For quite a while now (my annual subscription is up for renewal soon), I’ve been using Spoon.net‘s virtualized browsers. I’ve tweeted about Spoon.net’s
“magic browser page” many times, but I think it’s post-worthy.
Not only are the virtualized browsers great for testing sites, they also really come in handy when I need to access a client VPN or system using a down-level version. IE8 may not be the darling of designers anywhere, but it sure is the darling of many enterprise IT departments.
Now that I’m running Windows 8.1 on my laptop, with IE11 coming along for the ride, I’m using the Spoon.net virtualized browsers more and more. I still do a lot of work with SharePoint 2007 and 2010, and IE11 just doesn’t cut it. Heck, IE11 still doesn’t cut it with SharePoint 2013!
But I digress. With the plethora of browser versions available at Spoon.net, you can test just about anything. Or, if you’re like me and need different browser versions all the time just to work, it’s very worth the subscription price. (The Spoon.net pricing is quite reasonable, considering all you get.)
When I was thinking about writing this post, I reached out to Colin McIntosh, who is one of the business development guys at Spoon.net, to see what else I should know. I’m taking advantage of very little of what Spoon.net gives me, and I knew that was the case. I didn’t realize how much else was there, some of it covered by my subscription.
Disclaimer: There is no disclaimer. As of this writing, I’ve received no compensation or free services from Spoon.net. Everything I’ve said above is based on my satisfaction with the Spoon.net services. I highly recommend them.
Here’s what Colin let me know about their other services, some of which are upcoming. As you can see, there’s a LOT more. I’m actually surprised that more people don’t know about them.
Main enterprise products
Our app virtualization engine. Studio allows businesses to virtualize their entire software infrastructure, including run-times and other dependencies.
An on-premise version of Spoon.net that allows IT administrators to centrally deploy and manage applications and data to end users anywhere in the world.
Here are a couple topical use cases:
Run legacy XP apps on Windows 7 and 8 – Spoon Studio packages applications and their runtimes into a virtual application, a standalone executable that can run on any Windows OS. This enables past and present versions of the same app to run simultaneously on the same machine.
Run Java applications without Java on the host machine – Java security holes are a huge issue right now for companies and consumers who don’t want themselves exposed to Java-based exploits. Because Spoon virtualizes runtimes along with their applications, virtual apps run in a virtual environment (the Spoon VM) that’s isolated from the host system. Packaging Java together with the app removes the need to install Java on the host desktop, which mitigates the risk of malicious attacks from Java-based exploits.
Some new products due to release soon
URL Redirect (catchier name in the works)
Basically, Spoon applications will automatically open links in the correct version of the correct browser, no matter the default browser on the host desktop (or the one that an employee may be incorrectly trying to use).
Browser redirection is a service that automatically opens the page or resource a user is trying to visit in an alternate browser. It uses a browser plugin to check URLs against a predetermined list of rules that specify which websites are incompatible with the user’s current browser. If the URL matches a rule, the webpage will launch in the specified virtual browser instead of their native browser. If the URL does not match any of the rules then it will load in the user’s native browser as usual.
Browser redirection prevents errors when accessing legacy web resources on newer systems, creating a more seamless and efficient web experience for the end user.
This is going to be a standalone web app that lets any user create their own custom virtual browser. You would go to browserstudio.com, pick a “base” browser (IE, Chrome, Firefox, etc.) at any version level, pick any additional run-times you want to add to your browser (Java, .NET. Flash, etc.), and then configure browser settings any way you like. Then you can configure network settings, add plugins, etc., and finally name it yourself and give it a custom icon! You could then publish it to your spoon.net account, share it with your spoon.net team, publish it in a private web server (like Spoon Server), or install it on your own desktop.
Spoon is also fantastic for BYOD, and we’re coming out with mobile and Mac versions in the very near future. We’re excited for what lies ahead, and because we’re completely employee-owned, we’re one of the few companies that can act completely independently (no VC here).