Exploring the Shopping User Interfaces
In this exercise, we will explore the components that make up the shopping solution. Shopping has two user interfaces.
- The Shopping Administration Console is used by Shopping administrators to configure Shopping settings and to manage the objects (Applications, Approvers, User Categories, and Computer Categories) that make up the solution. It is an application that is typically installed on the Shopping Central server (it is a Feature of the Shopping Central installer) but can also be installed on admin workstations.
- The Shopping portal is a web application used by all users to request items, monitor the progress of their requests, uninstall software and set their own preferences. For administrative users with designated roles, the Shopping Portal can also be used to approve requests, perform administration tasks and view reports.
To prepare for other exercises in the course, you will familiarize yourself with these user interfaces in this lab.
Exploring the Admin Console
In this exercise, you will familiarize yourself with the Shopping Admin Console, and complete some initial configuration.
Exploring the Shopping Admin Console
- On 1ETRNAP, close all applications and log off 1ETRN\AppInstaller (from the Start screen, click AppInstaller in the top-right corner and select Sign out), then log on as 1ETRN\ShoppingAdmin
- From the Start screen, start typing Shopping until Shopping Administration appears in the search results, then click on Shopping Administration in the search results to open the Shopping Administration Console
- In the Shopping Admin Console, the left-hand pane (Database Explorer) shows a tree-view of the available management nodes
- The table below summarizes the purpose of each node
The Sites node is used to identify ConfigMgr sites in Shopping. If a ConfigMgr site is not listed here, users or computers assigned to that site will only be able to see and request standard Applications (i.e. non SMS/ConfigMgr applications). The Shopping Central Installer will add the Principal Primary Site but all others in the hierarchy will need to be added through this node. Sites are used by Shopping to allow administrators to limit availability of Applications to clients assigned to specific ConfigMgr sites.
Used to view and manage users that have been defined as Approvers. A user must be added as an Approver through this node before they can be selected as an approver for an Application.
Used to manage User Categories. User Categories allow administrators to limit the availability of Applications to users that are members of specific AD security groups. Note that there is a Miscellaneous category already defined. Miscellaneous is the default category for any application that is not associated with any other User Categories. Applications in the Miscellaneous category are available to all users.
Used to manage Computer Categories. Computer Categories allow administrators to limit the availability of Applications to computers that are in specific AD Organizational Units (OUs) or security groups. Computer Categories are also used to delegate management of groups of computers to specific Shopping administrators (Branch Administration).
Used to manage Applications. In most cases, these define software applications, but Applications are actually any items that appear in the Shopping portal to be requested.
Used to configure Shopping.
Used to manage user access to each node of the console. In an environment where administration is distributed, node security enables users to be given access only to the nodes that are relevant to their role.
Provides an audit view of changes that have been made through the Shopping Console.
Restricting access to the Console
In this task, you will learn how to use Node Security to restrict what a user can do within the Shopping console. Specifically, you will grant the AppManager user access to just the Applications node in the Shopping console. You will also observe that defining node security in the Shopping console affects membership of the special groups introduced in Database Access groups in section 2.1 (ShoppingConsole_Admins, ShoppingConsole_Users and ShoppingConsole_SMSUsers).
- On 1ETRNDC logged in as 1ETRN\Administrator, open Active Directory Users and Computers from the Start screen
- From the Users container, double-click the AppManager user account to open the user properties dialog box
- Select the Member Of tab and note which groups the AppManager account is currently a member of
- Close the AppManager Properties dialog box
- On 1ETRNAP, in the left pane of the Shopping Administration console select the Node Security node
- In the right-hand pane, right-click Applications and select Change Security…
- In the Node Security Properties dialog, click Add
- In the Select Users or Groups dialog, enter AppManager, click Check Names to validate the user then click OK
- In the Node Security Properties dialog, click OK
- Return to Active Directory Users and Computers on 1ETRNDC and view the properties of the AppManager user account again
- On the Member Of tab, note that the AppManager user has now been added to the ShoppingConsole_Admins and ShoppingConsole_SMSUsers groups. These groups are associated with the database Roles that grant the necessary permissions in the Shopping and ConfigMgr databases to create and manage Applications (see Group Management on page to review these groups and database roles)
- Log on to 1ETRNAP as AppManager (log off ShoppingAdmin)
- Start the Shopping Administration console from the Start menu
- Note that only the Applications node is available to the AppManager user
Exploring the Web Portal
In this exercise, you will familiarize yourself with the web portal and note how the interface may change depending on the logged-on user.
