So many people are using mobile phones and tablets these days and Citrix has invested heavily in producing new Receiver programs for the wide array of hardware devices. Android and Apple iOS are the most popular but there is work being done for upcoming devices from top manufacturers.
While having great Receiver software certainly helps, Citrix has realized that it needs to do more.
The wheels are turning at Citrix Labs to produce a new software development kit. Unlike previous Citrix SDKs, this one addresses a basic need to utilize mobile device resources with programs running on XenApp.
I have been assigned the task of putting this SDK together. It is based on experience gathered from a number of projects in Citrix including well known projects like Golden Gate. We love our project names like most software companies do. The name of the umbrella project is Project San Francisco. It includes the sub-project called Project Candlestick. We also have Lombard, Alcatraz, and Hermes. Perhaps you sense a theme? Please excuse Hermes since it was invented independent of San Francisco.
Regardless of all these names, the projects aim to improve the experience with XenApp while using mobile devices. Each project focuses on a specific topic.
Project Candlestick is all about providing an SDK. However, it also has to worry about the implementation of the communication between the XenApp server and the Citrix Mobile Receiver. The current name (which should stick) is the Mobile Receiver Virtual Channel (MRVC). This new channel has already been seen as part of the Citrix Labs Android Receiver.
The message that needs to be conveyed is simple. Running Windows programs remotely on mobile devices has a number of limitations. It does not take long to realize that interacting with a legacy program running on XenApp can be very trying. The new interfaces do not mesh well with the old. There are a variety of reasons why which I will save up for a future post.
Citrix has always been about keeping things compatible and being able to work with the program from anywhere on any device. Early on, Citrix realized the power of taking Windows applications to places it would never normally run.
Things have changed a bit. Introducing Windows programs to a tablet is not just about making it run like a Windows program. The shift is starting to realize that the Windows program needs to act a lot more like the mobile device platform.
So, what does this mean? It means that for the first time, Citrix is going to recommend writing software that is specifically aware of mobile devices on the other side. This simple shift of thinking advocates using the mobile device resources and integrating it with the application running on the host.
Project Golden Gate is the first to take advantage of this idea. I have tried this internally written program on my Android phone. It is impressive what it has achieved. The program feels like a native application but all the information is at work on the XenApp server. The message is strong and clear. Why choose the mobile device or the server when you can have both working together?
It is going to be difficult to sell the SDK to developers because it is different from what has come from before. I see it more as a bridge between the two worlds. If fact, I see it as a means of creating a hybrid machine based on both. The interface lives on the device and the core business logic lives on the server. Different from before, the program looks like it came from the device when really it is leveraging both.
There are a number of things I could share with you. For now, it is important just to introduce why this new SDK is needed. The next blog post will cover what this SDK is solving.