Droplet Seamless Apps
So, I'm going to dispense with my usual blogging approach – long rambling blog posts with excessive amounts of detail :-p – and instead, opt for the more frequent bitesize approach complemented by a quick demo video – posted to the top of the page.
Very soon we will be officially releasing the 2.0 version of Droplet. Existing customers have been running on this release for some time, and we have been introducing our new version to organic opportunities since the end of last year. So, it's been some time in the making and testing – and it's now possible to do the reveal on much of the work of the last 18 months in terms of product development.
Firstly, I’d like to think our hard-working team of developers, not least my colleague Fabian Hemmer, without him and the team none of this would have been possible. I first got the idea for how to do seamless apps in late 2019. And initially discounted the idea at the conceptual level without even trying it. During that Xmas 2019 and early New Year 2020 I came back to the idea – and put together a skunkworks demo that was enough like a completed user experience that I could present back to my management. Moral of the story. If you have a wacky idea – try out – what have got to lose except time – and parts of your Xmas break. :-p
One of the big new features of 2.0 is our all-new "Droplet Seamless App". Our goal in this release was to get out of the way of the user's view, and just serve up Droplet Apps out of the container. In this way whatever the app might be it looks as feels as if it is running natively in the OS to the degree that they really have no idea that the application had been containerized. The level of this "seamlessness" varies depending on whether the application is legacy or modern. If it's a legacy application, it's like not support the Aeroglass style UI that Microsoft introduced in Windows 8 and onwards.
Here the Droplet Seamless App is a legacy version of Microsoft Excel 2003. To the left is our core application which would be normally minimized to being a system tray icon like so:
If on the other hand, it's a modern application where Aeroglass is the standard – the user simply cannot tell that the application has been containerized. To the degree that we have a fun game with partners – called "Guess The App" where I run the same app twice – once on physical and once in the container – and they have to guess which is the Droplet App. Occasionally, I cheat by opening the same app twice in the container.
So here on my Windows 10 PC, you can see Command Prompts and two Control Panels. One is coming out from the container and the other is native to Windows 10. The only way you can really tell the difference is if I type “hostname” into the command prompts. You can see one returns “Michelle-PC” and the other returns “Droplet-PC”
The good news is this seamless experience is something we have extended to Apple macOS. That's great news for our customers who have to support Windows and Apple devices – especially those in educational establishments where Apple MacOS use has been historically much higher.
So here I have the full Windows version of Microsoft Office 365 running on the Apple macOS (not the native Apple Mac version which has a different look and feels). This support for modern Windows applications on the Apple macOS is useful when there is no Apple equivalent or where the web-based SaaS version isn't as good as the native Windows version. With a Droplet Container Image (DCI) just being a file. I can copy the image containing the software and use it on my Windows PCs and my Chromebooks (more about Chromebook in future posts!)
And all this is done without needing any backend server infrastructure (unless you want/need to run Droplet Seamless Apps in the context of VMware, Citrix, Microsoft WVD, or Amazon Workspaces/AppStream) completely offline using the compute power of the endpoint.