In today’s session, David Acland, a technical director at Amsys, took a deep dive into packaging, scripts, custom configuration profiles, VPP and cloud technologies. As an expert in software deployment, he demonstrated the most common scenarios of software delivery in macOS and iOS, which included VPP device-based deployment and app configuration payloads to crafting macOS application user experiences using a combination of configuration profiles, scripts and customized packages.
Acland started out with a common question. Why would a system administrator want to provide pre-configured software to users in their organization? Simply put – to save time.
“Every employee, business owner or student has a job they’re trying to get done,” Acland explained. “That may be to produce some content, make good decisions or learn something new. We all know technology can assist in this goal, and these days it’s all about the apps.”
But why do users need help with the technology? Acland said it’s unlikely that everyone knows exactly what to do when it comes to installing and configuring apps. And while they may be able to figure it out, that effort would waste precious time. Instead, a systems administration could automate the process. Additionally, he suggested the work IT admins could do to configure Casper Suite behind the scenes could eliminate user frustrations before they arose.
“The common theme, whether we’re talking about a business or a school,” Acland said, “is saving the users’ time and helping to increase their productivity.”
So what’s the process?
Acland discussed his four step approach that includes:
- Investigation using Composer, Finder, opensnoop, suspicious package, Pacifist, Charles proxy.
- Solution Creation using Composer, Packages, Scripts (bash, python, apple script,Configuration profiles, mcxtprofile.
- Testing - “I’m a big advocate for using virtual machines for testing with VMWare Fusion, but still always test on physical Macs.”
- Documentation is incredibly important, especially if you work in a team – share the load. Acland’s favorite documentation tools include Evernote, Github, Internal Databases and Knowledge bases.
Acland showed the packed crowd some real-life examples and shared the scripts he would use to deploy those apps under varying conditions. Check out the Amsys Github to try them out for yourselves.