On November 13th 2020, we announced the acquisition of AppAvail, a best-in-class application packaging and testing automation solution that enables non-technical product owners, developers, operations, and other team members to package and test their applications using self-service, making it a significantly faster, more reliable, and more cost-effective alternative to traditional tools. The new Juriba Dashworks Application Manager brings a tremendous amount of value-add, so I will highlight some of my favorite features to give you a glimpse of the power under the hood of our new automated packaging and smoke testing solution.
1. Integration With Dashworks
It is very hard to distinguish yourself in the application packaging and testing market. For the past 20-something years or so, nothing has changed much. And even with vendors presently racing to get MSIX and app attach packaging and testing figured out, there isn’t much of a distinguishing factor. But now that's changed!
Because of its unique deep integration into the Juriba Dashworks platform, Juriba Dashworks Application Manager immediately offers a unique value proposition to its customers as application discovery, packaging, testing, and release now become an integral and automated part of your overall digital transformation journey. This means that a bulk test of hundreds of apps can be run and the users dependent upon those successfully tested apps will immediately be switched to “green”, Juriba’s signal for being able to move forward. This is just one way to use this, but it nicely illustrates the power behind this integration.
2. Automated Application Discovery
Traditionally, a lengthy and costly process due to the number of manual interactions involved, discovery can now happen within minutes. Juriba Dashworks Application Manager automatically captures videos of the install, records keystrokes and user interaction, and/or allows product owners to upload the installation documentation. This way, an application owner can simply kick-off discovery themselves using self-service, install the app, and our solution will automatically handle the capture and documentation process.
3. Automated Evergreen Smoke Testing
Automated smoke testing is an essential part of successfully managing your Evergreen IT because you are constantly testing and re-testing applications against the latest operating system. With Juriba Dashworks Application Manager, you can run hundreds of applications through smoke testing within minutes to test against multiple different versions of the image that you might want to support. Our solution will automatically install, launch, close, and uninstall the application to make sure it passes the non-functional testing as expected.
4. Automated Functional Testing
Automated launch and load testing is only the beginning. If you need more advanced testing, Juriba Dashworks Application Manager has a neat functional test script capability that allows you to capture a functional test and then replay that script within a smoke test every time you want to run it. In other words, you save a lot of time and resources by creating a functional test script once and re-using it over and over to test your applications against new operating system versions, new patches, or other changes in your environment.
5. Automated Packaging Engine
Our new Dashworks Application Manager also includes an automated packaging engine that allows non-technical users to easily package applications in four modern app packaging formats: MSI, App-V, MSIX, and .intunewin (the new format for Intune).
We decided to include .intunewin as well (despite other application packaging tool providers’ sole focus on MSIX and app attach moving forward) because a lot of organizations are moving to Intune at the moment but are being held up as they run into issues while trying to convert their applications into MSIX. Since .intunewin is basically a wrapper on an MSI or an App-V, it is much more likely to work and therefore enable more migrations.
6. Ability To Automatically Apply Organization-Specific Package Settings and Standards
Since the vast majority of application packaging and testing will be handled by the application owners and not IT-internal teams, you will need to ensure that organization-specific standards, such as package naming, security settings, permissions, and registry keys, are met every time in a consistent fashion.
7. Ability To Manage Manual User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
Much of the traditional packaging and testing process is actually a constant back and forth between the application owners and the team member that is currently working on the package. Since Juriba Dashworks Application Manager not only becomes an integral part of the overall Dashworks-driven migration process but also automates as much of the end-to-end process as possible, managing manual UAT as part of that process is crucial.
Once that application is packaged, the application owner automatically receives an email with a link to the virtual machine, including login information, asking them to perform a manual test. Everything is automatically preloaded and broken down cleanly after the test. The test is, of course, recorded and gets attached to the application documentation. The pass/fail result will get passed back into the Dashworks workflow.
8. Ability To Bulk Test Applications
Because time is always of the essence, the ability to bulk test applications is crucial. Juriba Dashworks Application Manager can manage the work queue so you can test hundreds of applications across a weekend without having to manage them individually. The solution will also auto-manage the queue with VMs spun up and down as the next test is readied, reset the VMs accordingly, and so on. This can simply be a launch and load or, if you attach functional test scripts to an application, they will be automatically run for this app as part of the bulk test.
9. Automatic Packaging Of Complex Multi-MSI Applications
Another exciting feature is the ability to automatically package complex applications. Some applications come as a single executable with multiple MSIs, and packaging those with other tools has historically been quite a pain. Juriba Dashworks Application Manager will automatically wrap those into a neatly packaged application that's ready for distribution without having to worry about this complexity. The output is robust and immediately ready for distribution.
10. Bulk Conversion
Many organizations are looking to convert their existing application portfolio into MSIX and/or .intunewin as they are moving onto more modern desktop management solutions, such as Intune or Windows Virtual Desktops. With Juriba Dashworks Application Manager you can pump all those applications straight through the engine and auto-convert them from MSI or App-V to MSIX or into .intunewin.
These are only ten of the many features that Juriba customers can now take advantage of. We are thrilled to extend our platform with the new Application Manager solution as this will be tremendously beneficial to our customers. Over the next weeks, we will share a lot more about these new capabilities and we cannot wait to hear your feedback. Is there a special feature you are particularly excited about or that you feel is missing but could be useful? Please share with me privately or in the comments below.