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Microsoft RemoteApp and FileMaker Pro?

As a FileMaker-centric provider, our users wanted to have all the functionality of FileMaker Pro, without having to install FileMaker Pro– a ‘cloud version of FileMaker Pro’. RemoteApp applications can actually run FileMaker Pro hosted solutions up to five times faster than a traditional FileMaker Pro client- while delivering better security and more flexibility.

RemoteApps make upgrades, plug-in installation, and maintenance a snap; as there are no program or data files stored on local systems. All your users can run the exact same version of FileMaker and the developer has several additional tools to control the user’s experience. Access can be granted or revoked at any time- pay only for what you need. Seasonal workers, interns, and contractors can be given access to FileMaker with no/ little up front cost and only pay for the months you need.

RemoteApps are ideal for our Windows-based users, as most Windows systems since Windows XP have included the ability to run RemoteApps with no additional software to be downloaded. Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and all Server versions are included.

FileMaker Pro Application Virtualization with RemoteApp

RemoteApp, not to be confused with traditional Microsoft Remote Desktop Services connections, display only a FileMaker Pro solution/ application, as easily as if FileMaker Pro 12 (the application) and the FileMaker file (data) was sitting locally of their own machine. Unlike other services, there is not a ‘second’ Start Menu, Desktop, or Documents folder visible to ‘confuse’ users.

 

Cloud FileMaker Pro

 

Many users will not realize that they are not running a ‘native’ copy of FileMaker Pro. In most cases the only difference they will see, other than faster performance, is the slightly modified version of the FileMaker Pro icon (in the task bar) which denotes a ‘RemoteApp’ application.

RemoteApp allows users several options to connected to their published databases.

Option 1: Microsoft Web Portal

FileMaker WebDirect is much improved over Instant Web Publishing but?does not support many features which FileMaker Pro users come come to depend on for efficient use:

    • (standard) keyboard shortcuts
    • PDF creation
    • plug-in support (traditional/ client- side)
    • consistent printing
    • and a host of other features

We are consistently asked questions about?WebDirect because developers wish to send their users to a page web and allow them to enjoy a full ‘FileMaker Pro’ experience, our vApp for FileMaker can deliver on that promise.

In year’s past this functionality was only available to Windows users; however, RemoteApp is now supported on MacOS X, iOS, and Android. As a result, the Microsoft vApp solutions are much more popular than the 2X, Citrix, Ericom, or other similar solutions which we are able to offer.

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These portals can not easily be customized, although in larger workgroups it can be done, nor can bookmarks be made to a specific application and/or file.

Option 2: Desktop Windows Shortcut

This is the most popular method to launch a RemoteApp-based solution. These can be built with custom icons and names to help brand your solutions. A quick link on any web page can provide users access to your FileMaker solution.

For users which do not desire to setup a ‘web’ link to their FileMaker Pro solution, these ‘links’ are very small and are easily sent via email as an attachment. The attachment can be saved to the Desktop or any folder for ‘1-click’ access to your FileMaker Pro solutions. These shortcuts are technically text files, so there are typically no issues with ‘access rights’. Even users in ‘locked-down’ environments can normally receive and utilize these links without issue.

  • Mac Users: Microsoft Remote Desktop for MacOS X in the Apple Store

From the Apple App Store, users may install the ‘new and improved’ Remote Desktop app from Microsoft. This app will support RemoteApp shortcuts and only has to be installed once, no matter how many RemoteApps you utilize. It is a free app.

  • iOS Users: iPad/ iPhone

From the iOS App Store, Microsoft now has an ‘official’ Remote Desktop app which supports RemoteApp, Although there have been others (like Jump), which have provided this functionality in the past; the Microsoft app is free and provides a ‘all-Microsoft’ solution which is more likely to work smoothly with a RemoteApp streamed from a Microsoft server.

  • Android Users: Google Play app

From the Google Play Store, Microsoft offers an Android version of their Remote Desktop Connection app which supports RemoteApp. This is the least expensive way to bring a ‘true’ FileMaker experience to Android.

  • Windows RT Users: Surface/ Windows Phone and/or other RT devices

Many people ‘assume’ that a Surface Tablet or Windows Phone would run RemoteApps well; and those people would be correct. Their is an optional app which makes it easier to connect and/or manage these apps from the Metro interface, but the Surface tablets do a great job at running RemoteApp. This is one of the only ways to provide a FileMaker Pro experience on the Windows Phone and/or Surface Tablet.

Option 3: Preconfigured Windows Installer

One issue with a ‘shortcut’ to your FileMaker solution, is that they can easily be moved, deleted, or renamed. For a support tech, not being able to tell a user specifically where to look is an issue; thus we can build an installer package which will install can install your shortcuts within the Start menu, so there is absolute consistency from user to user

This option gives your solution even more of the ‘feel’ of a traditional application, and we can apply any icon, Program Group Name, and solution name you require. Vertical market solution providers like this option as they can ‘brand’ their solution.

This option also allows local files using the .fp7 or .fmp12 extensions to automatically launch your virtual FileMaker Pro client,?allowing you virtual ‘FileMaker Pro’ to act even more like a ‘traditional’ FileMaker Pro client. This feature can be turned on or off, so if you do not want users to create and/or open ‘renegade’ FileMaker files, this feature is optional and is designed to allow developers and/or administrators greater control.

Typically, you would only need one of the following, but some browser security settings prevent users from directly downloading an installer. (a.k.a.- a Windows Installer/.msi file).

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Documentation and Demonstration

worldcloud has years of experience of working with Microsoft Desktop Services RemoteApp and FileMaker Pro. We are happy to answer any of your questions, plus we are very transparent so in many cases we can refer you to resources, such as the following:

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