Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop users have survived many iterations of Citrix client software. From the original ICA Client all the way to Citrix Receiver, this little piece of client software has made a major difference in the user experience over the years. Some versions of the Citrix client were more painful than others (remember trying to automate the upgrade from v3.4?), and some features that we found useful were deprecated (remember being able to right-click the Citrix icon in the taskbar and see all your apps?), but most would agree that the demise of the teal bubbles is most welcomed.

While the major announcement at Citrix Synergy was the introduction of Workspace Services, Citrix also announced Receiver X1. Because Receiver X1 is based on HTML5, the same user experience can be replicated across a variety of devices, and the administrator governs that user experience. Receiver X1 accesses Citrix resources by means of StoreFront. This HTML5-based solution allows resource bundling, branding, and overall customization such that users will find it fast and easy to access their Citrix resources. X1 signifies “experience first.” Quite fitting!

The resource bundling feature is a marvelous step forward from the haphazard display of myriad apps all over the screen or the use folders. How many users ever took the time to organize their apps and other resources within the sea of ugly teal bubbles? Folders were moderately functional, but let’s face it, not very appealing. Users would sometimes lose a seldom-accessed app because it was hidden in a folder. Thumbs up for fewer frustrated users and fewer service desk calls with Receiver X1.

This customization is most welcomed for enterprises, and service providers no doubt will be even more delighted about this functionality. Enterprises want the presentation of resources to gel with the corporate culture. Fitting in with the look and feel of the business has been difficult until now, especially for those organizations that are migrating away from a well-customized web interface site. After all, apps and desktops are a critical aspect of the business, and the average IT department just hasn’t spent a lot of time wading through the few customizations that are available within StoreFront in order to appease the marketing folks.

Service providers want their name and logo in front of their clients at every opportunity, and the clean look and feel will propel these providers to a new level. Because service providers combine myriad technologies and services as part of their offerings, having the ability to easily and stylishly brand the only piece of the service provider “product” that most users see will be well received.

For a few years, the predecessor to Receiver X1 was called Dazzle; if you look in the registry on your computer, you can still find references to Dazzle. When Dazzle was announced in 2009, there were a few oooohs and ahhhhs from the audience, and it’s taken Citrix five years to mature the user interface. They finally got it right, and it dazzles. Goodbye to the teal bubbles!

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Jo Harder (26 Posts)

Jo Harder has been involved with virtualization for over 15 years, long before virtualization was the norm. After holding several sales and marketing positions, she started down the path of bits and bytes while at AT&T/Lucent Technologies. She then moved onto Citrix in 1999, where she became a Senior Architect. Her 11-year tenure included a combination of Citrix Consulting and Technical Readiness roles. After leaving Citrix, Jo provided consulting services for various clients for the next year. In her current role at a hosting provider, she is focused on cloud-based solutions for financial industry clients.

Jo's diverse background of sales, marketing, management, and architectural/technical expertise brings a unique perspective to Virtualization Practice. She welcomes input from vendors, industry contacts, and end users and can be reached at joharder@virtualizationpractice.com.

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