Update Your ThinApps With AppSync

In this post i will detail how to use the AppSync feature within VMware ThinApp. This is one component of ThinApp that doesn’t appear to get much attention but is quite impressive all the same. AppSync basically allows you to update your ThinApps to a newer version by pre defining an AppSync location within the ThinApp ‘package.ini’ during the build sequence. When you run a ThinApp configured to check for updates, it will go off and query the defined AppSync target and download any updates in the background whilst the current version of the ThinApp is running. On completion, the new version will be available when the ThinApp is next launched. The below steps will detail how to use AppSync with any newly created ThinApps.

Step 1. Create a file repository on either a server or workstation and share this folder for all on your network. I created two shared folders called ‘Apps’ and ‘AppSync’. One for my live applications, and one for the updates.

Step 2. Once you repositories are setup and can be accessed over the network, processed to create a ThinApp capture of the application you want to use. In my case i used Firefox, I created two captures for version 9.0 and version 10. For help on this step see articles:

http://www.802dotwhat.co.uk/an-idiots-guide-to-vmware-thinapp.html

or

http://www.802dotwhat.co.uk/how-to-thinapp-firefox-with-integrated-flash-and-java.html

Step 3. Once you have captured and saved you application, edit the package.ini file before building you ThinApp. Within the package.ini file, uncomment the relevant AppSync parameters for both of your ThinApp applications as shown below:

The key parameter is the ‘AppSyncURL’ entry that’s defined where the ThinApp points to for AppSync updates. To defined a network shares you must enter the path with inverted slashes not commonly used for network paths, for example use file://thinappsrv/AppSync/Firefox.exe opposed to file:\\thinappsrv\AppSync\Firefox.exe. For reference on all of these parameters, see http://www.vmware.com/pdf/thinapp47_packageini_reference.pdf for further information.

Stepm 4. Once you have built your ThinApps, place the most recent version into the file location the ThinApps are pointing to for AppSync updates. In my case i will place Firefox version 10 in this folder, followed by placing Firefox version 9 in the Apps folder where users will access the app from. On running the older version of your application, you will be able to  witness the AppSync updates being pulled over the network to the application folder.

To see this process in action please view the below video as it illustrates in detail how to setup your AppSync environment after building your ThinApps.

Thanks for reading this post and lookout for future ThinApp articles.

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