SWDD Transaction crashes in SAP GUI 7.4 (App-V 5.0)

2015-06-24 10_53_42-SAP Easy Access

 

SAP officially supports (thanks to Microsoft)  SAP GUI (7.3 and 7.4) running as an App-V 5.0 package.

However after following the official recipe from Microsoft, which is available here, a certain transaction always crashed in SAP GUI 7.4.

After digging around a bit with my 2nd favourite swiss army knife tool “procmon.exe” (1st place goes to “APIMonitor”) I spotted a buffer overflow while reading out the InProcServer32 of the “sapnetz.ocx” COM DLL. Im actually not yet sure if this was the root cause of the crash, however this led me to the decision to shorten the path to this DLL.

How? The recipe guides us to use “C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP” as “PVAD / Primary Installation directory”.  This PVAD or “Root” folder has physically the shortest path length of basically everything inside the App-V Package (Everything else is mapped using the VFS Structure).

My decision was to use a deeper definition of the PVAD Folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP\FrontEnd.

This made the real physical path to “sapnetz.ocx” a bit shorter (less characters)  which may not explode the buffer which is reserved for that string.

And Yes… it seemed to work. “swdd” transaction does not crash any more.

So what else should you consider for “your” SAP GUI Package?

  • COM and Named Objects interaction must be enabled, otherwise some IE related stuff will fail
  • Follow the instructions regarding the “common” folder, however create this one in “C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP\FrontEnd\” and adjust the PATH variable accordingly.
  • Regarding BEX:
    • BEX must be in a separate package, as COM and Named Objects interaction may not be enabled. You also can’t join them together using “connection groups” as they require similar Interaction settings.
    • The main SAP components must also be a part of this package. Remove the shortcuts and file extensions of SAPGUI to have separate packages.

Regards,

Fabio

 

 

 

Hotfix package 6 for Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0 SP2 is now available

App-V 5.0 Service Pack 2 is still supported despite of the release of Service Pack 3.

Therefore Microsoft has released a new hotfix package which addresses the following issues:

Office Click-to-Run applications do not start when you try to open Office documents from Microsoft SharePoint.

The App-V 5.0 SP2 client tries to virtualize Office Click-to-Run applications. This breaks integration with SharePoint and prevents Office Click-to-Run applications from starting when the user tries to edit Office documents that are hosted on SharePoint sites.

The hotfix package is available as download here:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3065017

 

 

What’s new in InstallShield 2015?

Flexera has released its newest version of their Setup Authoring Software called “InstallShield” during my holidays last week. As a matter of fact this will be included in the next major release of  the AdminStudio Suite.

  • Windows 10 Ready Confidently build applications that support Windows 10 Insider Preview.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Integration Integrate InstallShield 2015 with Visual Studio 2015 Preview to add project output groups to your installation and integrate your InstallShield project into your Visual Studio source control and solution build processes.
  • Enhanced Support for SHA-256 Digital Signatures Be prepared for Microsoft’s new signature requirements with support for SHA-256 certificates and digests.
  • Automation Interface for Advanced UI and Suite/Advanced UI Projects Support continuous integration practices and reduce manual editing by leveraging automation scripts to add files and features, change installation properties, and initiate builds for InstallShield MSI, InstallScript, Advanced UI and Suite/Advanced UI projects.

The full release log is actually a bit hidden from the public but can be obtained here: http://helpnet.installshield.com/installshield22helplib/releasenotes.htm

For me the more interesting changes are:

Ability to Access the Installer Session from PowerShell Scripts in Basic MSI and InstallScript MSI Installations

The PowerShell custom action support has been enhanced. It now includes support for several cmdlets that let you interact with the running Basic MSI or InstallScript MSI installation at run time. The cmdlets enable you to get and set Windows Installer properties, expand the value of formatted expressions, and write information to the log file.

With this revised implementation, you can use the Windows Installer property IS_CLR_VERSION to identify a semicolon-delimited list of .NET Framework versions that the custom action should attempt to load to run your PowerShell script.

