for the PN Agent part. This parameter needs to be followed by the website identifier you like to install the product on. The identifier will be shown if you open Internet Information Services Console add clicks website. All websites with are shown in the right pane with the identifier name besides. Beside the identifier you also need to specify in which (virtual) directory the software need to be placed.

Beside the <TYPE>Dest for a local configuration you need to specify the parameter Config with the value “local” (obvious isn’t it). To connect the Web Interface to a Citrix environment you also need to specify the name of the farm of the farm using the FarmName parameter, with which protocol the communication with the XML services is taking place (HTTP,HTTPS,SSL) via XMLSPortocol parameter and at the XMLService parameter one server name and the XML port. If needed you can specify the Web Interface component should be the default site on the server with the parameter WIDefaultSite. Combining your unattended installation can look like this.

WebInterfaceSetup.exe -noasc -p "D:\Apps\WI" -q -g "%TEMP%\WI_INSTALL.LOG" -c WIDest=1:/Citrix/Metaframe,PNADest=1:/Citrix/PNAgent,FarmName=VanBragtFarm,Config=Local,XMLService=TS1:80,WIDefaultSite=Yes" 

Figure 2: Example script unattended installation with local configuration

After the installation you have a basic configured Web Interface server available. Still in all (current) Web Interface versions all settings are stored in files. For the Web Interface itself in webinterface.conf and for the PN Agent in config.xml. You can create your own configuration on one machine and just copy that configuration (from a central location to your other servers). Or you could create a template webinterface.conf/config.xml and fill that one with specified parameters if you have some more experiences with scripting.

Remember that if you change or add images to copy those also. Citrix stores their image into %systemroot%\Inetpub\<website>\citrix\metaframe\media, but they can be stored everywhere. I normally create a new directory in this media folder called customization.

Central Configuration

New within Web Interface 4 and Presentation Server 4 is the possibility to store the Web Interface configuration in the data store of the Presentation Server. This central configuration will be read out by the Web Interface servers you configure in the same group.

The basic parameters are the same as described at the local configuration. Only at the <TYPE>Dest other parameters are required.

At the Config parameter one or more Presentations servers needs be filled in together with their port number. Optional again the WIDefaultSite can be added, no other parameters are needed.

 WebInterfaceSetup.exe -noasc -p "D:\Apps\WI" -q -g "%TEMP%\WI_INSTALL.LOG" -c WIDest=1:/Citrix/Metaframe,PNADest=1:/Citrix/PNAgent,Config=TS1:80:TS2:80,WIDefaultSite=Yes"

Figure 3: Example script unattended installation with central configuration

After installation via this script you need to move the site to the group you would like to inherit the settings.

Image
Figure 4: Adding server AS1 to the Group Web Interface VanBragt.Net

Remember that if you specify images standing local on the server that they need to copied to those directories.

Removing and adding languages

In Web Interface 4 it has become much easier to support multi languages using one Web Interface server. Citrix delivers Web Interface default with languages files for English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese.

If you need your first language in the manual of Web Interface you can find how to configure the language files. But for several languages someone did this already and published those to the community. At Brianmadden.com language files for Italian, Dutch, Flemish, Belgian French, Swedish and Norwegian can be found.

Just copy those files into the language directory in the installation directory. If you would like to remove one of the default languages just delete (or even better move it to a backup directory) the <language>.lang file in the languages directory.

 MD D:\Apps\Wi\4.2\languages\Backup
MOVE D:\Apps\Wi\4.2\languages\de.lang D:\Apps\Wi\4.2\languages\Backup
MOVE D:\Apps\Wi\4.2\langauges\es.lang D:\Apps\Wi\42.\languages\Backup
COPY %SOURCELOCATION%\NL_LANG D:\Apps\Wi\4.2\languages

 

 

 

 Figure 5: Remove and adding languages to the Web Interface.

More customization

Within the Access Suite Console you can change the default behaviour of the Web Interface appearance, but lot of administrators one go further than these possibilities. If you would like to know more about this I can really recommend Thomaskoetzing.de and Jasonconger.com.

Image
Figure 6: Customized Web Interface

Conclusion

In this article I explained how you can install Web Interface unattended via the parameters supplied by Citrix including the software prerequisites. Both local configuration as central stored configuration installations are described including basic customization of Web Interface by copying configuration and language files. Also some good resources are mentioned to customize your Web Interface beyond the default possibilities offered by Citrix.

Article previous published at MSTerminalServices.org.