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One less Portal

Brian Madden reports that CITRIX have demonstrated a web part that provides integration between SharePoint and Presentation Server.  It sounds pretty good:

One of the most exciting things I saw at Citrix iForum Edinburgh this year was a demo of a SharePoint web part from Citrix that will allow a SharePoint site to act as a web interface into Presentation Server farms. (This is called “WISP” for “Web Interface for SharePoint.”) Using WISP will be much simplier than trying to strip down the existing Web Interface to stick into a generic SharePoint HTML web part.

Citrix is making the WISP functionality available as a standard SharePoint web part. WISP will be composed of two pieces:

The first will contain an application area and a session control panel area that will hold the icons for applications that users can click on as well as basic workspace control options (Reconnect all, disconnect all, and logout).

The piece is an extension to the standard Microsoft document library web part. (The document library web part is a web part that displays files and documents stored on a SharePoint server.) Citrix has extended this web part so that it allows documents to be opened in remote Presentation Server sessions instead of on the local client. If the user clicks on a file but they don’t have that application installed on their client, the system will automatically open that file on a remote Presentation Server. (This is basically content redirection via the web client!)

If the user does have the application installed on their client then they can choose whether to open the document locally or remotely.

If you’re using SharePoint Portal Server (the one you have to pay for), then you can even use the Microsoft Single Sign-on Service to associate Citrix credentials with your SharePoint account. This will allow your credentials to be passed through to Citrix automatically for application enumeration and connection.

If you’re using Windows SharePoint Services (the free version of SharePoint) then you can’t use the single sign-on service. However, you can still use integrated authentication for the Citrix web page if you use Citrix Presentation Server’s Kerberos-based authentication.

WISP also lets you “drag and drop” both Presentation Server application icons and content onto your desktop directly from the web portal, and you can double-click on these at any time to launch the appropriate application or content.

One thing that’s interesting about WISP is that it allows the SharePoint server to act as the web interface for Presentation Server. It doesn’t integrate with Citrix’s Web Interface–it replaces Citrix Web Interface. This means that you’ll have .conf configuration files on your SharePoint server and that it will talk directly with the backend Presentation Servers via the XML service. (Of course this is all configured via a standard SharePoint web part configuration widget, so it’s really easy to setup.)

WISP was available for us to play with in the Tech Lab here at iForum. Citrix is planning to release a technology preview of WISP to customers via the mycitrix.com portal in upcoming months.

As of now, WISP requires SharePoint 2003 (either Portal Server or Windows Services versions) and Presentation Server 3 or 4.

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