This enhancement resolves issue IOA-000078121.

Seems like we are finally able to interact with the current windows installer session using PowerShell.

New Machine-Wide Setting for Removing Unused Components Automatically

The Files View tab on the Options dialog box in InstallShield has a new Clean up unused components check box. This check box lets you specify whether you want InstallShield to remove unused components from your project automatically.

When this check box is selected, you delete all of the files in a component, and that component is not required elsewhere, that component is deleted automatically.

This new check box is a machine-wide setting. This check box is cleared by default; therefore, unused components are not removed automatically by default.

This enhancement resolves issue IOA-000081240.

Also nice to have, however i do not like the automatic approach of it.

What are your thoughts about the new version? Are you satisfied? Let me know in the comments section!

 

 

 

App-V 5.0 Technology Comparison Against App-V 4.6

Had to create an overview for a customer, so here it is:

Advantages

  • Complete new technology. From scratch! (However approach is still the very same).
  • AssetDrive is gone (no Q:\ Drive Anymore). Was replaced by “Primary Installation Folder” which is now also deprecated (at least “visible”)
  • New File Format: APPV instead of SFT+OSD. Based on AppX Format (Windows 8.x Apps) and will probably also match or be very similar to “Universal Apps” / “Project Centennial” Packages
  • No sfttray.exe launcher anymore: Applications are launched directly by calling the native executable inside the “App-V Package Store”.
  • Advanced OS integration possibilities handled by the App-V Client. Those registration are physically and can be seen by other applications, e.g.:
    • Shell Extensions (since SP2)
    • FTAs
    • COM Objects
    • Software Clients (Registry)
    • Application Capabilities (Registry)
    • URL Protocol Handler
    • App Path (Registry)
    • Browser Helper Objects (IE) (Since SP2)
    • ActiveX Controls (IE) (Since SP2)
  • Per Machine Scripts which are run by the System Account. This allows you to bundle Shims or Drivers together with the App-V Package.
  • Powered by PowerShell: All aspects of App-V can/are handled with PowerShell
  • No more 4 GB Package limit
  • Plain File system instead of proprietary files (Package Store & Delta Cache)
  • No “hardcoded” Streaming Server URL inside the AppX Package
  • Mainstream support is not ceased by 14th July 2015.
  • Mainstream support till 9th January 2018
  • Bundling of App-V Applications into the same Virtual Environment is much easier and hassle free (Connection Groups).
  • SAP Gui (certain versions) is officially supported as an App-V 5.0 Package (However, BEX Analyzer not!)
  • Office 2013 is officially supported as an App-V 5.0 Package

Disadvantages

  • Implemented Copy-On-Write prevents any write access to certain file types inside an App-V Bubble (e.g Self Updating packages are not possible anymore!)
  • Due to new App-V design certain applications break due to long (real) path as everything resides under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\AppV\ … {PGuid} .. {VGuid}..
  • App-V 5.0 does no longer contain Security Descriptors.
  • Applications which trigger an UAC prompt do not work “__COMPAT_LAYER=RunAsInvoker” trick does not work anymore. Workaround: Shim file must be created which is installed as MachineScript.

 

More stuff on the web:

http://virtualvibes.co.uk/app-v-4-6-to-5-0-comparison-cheat-sheet-2/

http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/timmangan/archive/2013/01/23/an-explanation-of-app-v-4-vs-5.aspx ( Video)

SAP Gui Support:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/appv/archive/2014/12/15/sap-gui-recipe-for-microsoft-app-v-5-0.aspx

Office 2013 Support:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2915745

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2772509

 

Windows 10 GA date announced

… And it is the 29th July.

http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/06/01/hello-world-windows-10-available-on-july-29/

But there is still no news whether App-V 4.6  will be officially supported on Windows 10 as mainstream support will end on 14th july (which probably means no further service packs for App-V 4.6 ).

At least it seems to work from technical viewpoint according to Tim Mangan from BrianMadden.com .

Regards,
Fabio