One of Citrix’s announcement from last week’s Synergy conference was a new end-user product called “Dazzle,” which can only be described as “iTunes for your apps.”
Dazzle is an application for end users which shows them icons for all the various applications they have access to, and from there users can add individual apps to their own Start Menus or desktops (or they can just launch the apps directly from Dazzle). It can even hook into streamed apps by showing users different options for whether the app is available offline. (And we can assume that Citrix will integrate this into the XenClient hypervisor to allow seamless offline streamed Windows apps from the Mac version of Dazzle running on a Mac OS X client.)
In many ways, Dazzle is just a newer, sexier version of the PN Agent client that’s been around for almost ten years. When most people see Dazzle for the first time, they immediately accuse Citrix of ripping off Apple iTunes. But that’s only half right. Citrix also ripped off HP, since Citrix claims that Dazzle is “putting the ‘personal’ back into computing,” which is not unlike HP’s “the computer is personal again.”
Seriously, this thing is so much like iTunes, there’s even “playlists” for your applications. (I am absolutely not making that up.) About the only thing from iTunes that’s not in Dazzle is the “Cover Flow” album art flipping interface, although in its place Citrix created a “Starfield View.” (So I guess they were influenced by Apple’s Time Machine too.)
From a technical standpoint, Dazzle is a fancy front-end to an existing Citrix Receiver on a Windows or Mac client. As such, it can connect to multiple back-end XenApp or XenDesktop farms, and it can totally integrate with Citrix Workflow Studio, allowing users to self-provision IT services and new apps in addition to launching existing apps.
Now here’s the crazy thing about Dazzle: I really like it! Yes, I understand that it’s nothing more than stupid eye candy, but I like that Citrix is offering this to users. I like that the “Dazzle” logo is a cool Web 2.0-looking thing. And I like that users will understand how to use it.
Dazzle should be available for both Windows and Mac by the end of the year.