Posted tagged ‘Catalog’

Introducing: New Catalog Item Wizard

September 12, 2013

 

If you have ever worked with previous versions of App Portal you know that creating a new Catalog Item can de a daunting task.  If you squint just right you swear that you may be looking at the controls of the International Space Station.  There are just so many text boxes, check boxes, drop downs, gizmos and gadgets that many people just don’t know where to start.  Flexera has recognized this and has introduced a New Catalog Item Wizard in App Portal 2013.

Before we dive into using the wizard, I think it is important that you are introduced to the types of Catalog Items that you can create.  There are three types of Catalog Items you can create in App Portal: Software Catalog Items; General Catalog Items; and Group Catalog Items.  Also, I want to introduce you to Categories.

Software Catalog Items

A Software Catalog Item connects to your deployment system (SCCM or Altiris) and allows you to select any number of deployment types to become available in the App Portal.  The types that are available to a Software Catalog Item are as follows:

  • Applications (SCCM 2012 only)
  • Packages
  • Virtual Applications
  • Task Sequences (SCCM only)
  • Software Products (Altiris only)
  • Policies (Altiris only)

General Catalog Items

This is one of my favorite Catalog Item types.  Why?  Because the limitations of this catalog type is tied to your creativity.  I have seen the General Catalog Item be used for a wide variety of requests.  Some of those include: ordering new hardware; add someone to a group in Active Directory; requesting an application be packaged.  Did any of those catch your attention?  I hope so.

Group Catalog Items

This Catalog Item type is used to group multiple Catalog Items together.  This is a great way to provide a suite of products or bundle sets of Catalog Items together (e.g. Headset request bundled with Microsoft Lync).

Catalog Categories

Each Catalog Item is assigned to at least one Category.  Think of Categories sort of like folders.  You could create a simple Category structure (e.g. Hardware, Software), publisher based (e.g. Flexera, Microsoft, Adobe), or role based (e.g. Marketing, Engineering, Sales).  There isn’t a limitation on the way you create your Category structure, these are just a few examples.  A Catalog Item can belong to more than one category.  This is especially useful if you implement a role-based structure.

Creating a Category

Let’s try and make a few categories.  I will add the following categories for now: Software; General; Task Sequences.  Under Software I will create three additional Categories: Applications; Packages; Software Suites.  Under Task Sequences I will create two Categories: Operating Systems; Non-OS Task Sequences.  Under General I will create two Categories: Hardware; Other.  This will give me a good framework to demonstrate other features down the road.  When we are finished, my Category structure will look like the image below.

To create our first Category we need to be on the Admin tab of the App Portal Website.  Once there we should have the Site Management section expanded.

  • Expand Categories and select Catalog Categories.
  • Click the Add Category button in the right-hand pane.

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  • Enter the Category name in the provided field (e.g. General) and then click the Add button.  Repeat this until you have each of the root level Categories: Software; General; Task Sequences.  Once finished, click off of the New Category Name window.  Your layout should look similar to the image below.

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  • Now we are ready to add our sub-categories.  Let’s start with the General Category.  Select the General Category and then click the Add Category button.  Enter the Category name (e.g. Hardware) and then press the Add button.  Repeat this for each root level category until you have added all of the sub-Categories that we are creating.  Now we should have a Category list similar to the following image.

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Now that we’ve created our hierarchy for Categories let’s add a Catalog Item to the App Portal.

Creating a Catalog Item

Now we are ready to use the wizard to create a new Catalog Item.  For this example, I have chosen to create a Software Catalog Item for an SCCM 2012 Application.

  • Connect to the App Portal website and ensure you are on the Admin tab.
  • Under Catalog Management, choose the New Catalog Item Wizard.   This will launch the New Catalog Item Wizard.

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  • For this example, I will select Software Catalog Item as I plan to add an SCCM package to the App Portal.  Click Next to continue.
  • Now, because I am using SCCM 2012 as my deployment technology, I am prompted with a question asking if I plan to publish an Application or a Package into the App Portal.  If you are using SCCM 2007 or Altiris, you will not get this screen.  I will select Package and then click Next.

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  • I will need to locate my package on the next screen.  Take note that only the first 100 packages are displayed in the list.  Use the column filters to locate the package you are looking for.  I will be publishing a Microsoft Corporation package, so I will use the Manufacturer filter and search for Microsoft.  Once I’ve found the Package I wish to publish, I will select it and then click Next.

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  • Now I need to give my Catalog Item a Title, select a Category (or multiple Categories), enter Descriptions, select a Template if I want (we will review these later), and enter additional Keywords.  I can also select an image icon that will be present with the Catalog Item when it is published in the App Portal.  Once I’ve done all of that I will click Next.

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  • Now I am ready to select my deployment settings.  There are a lot of options here.  Use your corporate deployment standards to determine what options to select.  Once you are complete, click Next.

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  • Review your settings and then click Create.  You will receive a Results Summary popup window giving you the status of your publication.  Notice the Load advanced view after creating the catalog item?  That will launch the details window/screens that legacy App Portal users are accustomed to.

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Do you feel confident in creating a few Categories and Catalog Items?  Give it a try.  Have you tried the other Catalog Types?  Don’t wait for me to show you, jump in there and see what you can come up with.  Try to come up with a great use of the General Catalog Item that I didn’t list in this post.  I love to hear about new uses of the General Catalog Item, so please share!

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