IIS

XML and Special Characters

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I just learned the hard way when my IIS website crashed because  I used an ampersand “&” instead of the word “and” in a menu title.

</Item>
  <Item Category="Misc">
    <Option filename="/FAQ/DropBoxReg.pdf" title="How to get a Dropbox account" />
    <Option filename="/FAQ/AccessingDropbox.pdf" title="Setting up GSM & Personal Dropbox" />
    <Option filename="/FAQ/iClickerOverview.pdf" title="Using iClicker in GSM Classrooms" />
    <Option filename="/FAQ/Crestron.pdf" title="How to use the Crestron Air Media system" />

Can you spot it?

Yeah…I had a really long title for the document in the menu list so I thought I’d shorten it with an ampersand. I thought, “It’s between quotes…that ain’t no THANG!”

FAIL. After restarting the website, I received the bad news.

I found a good article on TechRepublic about the why and workarounds for this phenomenon Beware the Ampersand…. Enjoy. B$

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Citrix StoreFront: Making the Storefront’s Website the default site in IIS 7/8

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For you Citrix Admins, if you just want the link, here it is


For you non Citrix Admins who want a long, boring explanation of the who, what, why, how and where, continue below:

So this morning I ask my boss to use an application on our Citrix server and he can’t get on. The reason why he can’t get on is because the the default website isn’t set properly and he doesn’t know the EXACT website URL to use. So, now I’m looking like a complete ass because the Citrix servers are MY BABY and they’re supposed to be EASY to access.

I had not yet made the Citrix Storefront website for our storefront the DEFAULT website. It’s actually quite easy but first, for the uninitiated…

…Some prelims for those of you that aren’t into Citrix:

  • Citrix is a server software that allows you to stream applications to your company employees wherever they are in the world securely and many times in real time. That is, they can use it for video, IM, audio, etc.
  • The Citrix Storefront is the interface that you install that provides the interface between your Citrix servers (anywhere from 1 to a gazillion) that serve the apps and the users out there in the real, cold world just trying to get stuff done.
  • With just a few exceptions, the software is plug and play. That is a serious oversimplification but for the most part, you can leave things as their defaults and you’ll be up & running in just an hour or so.

When you install Citrix Storefront, it creates a website on your Windows server using IIS. IIS is Microsoft’s very robust way of serving websites. In most cases it’s pretty solid & secure software. But like all Microsoft stuff, it’s configurable to the nth degree so it can be complex when it doesn’t really need to be. This compares to something like Tomcat which is in comparison faster and easier to configure. The tradeoff here is that Tomcat can be a bitch to troubleshoot when it’s not working because it too has a billion switches and is open source software (a double-edged sword of FREE vs. ‘you get what you pay for’). You definitely need to be a webby to know how to do detailed or non-standard configurations in either system.

All these things said, I guess it’s obvious I’m not a web-kinda-guy. So when I find a fix for something or a method that works for me, I’ll post it here on my tech blog.

Now back to Citrix Storefront. Unfortunately, right out of the box, the Storefront software doesn’t make your Citrix web interface (storefront) the default website in IIS. In a lot of cases where more than one website is being served on the same server, you don’t WANT Storefront to be the default site. However, this also means that when you type this in your web browser:

https://RemoteOffice.emcorp.com (the base URL for your web server)

You’ll see this, the default website for IIS:

https://i0.wp.com/lh3.ggpht.com/-6IVxEZnnSQw/UTfTQ-cE94I/AAAAAAAAClc/dWKkjE_EQf4/IIS8DefaultWebPage_thumb%25255B4%25255D%25255B5%25255D.png

The actual Citrix website on your server is usually somewhere here:

https://RemoteOffice/Citrix/MyStoreWeb

The problem is that typing remoteoffice.emcorp.com is a hellofa lot easier for your users to remember and type than remoteoffice.emcorp.com/citrix/mystoreweb.

So, how do you get IIS to change the default website to your Citrix Storefront website? The answer is here. And, thanks for sticking with me to the bitter end. If you need any assistance with this procedure, just leave a comment below. B$