Getting started with VAPortal


Preface

This documentation provides information about VAPortal and includes information about the VAPortal Features.
VAPortal supports Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008/R2. This documentation focuses on VAPortal for Windows Server 2008 but should work for Windows Server 2003.

Introducing VAPortal

VAPortal is used to publish Windows applications on the web. It suits in the situation that remote access is required, for example, you need to run an Accounting Software in your datacenter. It’s based on Microsoft Terminal Services and RDP protocol, it’s good for low bandwidth environment, and it can reduce the cost of application maintenance effectively, and it can increase application response and improves application and data security.

VAPortal client side Requirements:
  • Windows XP or later with java JRE 1.6.0 or later installed.
  • Open the port 3389 for terminal services, unless you have TS gateway.
  • Support IE 6 or later, Firefox 2.0 or later, and Chrome browsers.
  • Enable Java Applet and trust the Java Applet from the VAPortal website when prompts.

The VAPortal features include:

1. Publish Windows Applications on the web for remote access.
2. Pure web based application.
3. Search corporate contacts in Active Directory(LDAP), you can search by:
  • First name, last name, or full name
  • Department
  • Manager
  • Organization unit (OU)
  • Job title
  • City
  • Account status (Enable/disable)
  • Lock/unlock accounts, expired accounts, password expired account
4. You can print/export the search results.
5. System Administrators can create accounts, disable/enable accounts, create OU, move accounts from one OU to another, etc.
6. Tell you who is on the server, and able to send messages to connected users, or log off/disconnect users immediately.
7. View usage report and application log.
8. Regular users can change their profile or password in Active Directory.
9. Bulletins feature for company to publish notices, events, or discussions.
10. Based on Active Directory (AD) or LDAP and use single sign on for user login.
11. Detect corporate domains automatically, including trusted domains.
12. Upload files to the server for sharing with other users temporarily, and the uploaded files are deleted after one day.
13. Online PDF creation.
14. Extract full color icons from application online.

Login to VAPortal


Open your browser, enter the VAPortal URL which you receive from your System Administrator, for example, http://192.168.1.20/vap, and you should see the login screen similar to the figure below:

VAPortal login screen

The Log on to dropdown lists all domains available in your LAN, includes the server in which VAPortal is installed. Please consult with your IT Administrator to find out which domain your account belongs to.

Launch published applications


After login, you will see a list of applications you have the permission to run, and click the application to launch it. You must install JAVA JRE 1.6 or later in your PC to run the application, otherwise, VAPortal will automatically install for you.

VAPortal main screen

If you are using IE, you may need to add your VAPortal website in your trusted list. Here is how to add to your trusted site list: click Tools in IE menu, then click Internet Options, and in the options dialog, click the “Security” tab. Now, hit “Trusted Sites”, then click “Sites” button, and in the Add this website the zone field, enter your website, i.e., http://192.168.1.20, finally click the Add button. See the screenshot below.

VAPortal IE Trusted website
Account Settings
The account settings include Profile and Change Password. Both are straight forward, just click the Account Settings menu in the top-right corner and you will see the both menus there. Both functions will change your personal information stored in Active Directory (AD) or the server with VAPortal installed.

VAPortal change password

Publish Applications


If your account has administrative privileges, you will see the “Administer” menu in the top-right corner, and click it, you will see the menu looks like below figure.

VAPortal admin

Click “Application Publish” menu, a list of applications ready to be published is being showed. The available actions are Add New, View, Edit, Delete, and change Permission. To publish a new application, click the “Add New” hyperlink. See the picture below.

VAPortal publish apps

After you hit the “Add New” link, the form below appears. Let’s say you need to publish a program called Microsoft Paint. In the Program Name field, enter mspaint, and in the Display Name field, enter Paint. The Parent Program Id field is 0 by default, which is the ROOT folder id, if you want to publish it under different folder, click the browse icon in the end of the field, and select the folder.

In the Executable File Path field, you can type the full path here, or click the browse icon to get the full path. Let’s click the browse icon near the end of this field, and a popup displays the executable files in the right pane and directories in the left pane under the Program Files folder. We know mspaint.exe file is not in the Program Files folder, and it’s located in the C:\Windows\system32 path, so double click the “..” in the left pane, it will go back the parent folder of the Program Files folder and displays the content in the Windows Root folder. In the left pane, scroll down to find Windows folder, and double click it to open the Windows directory. After the c:\windows folder is opened, scroll down to find system32 folder in the left pane, athen double click it to open. Now, you open c:\windows\system32 folder, in the right pane, scroll up and down to find the mspaint.exe, and double click it to select, and you are brought back the Publish Application screen.

VAPortal browse app

Leave the DOS Compatible Short Path field blank.

