Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Remote Desktop Web Access in Windows Server 8

In an earlier blog post I showed and discussed the Scenario Based Deployment of Remote Desktop Services. (see here: Scenario Based Deployment). Remote Desktop WebAccess (RDWA) is part of this deployment. In this blog post I will discuss the changes to this role a bit further and show you what RDWA looks like in Windows Server 8 (at least inside the developers preview).

When you install the Remote Desktop WebAccess (RD WebAccess) role, either via de Scenario Based Deployment or manually using the Server Manager, the RD WebAccess page becomes available under https://hostname/rdweb (no difference there, compared to Windows Server 2008 (R2). When we browse this URL, the login screen actually looks pretty much the same.

We can see that the RD WebAccess page in the Developers Preview still needs some work done, as it still states “Windows Server 2008 R2” in the lower-left corner. :-)

When we logon, we are presented with the screen below. Again, not very different compared to Windows Server 2008 R2. A difference that we do see however is “Current folder: /” Is that what we think (and hope) it is? It seems that in upcoming releases, we will actually be able to put RD WebAccess RemoteApps Programs inside (sub)folders! That’s great! I have seen lots of requests and questions on about this on TechNet forum!

When we look at the source of default.aspx quickly, it seems my thoughts a confirmed! We already see declarations of strings containing errors and messages of a folder hierarchy structure.

const string L_BadFolderErrorTitle_Text = "Folder does not exist. Redirecting...";
const string L_BadFolderErrorBody_Text = "You have attempted to load a folder that does not exist. In a moment, you will be redirected to the top-level folder.";

Also, note that we’re missing a tab here called “Configuration”. Am I perhaps not logged on as an Administrator? Yes, I am. So why is it not showing? It simply isn’t there yet. When we look at the content of the folder that RD WebAccess uses (that is still C:\Windows\Web\RDWeb\Pages) we see the following content:

Which is different compared to Windows Server 2008 R2 as we can see below.

We’re missing config.aspx. This configuration is moves to the Server Manager. I'll talk about that more in an upcoming blog post!

There is another new file in the en-US folder called RDWAstrings.xml. When we open this up we’re presented with, as the name suggests, strings that we can modify. A snippet of the code is shown below.

<string id="ControlUpgradeVistaBody_2">.<br/><br/></string>
<string id="SearchingForApps">Searching for available RemoteApp programs... </string>
<string id="CurrentFolder">Current folder: </string>
<string id="ParentFolder">Up</string>

So yes, we can already change the name of the root-folder using the CurrentFolder string :-)

In my next blog post I will discuss the new functionality that has moved from the "Configuration" tab in the RD WebAccess page to the Server Manager. Stay tuned!

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