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Customizing the View Portal in Horizon View 5.3

By Alexander West, Technical Writer for End-User Computing Technical Marketing, VMware, and Hans Bader, Consulting Architect, VMware Professional Services

In Customize the View Portal for Client Download with View 5.1 we learned to personalize the portal to provide specific client download links. Since then, a few things have changed:

  • In View 5.3, the default portal page does NOT automatically provide client download links, but instead links to the View Clients download page on VMware.com.
  • With the introduction of HTML Access, previously customized portal pages will be hidden if and when you install HTML Access.

These changes do not directly affect the portal-customization process, so here’s an in-depth outline (including screenshots) to refresh your memory.

View Client Downloads via Default View Portal in View 5.3

To begin accessing Horizon View virtual desktops, users must first download View Clients to their endpoint devices. Generally, users access View Client downloads from the View Clients download page on VMware.com. The default View Portal (the upper portion of Figure 1), which is the default landing page for the Horizon View Connection Server URL, links to the View Clients download page (the lower part of Figure 1).

Fig1CombinedFigure 1: Default View Portal Leading to View Clients Downloads Page on VMware.com.

But, if you want to provide specific View Client download links on the View Portal, you can customize the portal to do so.

Customizing the View Portal in View 5.3

Customizing the View Portal involves:

  • Placing your desired View Client(s) in the following folder in the View Connection Server directory:

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\broker\webapps\downloads

  • Copying the files portal.properties and portal-links.properties to C:\ProgramData\Vmware\VDM\portal
  • Updating the files portal.properties and portal-links.properties
  • Restarting the connection service

Note: If you customize the View Portal, as described in this post, and later install VMware Horizon View HTML Access on the server, your customized portal page is replaced by an HTML Access page. For information on customizing that page, see Using VMware Horizon View HTML Access. If your View Connection Servers are fronted by a load balancer, you will have to update each View Connection Server individually.

First, download the installer files for your desired View Clients from the View Clients download page. Then determine which HTTP server will host the View Client installer files. (The files can reside on a View Connection Server instance or on another HTTP server.)

Next, create a folder for the View Client installer files on the HTTP server. For example, to place View Client files in a downloads folder in the default installation directory of the View Connection Server host, use the following path:

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\broker\webapps\downloads

Note: This is the default install location. If you installed in a different location, you will have to update the paths accordingly.

Fig2Figure 2: Client Download Location

The links to the View Client files would then use URLs with the following format:

https://<server-name>/downloads/clientinstaller-<filename.ext>

For example, a server with the name view.mycompany.com would use the following URL for View Client for Windows:

https://view.mycompany.com/downloads/VMware-viewclient.exe

In this example, the folder named downloads is located in the webapps root folder.

Copy the View Client installer files into the folder. Next, create a portal directory in C:\ProgramData\VMware\VDM\.

Fig3

Figure 3: The Portal Directory

On the View Connection Server, copy the portal-links.properties and portal.properties files from

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\Extras\PortalExamples

to

C:\ProgramData\VMware\VDM\portal (the directory you created)

The portal.properties and portal-links.properties files are located in

C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\extras\PortalExamples.

Fig4Figure 4: The portal.properties and portal-links.properties Files in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Server\extras\PortalExamples

Edit the C:\ProgramData\VMware\VDM\portal\portal-links.properties file to point to the new location of the View Client installer files.

Fig5Figure 5: Sample portal-links.properties File Showing the View Client Files Available for Download from the View Portal

You can edit the lines of the portal-links.properties file shown in Figure 5 and add additional lines if you need to create more links. You can also delete lines. A hash tag (#) comments the line.

The portal-links.properties file contains the links to the View Client files. In Figure 5, only VMware-Horizon-View-Client-x86_64-2.2.0-1404668.exe is enabled:

link.win=https://VW53-01-CS01.neuronsparks.local/downloads/VMware-Horizon-View-Client-x86_64-2.2.0-1404668#win

The following examples show properties for creating two links for View Client for Windows and two links for View Client for Linux:

  • link.win=https://server-name/downloads/VMware-viewclient-x86_64-y.y.y-XXXX.exe#win
  • link.win.1=https://server-name/downloads/VMware-viewclient-y.y.y-XXXX.exe#win
  • link.linux=https://server-name/downloads/VMware-viewclient-x86_64-y.y.y-XXXX.rpm#linux
  • link.linux.1=https://server-name/downloads/VMware-viewclient-y.y.y-XXXX.tar.gz#linux

Next, update portal.properties, which is the text that will be displayed when the user navigates to the View Connection Server URL.

In Figure 6, the text for the Windows Clients has been updated to read Updated View Clients for Windows. All other client downloads in this example are commented out with hash (#) signs.

Fig6CombinedFigure 6: Custom View Portal Page

After making changes to the View Connection Server, restart the VMware View Connection Server service.

Fig7Figure 7: VMware View Connection Server Service

Once restarted, the user can navigate to the View Portal and click on the View Client download link. Keep in mind that the prompts the user sees after clicking the download link will vary based on their browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome each have different prompts.

Fig8_1 Fig8_2Figure 8: Custom View Portal Page with Internet Explorer Warning

The lower portion of Figure 8 shows a download message from Internet Explorer indicating that the executable may harm your computer. You may need to inform your users that this is okay. (This message will vary based on browser.)

Add Branding and Functionality to the View Portal with Project eXtender

VMware View Portal Project eXtender is a free tool that allows you to install and add a CMS (content management system) to the View Portal for branding and added functionality. With Project eXtender, you can customize the portal’s colors and images and add content specific for your company’s brand. With eXtender, you can also add key functionality to the View Portal with custom features like announcements, links, support information, and more.

Note: Project eXtender 2.0 supports up to VMware View 5.1.2.

Take a closer look at Project eXtender here.

One thought on “Customizing the View Portal in Horizon View 5.3

  1. Bruce Bagshaw

    Now that VMWare has removed the automatic execution of the client when connecting to the broker server URL (Currently running View 4.6 environment) is there a way to add a path to the local executable on the machine i.e. C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Client\bin\wswc.exe, Can this be displayed as a link on the portal page?

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