WebUI Software Deployment Question

With the release of 9.2.6, I’m curious as to whether or not the WebUI could be used as a software deployment portal for users to kick off a process for getting software installed on their endpoint? I know there was a thread where a software portal was discussed but at the time there wasn’t any kind of feature like that implemented currently.

Given this new addition, is there plans to develop such a feature using the WebUI?

There is a web portal for user software deployment that I think uses SWD.

There is also offers, but those have to be done by the user while currently on the endpoint.

I personally do like the offers and I think they work fairly well even though the UI could use some polish.

As part of the WebUI, yes this is true. However I was more thinking of software delivery packages that are more geared towards installations of on-demand software such as licensed software and software with specific uses that require some kind of approval process to attain.

In our current environment, we are using Altiris and the software portal present with that. Because it’s horribly dated (and our deployment of SCCM, which will replace it, is having massive issues before coming to production), I’m looking to push IEM into the limelight and potentially develop software deployments that are geared toward being kicked off by end-users using a web interface more akin to what is produced in this thread.

I wasn’t talking about the WebUI, there is an existing self-service portal that users can use to install software. They can also use offers. Both of these options have been around in BigFix for quite a long time.

If we’re talking just WebUI, the whole entire self service portal bit isn’t in the 9.2.6 release that we just pushed out two weeks ago. That piece is still in the thick console, but I think any new functionality at this point we’d focus on bringing into the WebUI (instead of in the thick console), so parts of what was in that thread could very well show up in the SWD WebUI app soon.


That would be pretty cool since my customer is trying to implement SCCM just to do software distribution and are having a bear of a time getting it out. If I could point to a self-service portal that BigFix already has, it would be pretty neat.

1 Like

Have you tried the offers system? That is what we use for user initiated software distribution, and it works very well.

Well we could do offers to everyone but the issue is more with software with a limited license count like Acrobat. If everyone gets Acrobat, Adobe will like us until we didn’t want to pay them for the extra licensing. That’s more the direction I was thinking.

It is now slowly dawning on me that my license is not including what is necessary to facilitate the portal. I guess this thread is one big misunderstanding on my part. :expressionless:

1 Like

In that case, it doesn’t matter if you use Offers, or the SWD portal, or the WebUI to enable end users to install licensed software… any of these options are going to have the problem of users being able to over subscribe your license or cause you to have to pay more for the licenses than you would like.

Any of these options will work fine for software that is free or open source or site licensed or cheap enough that you don’t care.

In the case of something like Acrobat in which you do care about the licensing costs, it makes more sense for that to be controlled by an IT process that requires someone in IT to go into the console or WebUI to actually do the installation so that you don’t get over-subscribed.

This is a use case that the WebUI is built for and will help with. You can give your helpdesk support staff access to the WebUI with a custom site that only contains a few installers for licensed software that they can deploy to fulfill user requests.

Well I was thinking that’s where this could come in. A notification would be sent to someone who can approve it and allow the installation to happen.

You clearly haven’t used Four Eyes Approval Capability. I haven’t either, but it is extremely limited from what I know about it.

It only works in the normal/thick console. You set someone up as requiring approval, someone else as able to approve for that person. The person that needs approval creates an action as you would normally, enters their password, and then an approval dialog opens. The approver has to physically walk over to the machine with the console open that needs approval and type in their password to do the approval.

It is so limited, it is nearly worthless outside of very limited training scenarios and a few others. It definitely does not work for end-users and you definitely should NEVER create console operator accounts for end users. Every account adds load and complexity to the system.

One option it does kind of make sense for, but I also am not sure it actually would work or make sense, is to have all operations by a Master Operator require review and approval by at least 2 people so that no single person can abuse Master Operator privileges. Even so, you would definitely need a Master Master Operator that is available for emergencies that does not require approval.

Ultimately this is all spit-balling. The end-game being that I want to show my customer that a portal is available (web based because that is what they currently have) that users can navigate to and download software. In regards to licensed software, they would have to likely submit a service desk ticket to be fulfilled manually.

Basically BigFix in our environment has a lot of pieces my customer doesn’t use because they have other tools doing it but I hear complaints a lot about how that tools not doing the best job. I’m trying to get my ducks in a row to swoop in and make things awesome.

1 Like

What if part of the issue with the current system is that it is web based and feels disconnected from the computer it is actually going to end up on?

It could be the case that the offers system would actually be preferred by end users. The only way to really know is to do some BETA testing and gather feedback.

I recommend the offers system because it is very easy for both users and bigfix operators to use. It also allows you to make a baseline available as an offer in the same way as an individual fixlet/task, which is actually very powerful. I don’t know if many others would allow baselines to be used so seamlessly.

An example of why you might want to use a baseline instead of a single fixlet/task is where you want to install something if not already installed, and then have that thing do something. With a baseline, it will only install it if it is missing, but you don’t have to worry about which machines have it installed and which do not.

Example with Dell Command Update:

This actually appears as a single offer item for the user on the system called Run Driver Restore or similar, but it actually does 2 things on any computer that needs both. This particular offer is only available to IT staff and not to normal users, and it is only available on computers that have been recently imaged. This is another huge advantage to the offers system. It is very easy for them to show up only for certain users and in certain circumstances using relevance.

The offers system might not be the prettiest option available, but it works much better than most other self-service options.

In the 9.5 WebUI version (and probably the previous versions) there isn’t a way to add relevancy to custom software that that you create within the WebUI. Why wouldn’t that exist?

In general there isn’t a way to add or show relevance at all in the WebUI. Our first release was really, really targeted, and I think we decided that relevance in general was out of scope of the people that would be the primary users of WebUI 1.0 (which tend to be just deployment specialists and the like). Users that needed to deal more with relevance would still use the thick console.

Adding relevance to all content (not just SWD packages) is in scope but requires a little deeper thinking on our part on how we support that in multiple places in the WebUI, not just in creating custom software…


thanks for the response.