It is has been about 1 year since I took a serious look at App-V. I worked with a tech from Microsoft last December and here is what he showed/told me.

App-V 4.5 will completely isolate an application from the OS. Because of this if your app calls a .dll from another program or has ties into Office you need to know where the hooks are. We were working on an application that was complex and one of the many things it did was launch Excel via a menu-button. Because of this the App-V package had to know the exact version of Office and how/where the hook into Office was. And he told me that you might even have to package Excel into your App-V package which we all thought was pretty silly and would cause issues down the road.

I then took the same application and packaged in using SVS from Altiris. I did not need to know anything about Office nor did I need to know anything about any other applications. The package took about 10 minutes to do. SVS packaged the application and it worked flawlessly on machines that had Office 2003 or Office 2007.

App-V on the other hand was such a royal PITA we stopped looking at it.

I am now at a new company that is a total Microsoft shop so we need to use App-V (it is free with our SA) and with the economy we can't justify spending money on ThinApp or SVS when we have a tool that "should" be fine.

I now have an application that is so customized it hurts. Example: It has 1 custom .dll for that has coded into it an exact database and exact tables from that database. It also ties directly into Office.

So my question is this: Is App-V still the same as it was 1 year ago and if so is there any easy way to package something this customized?
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App-V and ThinApp use highly isolated environments so you do need to understand your applications and their interdependencies so yes it is still the same story. People do find SVS easier because you need to know less about what you are doing but then there is an application isolation tradeoff and I'm not sure if SVS supports terminal servers natively yet.

The easy way to look at things is to determine what you think needs to be packaged as part of the application then you have to look at dependencies. If the dependency is already installed on the target then it likely doesn't need to be in the sequence unless it needs to initiate communication with the virtual application. If it needs to initiate communication you need to look at how, if it is COM then it must be in the sequence but if it is file assocation or DDE it likely doesn't need to be in the sequence.

From my experience we have had the highest success rates with App-V in our POCs but yes there are some aspects of App-V that could be more clear but that is what the product group is stiving for.
Answered 01/07/2010 by: kkaminsk
Ninth Degree Black Belt

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