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    What is InspectionXpert OnDemand ClickOnce Deployment?

    InspectionXpert is a ClickOnce Deployment

    January 4th, 2019

    This article is about InspectionXpert OnDemand which is a 'Smart Client' application the utilizes Microsoft's ClickOnce technology to combine the advantages of a 'thin client' (e.g. no install, auto update) and a 'fat client' (e.g. high performance, high productivity).

    ClickOnce is a relatively new technology, we have created this guide to help executives, IT administrators, and staff understands how the deployment of InspectionXpert OnDemand is different from traditional software installations.

    Why use ClickOnce?

    Efficient Deployment

    • Enables InspectionXpert OnDemand to run in the internet security zones on the end user's computer. This enables the software to be installed without elevated permissions on the computer
    • Allows InspectionXpert OnDemand to be a self-updating application that can check for newer versions as they become available and automatically update to the latest version
    • Minimizes the hidden costs of software, which is the burden on IT to deploy new applications or software upgrades to existing applications


    Administrator Control

    • Administrators can control InspectionXpert OnDemand's update behavior, for example, marking an update as mandatory
    • Updates can be rolled back to an earlier version by the end user or by an administrator

     

    Security

    • InspectionXpert OnDemand is signed with our secure digital signature from a trusted certificate authority and no user data ever leaves your local environment
    • Only license validation and software updates are sent over the network (Publishing to an enterprise system (e.g. Net-Inspect) will, of course, cause data to be sent over the network but the user must explicitly choose to do so)
    • All project data (e.g. drawing files, specifications, etc...) are stored in your local file system


    ClickOnce provides an efficient, low impact, and secure means of deployment onto any Windows PC. In most cases, IT administrators do not have to do anything to deploy InspectionXpert OnDemand. Typically, the user clicks on the link and InspectionXpert OnDemand is downloaded and launched.

    In highly restricted computer networks (e.g. networks in ITAR controlled facilities), some minimal configuration may be required.

    That's the gist of it! If you'd like to learn more about the technical side of it, here you go!

    This is also for those IT administrators to ensure a smooth deployment of InspectionXpert OnDemand in those highly restricted environments.


    Quick Start Guide

    Scenario 1: Connection through a firewall

    In typical IT environments, firewalls will not block InspectionXpert OnDemand. Simply use a compatible browser to visit our secure site and begin using InspectionXpert OnDemand.

    Scenario 2: Connection through a proxy server

    This is a more complex case and some configuration may be necessary. The most common issue is the need to 'Whitelist' www.inspectionxpert.com, or set it as a trusted site. Further modification of a configuration file for the proxy server or permissions for certain file extensions may be necessary as well. Skip to the 'Troubleshooting' section for more info on this.

    Scenario 3: Direct connection to the internet

    Ensure that you have a compatible browser installed, login to our secure site, and begin using InspectionXpert OnDemand.

    Background

    ClickOnce was developed by Microsoft as a fast hands-off approach that allows IT departments to quickly and easily deploy software to many computers with minimal downtime and easy maintenance.

    It solves three major issues in application deployment:

    1. Updating
    2. Impact on the user's computer
    3. Security permissions

    These issues can seriously hamper large or small IT departments from deploying new technologies to their users; however, ClickOnce solves these issues and allows IT to quickly update and install InspectionXpert products on the fly.

    With InspectionXpert OnDemand, IT departments can easily activate new user access and manage existing user access without having to touch the end user's machine. So, what does this mean?

    1. Less downtime
    2. More productivity
    3. Instant upgrades

    Upgrades can even be handled automatically. ClickOnce upgrades the necessary files as they become available on the web server, and access to new versions is as easy as logging into our secure site and accessing a link.

    ClickOnce applications are installed, per user, to the user's account folder. This means that the InspectionXpert OnDemand application is not being installed to Program Files or other write protected folders. This also means that the application runs on its own without the need for shared libraries, preventing our software from interfering with existing applications on the machine.

    Our OnDemand products are also secure. We digitally sign our application with a public/private key certificate pair from a certificate authority. This ensures that you are always downloading our application and nothing else. Also, all project data is stored locally and never transmitted over the network. The only transmissions by InspectionXpert OnDemand are for updates and software license verification. Your data is safely secured on your local machine or server environment, just like a typical .msi installed application.

    Troubleshooting

    While the ClickOnce deployment strategy is designed to be simple and easy, there may be some configuration required by administrators. These configurations may not be necessary, but development issues can be summarized into four main categories,  in order of most commonly encountered first:

    1. Web browser choice
    2. Installation of the .NET framework
    3. Browser and proxy security settings
    4. Local file permissions

    Web Browser

    Only the following web browsers are supported:

    • Internet Explorer
    • Mozilla Firefox with the Microsoft .NET framework assistant add-on installed
    • Google Chrome with the ClickOnce for Google Chrome add-on installed

    .NET framework

    InspectionXpert OnDemand was built using the .NET framework 3.5 SP1. This is often already installed on Windows 7 and Vista machines, but may need to be installed on older Windows XP machines. The .NET framework can be downloaded directly from Microsoft and is used by many Windows programs.

    Browser and Proxy Security Settings

    If InspectionXpert OnDemand fails to run, try the following troubleshooting guide related to security settings. It is listed in order of most commonly encountered issues first.

    1. The following file extensions must be allowed to run from external sources:

    a. .application

    b. .manifest

    c. .deploy

    2. If you receive a '403 Forbidden' error message when launching the application, then you must set http://www.ondemand.inspectionxpert.com/ as a trusted site. This is also known as 'Whitelisting' the site.

    3. If you use a proxy server that uses the Windows user's standard login credentials and you receive a '407 Proxy Identification Required' error message then you may need to modify the local machine's 'machine.config' file by either updating or adding a system.net XML node in the file and specifying your company's proxy address in the XML attribute called 'Proxy Address'.

    Modify '%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\CONFIG\machine.config' on the client machine with the following XML.

    Unfortunately, due to the limitations of Microsoft's ClickOnce technology, if your proxy server requires login credentials that are different from the standard Windows user's login credentials, ClickOnce will not work.

    Local File Permissions

    ClickOnce deployed application files are downloaded to a subfolder of the user's account folder, whose location depends on the version of Windows. The names of the subfolders are proprietary to Microsoft's ClickOnce technology so the exact folder names are unknown. Under the default environment settings, the end user will have read/write access, it can be expected that errors will occur when the ClickOnce technology attempts to download files. In Windows XP the application is installed to 'C:\Documents and Settings<user account name>\AppData\Local\Apps\2.0'.

    In addition, InspectionXpert stores template, dictionary, and settings files in the following file location so that they may be accessed by all users:

    C:\Users\Public\Documents\InspectionXpert

    If you have any additional questions please contact Customer Success at 1-800-379-0322, option 2.


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