We use the stats package SPSS through App-V however although it allows use of custom dialogs and macros, these must be placed in a sub folder within the app installation and so this means that users cannot add new macros.

Is it possible to have an App-V package include a symbolically linked folder to point to a different place so that this remote folder could be updated easily without necessitating a rebuild and redeployment of the package?



I had a similar problem with another application. We are presenting ours via RDS and RemoteApps. Ended up creating a duplicate folder structure on the root OS C:\folder of the App-V client system. Only the folders! The used a symbolic link on one of the sub-folders to the share location where the updated files were being kept.

I sequenced the App-V package C:\folder. In VFS I merged the folder structures. Since the local folder was an symbolic link to the location where the files were updated/new the app-v package saw the files.

You can deploy the mklink via computer startup script since it runs with system account privs.

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On App-V 4.6 SP2 the sequencer "goes haywire" then crashes when I tried to create a file and folder symlink in an application directory. So I think it's fairly safe to say this doesn't work.

Side note: users can modify sub folders within the apps, subject to normal NTFS permissions. They can't navigate to those folders from outside the application, but I've used the "Open" dialog of an application more than once to modify the files within the application's folder structure. Also, these changes are saved to a separate store from the cached sft.

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  • Thanks Chris, as I don't have 15 reputation I'm not allowed to upvote your response but knowing that symlinking won't work is really helpful. We'll look into possibilities with giving write permission at a specific folder level too as that may help us. Thanks again – user765827 Oct 18 '12 at 8:32
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    Not a direct answer to the Question, but still an alternative: SPSS supports the environment variable SPSS_CDIALOGS_PATH which allows for macros to be installed elsewhere (thus sidestepping the problem that prompted my question in the first place) – user765827 Oct 23 '12 at 14:38

Using App-V 5.x you should be able to achieve this by doing the following:

  • create the folder on the local filesystem that corresponds to the "macro subfolder" that you want to write to locally
  • use the App-V sequencer to inspect/edit the VFS and ensure that the "macro subfolder" is set to "Merge with Local Directory"

The virtualized app should then "see" a merge of the "macro folder" that contains both what's in the virtualized and local filesystem folder.

You might want to look at this Q&A to help you achieve the behavior you're looking for.

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SPSS_CDIALOGS_PATH sounds like the best avenue. It sounds to me like @user765827 is on the money here.

You could also consider re-cutting the package so it looks 'externally' for these files and deploy them in a managed fashion.

  1. If you pre-create the folder path before sequncing (or configure in an existing App-V, the folder element to 'merge'),
  2. post-install (but before sequencing, delete the files) - or just delete them from an existing App-V
  3. and then have your deployment system manage the files and deploy them natively to the disk

If they're just 'flat' data and it's a simple copy job, most deployment tools ought to handle it. You could just about have a GPO preference script run on startup as this avoids elevating (or on login if you ACL the path).

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