In the Icon File Path field, the default value is C:\inetpub\wwwroot\vap\icons\folder.ico. We don’t like it, so we hit the browse icon near the end of this field to get the correct icon. Now, you open the Browse and Select Icon popup, and it shows the icons in C:\inetpub\wwwroot\vap\icons folder by default, replace this folder with c:\windows\system32\mspaint.exe, and hit “Extract Icons” button, and you will see the icons extracted from the mspaint.exe, click the icon to select it, and click the Confirm button to return back to the Publish Application screen.

VAPortal extract icons

In the TS Server (or IP) field, enter correct server name or IP in which your VAPortal is installed. Leave TS Port field the default value (3389) if you do not change your Windows Terminal Server port. In the TS Gateway, enter the Terminal Server Gateway name or IP if available, otherwise, keep it blank. The Terminal Server Gateway allows the traffic go through your firewall in case of the port 3389 is blocked by your corporation.

In the Local Devices & Resources Redirect checkboxes, check the items accordingly. For example, you need to print the reports to your local printers, then check Windows printer, and if you want to save files from the application to your local drives, in the Drives dropdown list, select “All” or “C Drive”.

In the “Publish?” checkbox, if you don’t like to publish it at the moment, uncheck it. Finally, click the “Save” button to finish Publish Application., see the final screenshot below.

VAPortal app details

Publish a website in VAPortal


You can easily publish a website in VAPortal, you just need to add your website as a parameter when you publish your browser. For example, if you use Internet Explorer (IE) as browser, you can add your website in the end of iexplore.exe, see the screenshot below:

vaportal publish new app


Set access permission for published applications in VAPortal


You already delivered applications for end users via VAPortal, you also want to be able to set which applications users can see when they login to VAPortal. You can do so by setting permissions on application level. Here are the steps to set permissions.

Login to VAPortal with an administrative account, click Administer | Application Publish. Suppose you want to set permission for MSPaint application, click the “Permission” button in the MSPaint row, and that brings out the screen for you to set the permission (see the screenshot below).

VAPortal set permissions

Click the “Add User/Group” button, the page below appears. The From this location dropdown lists all domains detected in your LAN, and select the desired domain from the list. Let’s say you want a group called primavera, then type primavera in the “Enter users/groups to select” field, then click the “Check Names” button. If the group exists, then this field will be showed as “CPM\ primavera” (The domain is added in front of the user/group name separated by a backslash). You can type more than one user/group in this field, but you need to separate them by a comma sign, for example, enter primavera, students, admin group.

VAPortal vselect users and groups

Finally, click the “OK” button to return, otherwise click the “Cancel” button. Now, you should see the screen similar to the one below.

VAPortal user group

Click the “Save” button to finish your permission setting.

Usage Logs



VAPortal provides usage logs for you to audit the application. The following information are given in the logs: Start Time, User Account, Program Name, Description, and IP Address, see a screenshot below. Only system administrators can see this log entries.

VAPortal logs

Application Logs



When something unusual happen in VAPortal, for example, you fail to change your password or update your personal information, you should look at the application logs to get the debug or error messages. Only system administrators can see the application logs.

Account Management


If you are the System Administrator, you can easily create, edit, search, delete, enable, disable, or unlock a user account via VAportal. To start Account Management function, click Administer | Account Management, that brings up the screen similar to the one below. Let’s say you want to edit the account called vaportal, just type vap in the Name field and you don’t have to enter the entire name, and then click the Search button. Any account names contains “vap” are listed below.

VAPortal search ldap users

There is a hyperlink in the Login Name column, click this hyperlink and you will see the information for this account.

VAPortal ldap user details

The Select an action dropdown offers these actions: Add to group, Remove from group, Remove user, Change password, Enable user, Disable user, Unlock user, Rename, Move user. Let’s say you want to add the vaportal account to a group, check the box in the near the Full Name column, then select the Add to group option from the dropdown list, and you should see a popup asking you to confirm this action. Click OK. Now, the user Distinguished Name, current member of groups, and the new group to add are being showed.
Type the group name in the new group to add, and hit the Add button to finish.

VAPortal save confirm

VAPortal ldap search criteria

VAPortal Tools


VAPortal provides the following convenient tools: File Upload, PDF Converter, Search Contacts, Extract/Generate icons from File.

1. File Upload You can upload a file on the server so that your users can download it. After uploaded, you are given t

he download URL. The maximum file size is controlled by your system administrator. 2. PDF Converter This little tool is able to convert any printable file to a PDF file online.

3. Search Contacts You can search the contacts stored in your Active Directory (AD) or LDAP. You can search by name, job title, city, department, manager, or account status.

4. Extract/Generate icons from File This nice tool extracts icons stored in executable files, icon files, or icon library file online.