“Vail” Remote Web Access and Its Extensibility

“Vail” Remote Web Access and Its Extensibility

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[This blog post continues the series of “Vail” extensibility introduction here]

Hi there! Sorry for keeping you all waiting so long to read the third blog post about Vail Engineering. This time we will talk about the extensibility of Remote Web Access.

I believe most of you still remember this screenshot in Windows Home Server:

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Some of you (esp. ISV developers) probably wanted to integrate your own products/features in this Remote Web Access portal when Windows Home Server was first released. Unfortunately, the answer you got is “No, you cannot extend this site.” We completely understand how sad you were when you heard this answer.

Therefore, we bring you a brand new Remote Web Access site in Vail.

What is new in Remote Web Access site of Vail?

Let’s check out the latest look & feel of Remote Web Access site first (RWA site for short). Pretty, hah? Do you like it? :-)

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When we designed this new RWA site, we had two visions to guide our engineering team. First, we want to provide an easy, reliable way for users to access their data and computers from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Second, we want to provide an extensible platform for OEM and ISV partners/developers to add tightly integrated remote web access value. The second vision maps exactly to the extensibility framework of RWA site.

Basically, every built-in feature you are looking at (i.e. Computers, Shared Folders, Media Library, etc) is built on top of the extensibility framework. All the APIs we used are public to you (our favorite developers) as well. We can build it, you can build it.

Besides the look & feel and extra functionalities, the extensibility framework is the key difference comparing the new and old Remote Web Access sites.

Why should developers care about Remote Web Access?

Before answering this question, let’s look at what developers can achieve with the public APIs of RWA site extensibility framework:

· Create a new gadget for the home page

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· Create a new content page that can be accessed from the home page

· Create a new item in the menu bar at the top of the home page

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· Add navigational elements to a content page

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· Create a new link in the Online Services section of the home page

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· Create a mobile version of a content page

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All these APIs are fundamental ones. With them and the imagination out of you (developers), you can achieve way better user experiences for your customers which you cannot get from last version of RWA site. Frankly, we do expect developers to fully leverage the RWA site and provide customers the integrated end-to-end values. This is also the opportunity for you to enable or consider enabling new user scenarios in the cloud.

The End

That’s it for today. As always, we welcome your feedbacks, comments and suggestions! :-)

5 Comments
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  • @pHilosoph - Yep, I agree it's a marketing decision, I just don't think it's a particularly good one. I've ranted about this before: gcoupe.spaces.live.com/.../cns!6AA39937A982345B!4387.entry.

  • @geoff Since the remote access limit is due to your Windows license, it probably never will change with the WHS version. The only way I could see to achieve that would be with an advanced WHS connector - and that would probably cost approx as much as the loss for the Pro upgrade...

    Microsofts way of saying: You want Pro features - buy a Pro license...

  • @kittyba

    - I'm sorry, but I think you are mistaken. Here's a screenshot of my Windows Home Server remote access screen showing quite clearly that it will refuse to give me access to my Windows Home Premium systems because such a function is "not supported on this operating system".

    hfzc7a.blu.livefilestore.com/.../WHS%20Remote%20Access%204.jpg

    This has always been the case, and it looks as though it is set to continue with Vail.

  • kittyba
    0 Posts

    This is great news - I'd like to make some HTML related parts on the page.  @Geoff - Windows 7 Home Premium, unlike Vista & XP, does have remote desktop.  It was quite a surprise when I installed it - no hacks needed.

  • I assume that we're still not going to be able to remotely access Home Premium versions of Vista and Windows 7 via Vail because Microsoft will keep the crippleware in those version of the client OSes?