In my previous article, I talked about why Web is not a good choice as the primary GUI for vSphere. I also mentioned that I was working on Ua small app to enhance the user experience of vSphere Web Client.
Today I am happy to announce a small application I developed recently using latest Visual Studio 2012 Express which is free from Microsoft. Although known with my work on Java in the community, I am pretty open to any programming languages and tools that are best to get work done. This time it happens to be C# and .NET.
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I started the tiny application for myself, but thought others may be interested as well thus worthwhile to share it here. It’s the first project for end users (administrators) after developer-oriented projects like VI(vSphere) Java API and DoubleCloud Proxy(intercepts SOAP messages to vSphere and generates Java code for automation).
The application is essentially a wrapper around a Web browser so that the user experience is similar to a standalone application. As you’ll find out, this is not limited to vSphere Web Client but also other Web based GUIs like vCloud Director, vFabric App Director, and other Web application that is nothing to do with VMware.
If you happen to close vSphere Web Client, you will get a dialog box for confirmation. As a result, you won’t incidentally close your vSphere Web Client any more. Below is a screen shot of the application.
As you can see, this little application has another nice feature that can make your life easier. While working on any screen of the vSphere Web Client, you can create a shortcut on your desktop with one click. The shortcut, once clicked later, opens up the exact screen when shortcut was previously created. In some way, you can think of it as a screen snapshot of vSphere Web Client.
If you have a particular page to look for in vSphere Web Client, a shortcut would be really handy. For example, if you are most interested in networking or one particular host, you can create a shortcut while the particular screen is visible in vSphere Web Client.
By default, a shortcut uses a URL pointing to vSphere Web Client, which may include weird strings that is not easy to read. To make it easy, you can add an alias name for easy memorizing. Just remember, if you have more than one word in the alias, you want to enclose them into double quotes. The alias will be shown in the application window title. As in the following screenshot, it’s “VI Java Test vCenter.”
The full sample in the Target field is something like:
C:\Users\stevejin\Desktop\DoubleCloundClient.exe https://vCenter.doublecloud.org:9443/vsphere-client/# “VI Java Test vCenter”
Yours will be different for sure, but you got the idea.
When you create a desktop shortcut, the first two are already there for you. All you need to do is to add alias if you want to. I would suggest you do that because the long and sometime weird URL will be on the title.
There are other options you can do with the shortcut, for example, change the name of the shortcut; change the icon of the shortcut, etc. Since these are standard Windows feature, I would leave it to you to explore.
Update: A new feature that keeps session always live is added in latest version. More details are here.
Having read this far, it’s time to download and play with it. It’s just around 16.5K (not M or G). Should you have any comment/feature request, please add to the comment. As with any other software, the risk is yours and I am not liable for anything even though I’ve tried best to develop and test it. If you agree on that, please go ahead and download it *HERE* and place it on your desktop (no installer is needed – click on it and it will run); otherwise, please skip this.
Note: if your vCenter server certificate is self signed as normal, you may see an error message with a refresh link. Just click the refresh link, the issue will be gone. I haven’t yet found a good way to get the error notification and reload it programmatically.