Welcome to our in-depth review of a newly introduced script in Flexera’s Admin Studio, a groundbreaking product that aims to automate and expedite the process of creating and maintaining application packages. The script, developed by Technical Product Manager Karen Montag II, leverages the robust Package Feed Module and PowerShell support available in Admin Studio.
Addressing the Challenges of Application Maintenance
In the current software environment, we often encounter the onerous task of vendor patching and package creation. This process involves researching each application online to ascertain the latest version, verifying the silent installation process and any customization it may require, and lastly, determining the optimal way to detect the deployed application.
Flexera’s Admin Studio and its Package Feed Module are purpose-built to alleviate this burden. This time-saving resource encompasses details on about 3,000 different installers available in the market today. It provides validated silent installation commands for roughly 2,000 installers and integrated download capability for 2,500 installers. Additionally, it often includes detection rules, which are invaluable when deploying applications with systems like Microsoft’s Configuration Manager.
Automation at Your Fingertips
In its interactive form, the Package Feed Module is straightforward to use. Users can add an application to the application catalog by looking it up in the module, download it directly within Admin Studio, and receive an editable silent command line. However, this process still requires manual lookup and navigation.
This is where Admin Studio Enterprise’s automation capabilities become paramount. By automating this process, users can transform a list of applications into a list of packages. This can be achieved using any inventory source as input (only requiring the vendor and the title for a match), and the output can be in any desired format. This can then be quickly automated to convert to the format of your choice, using a template-based script, and even published to your choice of distribution system.
Harnessing the Power of the Script
The script, designed for efficiency and accuracy, provides a couple of operations. Firstly, it massages your product list to match the Package Feed Module, ensuring accurate package creation. Secondly, it processes the list and completes the work. Regular execution of this script will allow you to stay updated with the latest versions of each application as they are released by the vendor.
The process begins with a simple CSV file containing product names and vendors. After defining your environment settings in the script (for connecting to your SQL server database and, optionally, your distribution system), you select your CSV file and the corresponding column names for product and vendor.
The script performs matches for analysis and updates the CSV file with the results. You can filter the output based on whether a match was found, multiple matches were found, or no match was found. When there are multiple matches, the script will automatically select the one at the top, which may not necessarily be the correct one. To ensure that the script matches the entry you want, copy the name from the proper entry to your product name column.
On running the script again with the updated list, you can choose to process the apps and run the import, test, and wrap operations. The script will then display progress as it downloads, tests, and wraps each of the items.
Only a subset of tests are executed in this demo for brevity, but this is easily and fully configurable in the product’s settings.
Reaping the Benefits
By looking at the results, you can confirm which apps were imported, assess the simple test results, and see that the specific architecture, as we specified, has been processed. And of course, the packages, along with the test results, are available in the Application Manager.
One of the other tests that could be run is the Windows compatibility tests for specific versions of Windows 10. Furthermore, you can execute this script on a regular basis to keep up with the latest versions of these applications as the vendor releases updates – all hands-free.
Flexera provides this script, along with an article explaining its use, in their online community at flexera.com. The company welcomes any feedback and also offers additional details and demos on the Package Feed Module. And of course, you can download a trial of Admin Studio and experience this firsthand.
So, are you ready to streamline your application packaging process with Flexera’s Admin Studio?