View the portal as a general user
You will now log on to one of the workstations as a general user and explore the user interface.
- Log on to 1ETRNW71 as 1ETRN\user, open Internet Explorer and go to http://appstore
- The default page is the Shopping Home Page. As we have not defined any Applications in Shopping yet, the page is empty, but you will at least observe the Search box that allows users to search for Applications once you have started to add them
- At the top right you will see Shopping has identified the current user and computer
- Click the MY SOFTWARE button next to the user/machine in the ribbon to open the My Software page. This page is not particularly interesting now, but as you progress through the course it will list all the Applications that have been installed through Shopping and over time, it will provide an indication of how frequently each Application is used
- Click the Help link in the navigation panel. This will display the default help pages. These can be customized to meet your specific requirements. (Customizing Shopping including these help files is covered in a later Lab)
- The navigation panel on the left can be hidden by clicking the arrow indicated below. When the panel is hidden, note that the icon changes (as shown in the figures below) and can be clicked to restore the panel
Setting User Preferences
The user can change the way they interact with Shopping through the User Preferences interface. In this task, you will take a look at what options can be set by each user.
- On 1ETRNW71, logged on as 1ETRN\user with the Shopping portal open, click the gear icon at the top-right (indicated below) to open the Preferences (aka Personalise) page
- Click the link Click here to view the diagnostics page. The diagnostics page shows some additional details of the current machine and user, including AD group memberships
- Click back in the browser to return to the Personalise page
- Scroll down to the Delivery Windows section
View the portal as a Report Viewer
- Close all windows and log 1ETRN\User off
- Log on to 1ETRNW71 as 1ETRN\Manager1 and open the Shopping portal
- Observe the navigation panel now has tabs (Self Service, Approval and Reports)
- Select the Reports tab then select Reports from the menu in the navigation panel to open the Reports page. Review the various reports that are available
- Log off Manager1
View the portal as an Administrator
- Log on to 1ETRNW71 as 1ETRN\ShoppingAdmin and open the Shopping portal. Observe the tabs available to this user (Self Service, Approval and Administration)
- Click on the Administration tab to see the options available to an Administrator. We will use these later
Section 508 Compliance
Section 508 refers to a statutory section in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (refer to 29 U.S.C. 794d). The US Congress significantly strengthened Section 508 in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Its primary purpose is to provide access to and use of Federal executive agencies' electronic and information technology (EIT) by individuals with disabilities. The statutory language of Section 508 can be found at www.section508.gov.
Section 508 requirements are separate from, but complementary to, requirements in Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act that require, among other things, that agencies provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, provide program access to members of the public with disabilities, and take other actions necessary to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability in their programs.
What does that mean to the Shopping?
The impact to the Shopping website is minimal:
- Some changes needed to be made to the color scheme as color cannot be the sole indicator of a condition.
- The website needed to be navigable using the keyboard, as standard pointing devices such as mice or trackballs are not always useable by people with certain physical limitations.
- While logged on to 1ETRNW71 as 1ETRN\ShoppingAdmin with the Shopping web page open begin hitting the Tab key on your keyboard and watch for the focus to move around to different menu options within the web page
- Highlight Installation Tools and hit Enter to expand the menu
- Hit Tab to highlight Copy Configuration and hit Enter
- Hit Tab a number of times until the focus moves to the Search field in the Copy Configuration pane
- Experiment a bit on your own to test navigation using the keyboard
- Close all applications and log ShoppingAdmin off
In this lab, we have explored the Shopping user interfaces that we will be using throughout this course to interact with the Shopping application. The Shopping Administration console is used to perform central administration and configuration, while the Shopping portal is used by end users to place orders and review the progress of their orders and installed applications. We have identified the preferences that a user can set to modify the way the application works for them personally.
We have seen that both the Shopping Administrator console and the Shopping portal can appear differently to different users. The Shopping Portal can be used by people with specific roles to perform tasks such as approval, viewing reports and performing admin tasks that general users cannot access. The Shopping Administrator console can be used by different users with different rights, for a more role based delegated administration model.
We have been introduced to the Section 508 Compliance features that have been incorporated into the Shopping website.