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Launching local apps (App Launcher)

 Table of Contents

 

Introduction

It's possible to launch local applications from your Workspace using the Workspace 365 App Launcher. The App Launcher enables more convenient configuration and management of local applications for admins. This also simplifies the deployment by the created MSI and allows you to set parameters on these applications. Consequently, users can easily start local apps from their Workspace.

In "Launching Local applications" we describe how you can launch local applications with some Windows Registry edits. We make use of the URI handlers within the OS. For the Workspace 365 App Launcher, we make use of the same protocol. But for admins it's much easier to create and deploy these instructions to launch local applications including parameters.

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Requirements

The Workspace 365 App Launcher consists of two files;

  • Workspace 365 App Launcher.msi
  • Intructions.xml

 

Workspace 365 App Launcher.msi

The .msi is handling the commands given from the Workspace. For the Windows App Launcher you need an Windows OS.

The Workspace 365 App Launcher.msi including the Instructions.xml must be deployed on the target client(s). The installation path of the client is:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Workspace 365 App Launcher"

The .msi can be installed silently. You can deploy this via e.g. Intune or any other app deployment application which you are using. 

 

Instruction file (xml)

The instruction file is the file where you configure the local application and optional parameters.

Please make sure that you have deployed the Instruction file in the Workspace 365 App Launcher folder.

The instruction file is written in xml. Each instruction has an "id", a "target"  and optionally "args". 

Field Type Required
id guid Yes
target string Yes
args string Optional

 

 

Activate the app

Go to the App store (or click on "+ Add tiles"). Make sure Manage apps is selected.

manage_apps.PNG

Click on Add new app and add the 'Local app'. Then, select Add.

When all the information has been filled in (app name, instruction id, etc.) and matches with your XML instruction file, click Save. You can then add the tile to your Workspace (Personal or Shared group). 

local_app.PNG

new_local_app.PNG

 

id

The Instruction id is the link between the application and Workspace, and is the GUID configured in the instruction file. This can be a custom GUID and you can generate one yourself.

 

target

You determine which target (application path) you want to start from Workspace. Keep in mind that this is a relative path and needs to be located on the exact same location on each client to which you are deploying the Workspace 365 App Launcher and Instruction file to.

The process we run is x86. For example, when using a system variable like "%ProgramFiles%" for x86 processes, it will point to the "Program Files (x86)" path. If you open it in windows explorer on a x64 OS, it will open the "Program Files" folder.
If you can run the application from the 'Windows Run' command, you should be able to open the local app from your Workspace using the same path. However, is this is not the case and you are not able to run the application with the Local App launcher, "%ProgramW6432%" can be used.

Sysnative is a virtual folder, a special alias, that can be used to access the 64-bit System32 folder from a 32-bit application or script. For example, if you want to specify the target folder from a 32-bit application such as Snipping tool, the target would be:

<Instruction id="53ccf473-4c3d-56cd-1020-cd96693c563k" target="C:\Windows\Sysnative\SnippingTool.exe" />

Other target examples are:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<Instructions>
<Instruction id="b9faf4fa-c260-423c-8713-1ceff5870c1f" target="%windir%\system32\calc.exe" />
<Instruction id="6060d3d9-e01f-4caa-b2ac-891c3efd3f14" target="%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office11\Excel.exe" />
<Instruction id="2e1f829a-fa00-4456-909e-4f7759c718c2" target="%windir%\Explorer.exe" args="/root,&quot;%UserProfile%&quot;" />
</Instructions>

 

Working directory

In the newest version of the Local App Launcher (V1.2), a new configuration option is added, called “workingdirectory”. This is similar to the 'target'. But instead of launching applications in the "C:\Windows\system32" folder, it launches with the user profile, e.g. "C:\Users\JohnDoe". Some applications try to access the current directory. However, not all users had access to the system32 folder and as a consequence, local applications could not be opened. 

<Instruction id="75f51d21-11b2-4cdc-83a7-b5c911f5d69a" target="D:\Deleteme\ShowCurrentFolder.bat" workingdirectory=%userprofile%/>

 

args

We can add arguments (parameters) to a target. For example, if you would like to start Windows Explorer with a certain folder/mapping, you can do the following:

<Instruction id="2e1f829a-fa00-4456-909e-4f7759c718c2" target="%windir%\Explorer.exe" args="/root,&quot;C:\Workspace 365 Support&quot;" />

This will start Windows Explorer with the C:\Workspace 365 Support folder.

Please note that you need to precisely configure the arguments. As you see in the example above, you need to place quotes, because the path contains spaces. But we only support xml encoded args.

"C:\Workspace 365 Support" 

Will become;

&quot;C:\Workspace 365 Support&quot;

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